Literature through the Years

It started on the couch of my childhood home. 1404 Lincoln Road. My brother and I would sandwich my dad on the middle cushion while he read Berenstain Bears and Little Critters and I’d search for that spider. Anybody remember that spider?

I went to a special reading teacher in first grade because they thought I might have dyslexia. Her name was Mrs. Detmering.

And then my second grade teacher, Mrs. Getty, read the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books out loud to the class and books began casting their spell.

Not Ann of Green Gables. I got a set of those for Christmas and tried. I really did. But I couldn’t get through the first one.

But Boxcar Children and Judy Blume?

Oh, how I loved Fudgie’s shenanigans.

I must have read hundreds of books in my younger years, but these are the ones I remember…

The Phantom Tollbooth. If books hadn’t already grabbed my allegiance, this one sure did. After such a magical experience, there would be no going back.

Where the Red Fern Grows. I cried real tears over those two dogs.

The Face on the Milk Carton. My first re-reader. Anybody else remember it? I think it was the romance that got me.

Then I went on a major Mary Higgins Clark kick.

And in high school, I picked up Gone with the Wind.

I remember reading it on the bleachers before basketball games. I remember reading it late into the night. I remember finishing it and immediately checking out the sequel (not written by Margaret Mitchell) at the library because what in the world!? Rhett and Scarlett had to be together.

I read I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb in my high school popular adult lit class and decided I would be a psychologist.

Then in college, on my dorm room floor in Madison, Wisconsin, I gave my life to Christ and a friend introduced me to this genre called Christian fiction.

I read Redeeming Love and The Mark of the Lion trilogy (life-changing) by Francine Rivers. Karen Kingsbury’s One Tuesday Morning (unputdownable).

Somewhere along the line I met Harry Potter, and oh my goodness, I was a goner. I think I’ve read those books 4 times through, at least. Hubby would often joke, “Is Harry coming between us again?”

More magic. And I’m not talking the actual magic that occurs in the Harry Potter world. But the magic that comes when we are swept into words on a page. When we’re transported to another place and try on somebody else’s skin.

That’s the magical part. That’s why I love books.Β  And that’s why I read them to my son.

I wonder which ones he’ll remember when he’s grown.

Let’s Talk: What books do you remember from your childhood? What are some recent favorites? When did you fall in love with reading?

12 thoughts on “Literature through the Years

  1. Dear Katie,

    It’s “Ann with an E” (Anne of Green Gables) and one of my favorite lines by the heroine of the series (Anne). How could you not like the books? πŸ™ I received the book set and read it straight through! Took like a month! πŸ™‚ I watched the movies too lol. Oh how I loved Anne’s adventures, her love story with Gilbert and seeing the life stages (Anne and Gilbert married, had like 8 children and then I still remember the last scene from the final book in the series– Book 8– when Anne and Gilbert’s youngest daughter Rita answered the front door to find her handsome soldier beau returned home from the war with a marriage proposal for Rita hehe and adorable Rita had a lisp so instead of saying “Yes” she said “Yeth”. Classic! LOVE THAT SERIES! πŸ™‚

  2. It’s been years since I thought about The Face on the Milk Carton. oh my!! I LOVED that book. and yes, it was the romance element, I’m sure. there was a series that i read, sweet romances…and i can’t think of the name of them. they are all boxed up at my parents house, so i can let my daughter read them when she’s in junior high. i’ll have to get back to you on this. Big Judy Blume fan (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was a fav) and I went through the Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High books like nobody’s business. I still own then all, as well, and again, they are boxed up in my parents’ attic for Maddy to read later. πŸ™‚

  3. I am so glad Lindsay said Sweet Valley Twins. I also loved Sweet Valley High. Is it bad to admit that I still have every book I own from that series? Why am I holding on to them? I have no clue, but there they sit in a pile in my closet.

    Gone with the Wind is my all time favorite book and movie.

    Scarlet Thread was the first Christian fiction book I ever read and loved it. I couldn’t believe Christian fiction could be so real.

  4. Oh, my goodness, I totally remember Face on the Milk Carton!! Wasn’t there a movie too?

    For me, I loved Anne of GG, Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins, Little House on the Prairie, Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew…yeah, basically anything and everything amazing!!

    Redeeming Love was the first book I read in the Christian fiction genre. Changed my life…because it set me on a course to write it myself. And girl, you KNOW I love the Mark of the Lion trilogy…sigh. Sooooo good.

