Monday, August 02, 2010

Reading nostalgia

I am on a much-needed vacation right now (two weeks!), and am at my parents' home in Southern California. My parents moved into this house when I was in college, so although it's in the same city where I lived for five years before leaving for school (eight grade through high school), I never actually lived in this house, except for a few summers. But I still have "my" room, and I still have my stuff. The books on my shelves are an odd mixture of books--I'm not sure how they all ended up here, but every time I'm home I do enjoy perusing the shelves and remembering the books I read as a kid and teen and young adult. The lower shelves are mostly the books I read for school in college, but the upper shelves are the books from when I was younger. Here's a sampling of one shelf. I love the absolute randomness, from fantasy to science fiction, to romance, to classics, more movie and TV tie-in books than I realized I read, and to the Cheerleaders series, the books Grace and I shared because of the Asian-American character featured.
 And, of course Stephen King. I think I read every Stephen King book published starting in 8th grade.
You may have noticed a few Hardy Boys books on the shelf. When we were in 6th grade, I think, Grace and I were at the bookstore with another friend, Abby. We were perusing the shelves and came across the newly repackaged Hardy Boys books, and read the back copy of one:

We were unbelievably tickled by the phrase, "blown to bits before their eyes" in relation to a girl being killed in a terrorist bomb. Who writes this stuff, anyway? (Well, now I know.) We laughed and laughed over that line, and on my next birthday, the book was one of my gifts. And I ended up actually reading and enjoying the book and bought and read a few others in the series. I had a crush on Joe Hardy.

What I was really looking for on the shelves this time was the book Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink (the author is better-known as writing Caddie Woodlawn, another book I loved as a child). A few weekends ago, while at the beach with Libby, I put my fingers in the sand and remembered the scene where one of the girls pondered if sand could perhaps be used as a substitute for baby powder. (Don't worry, she didn't actually try it.) This is the cover of the book I owned:
Have any of you read this? I loved this book. Wish I knew where my copy's not on the shelves in my bedroom. I'll continue to hunt through my parents' house while I'm here.

One thing I really miss in my life is re-reading books I love. I reread books all the time as a kid. I'm sure I've read Baby Island at least three times. Perhaps I should allow myself to reread at least one book each year without feeling guilty that I'm not reading something new and not reading submissions. I think it would be good for my soul. If only I could find Baby Island while on vacation! I'd read that.


Maya R. said...

I totally relate to missing the rereading. I've actually moved a lot of my children's books to my adult apartment, and I do reread them a lot.

Libby Koponen said...

Send me your parents' address and I'll get a copy for you -- I was going to buy it anyway, you made it sound so good! Just remember to bring it home and give it to me the next time I see you.

Hallie Tibbetts said...

Baby Island! I'd forgotten about that one. I remember the sand/powder thing the most. Thanks for the nostalgia!

Melissa S. said...

Funny you should mention Baby Island. My mom asked me to go through some boxes in the basement and among all my Bobbsey Twins/Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys, I found the very edition you pictured. I loved that book. Of course, that was before I actually had babies and realized how insane that premise is now! :)

Grace Lin said...

"blown to bits!" I remember that! That was hilarious, even as 7th graders we knew that was over-the-top writing!

StephanieV said...

Loved, loved, LOVED the improbable Baby Island as a kid. I had one with a different cover as a kid, but found one with that cover at a yard sale in the last few years and had to have it.

Unknown said...

I loved Baby Island too! Just found my copy...I think I bought it because the cover of my copy has a Titanic-y looking boat sinking in the background, and I was obsessed with all things Titanic.

Speaking of books you re-read all the time, Baby by Patricia MacLachlan is that one for me. I read it at least once a year.