  5. My dad read to each of us individually every night before bed (we were 6 yrs apart in age so preferred different books). I loved the Mercer Mayer books and Berenstain Bears, same story, no to Little Women, but boy did I love the Boxcar Children, Babysitters Club, Judy Blum. The Face on the Milk Carton was my first “I read it entirely on my own, and in 2 days and then reread it” book. In high school I was all about the “Love Stories” series, and Boyfriends Girlfriends, and other love series. Nicholas Sparks was my author of choice in college but now I’m a Karen Kingsbury girl.

  6. “Charlotte’s Web” is the first book I remember devouring. I read it in one sitting as a 3rd grader. I was pulled in instantly by Fern’s feeling of powerlessness over injustice, as a similar kid feeling as if life around me were also unfair and completely out of my control. A great reminder to write from the heart of things that tug at us, to commune with others who feel they suffer alone. Or don’t even realize they suffer.

    “Little House on The Prairie” series also hooked me to reading as a kid. I had an 8th grade teacher who thought I needed to broaden my reading and loaned me The Shining. I don’t know why she thought I would like it, but I actually became a Stephen King fan, and his writing style (not genre) inspired me to begin writing then.

    Jane Austen: as an adult who believed I needed to feed my withered, literature deprived mom brain as my kids were getting old enough to give me time to read, I tried several times to get into a couple of the Austen books I’d been using to collect dust. It was hard, the language was different, more work to understand, and I hadn’t read in so many years that my brain couldn’t focus on more than one or two lines. I put it aside until friends rented “Emma” with Gwyneth P. Knowing the characters & how everyone was connected, and finding the story interesting, I picked up Emma, and this time, I found I could read it, since some of the work of trying to figure out stuff wasn’t needed. I eventually got a feel for the language, and was thoroughly hooked. I own several different film adaptations of most of her novels now, but I found a deep appreciation for Austen’s subtle irony and wit. It inspires me. Although it does tend to make you want to write in long, long sentences peppered with dozens of commas, not a good thing nowdays.

    Thanks for sharing, Katie. I love hearing what others read & what inspires others to want to read & write.

  7. Oh, what wonderful memories. I read many of the books/series listed. But have haven’t seen “Little House on the Prairie” series. I read those books until my mother made me throw away “Little House in the Big Woods” because the pages kept falling out.

    There were also the “Bobbsey Twins”. Did anyone here read those?

  8. Oh my favorite topic!

    I can’t remember when I haven’t loved reading, from those moments I spent with Mike Mulligan up in my grandparents attic play room to hiding from Where the Wild Things Are beneath my comforter.

    In grade school I devoured Pippi Longstocking and Betsy-Tacy books, then I graduated to Trixie Belden (much better than Nancy Drew, IMO) and The Three Investigators. In high school I discovered Jane Eyre and Gullivers Travels (Love the satire!).

    And now? Like you, I’ve loved Francine Rivers’ works, especially the Mark of the Lion series. If I’m looking for literary, I grab the latest Athol Dickson or Charles Martin; for suspense/thriller there’s no one better than Steven James. Ginny Yttrup’s Words is a very powerful contemporary novel.

    Well, I could easily go on forever, but I have work to do. Or maybe I’ll go pick up another book …

  9. Yes, I love that you mentioned The Phantom Tollbooth!! Such a good book. (Did you ever see the totally trippy movie version? It starts out as real life, but turns into a cartoon when Milo enters the tollbooth.)

    I was a Nancy Drew kid all the way. I also started reading Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series at a really young age. πŸ™‚ I also loved The Giver, Number the Stars, and the Narnia books.

  10. Frog & Toad. Liked their friendship. I also read the Ramona books more times than I could count.

    It connected for me after I read A Wrinkle in Time.

    ~ Wendy

  11. I never read the sequel to Gone with the Wind after I read Margaret Mitchell’s biography, “The Road to Tara” in high school. In the bio, Margaret was obsessive about a sequel never being written…so no matter how much I wanted to read that follow up, I just couldn’t. I loved “Gone with the Wind” and its writer too much!
    (funny how connected we can feel to someone we never met!)

  12. I have fond memories of stacking up all the Dr. Seuss books at the library and trying to walk home without toppling over. Once I got a little older I tore through the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House series, Judy Blume’s books, and Beverly Cleary’s. I don’t know how I ended up with such a love of reading b/c neither of my parents ever read to me.

    I read to my kids all the time when they were little. Both were absolutely smitten with Frog and Toad. *sigh* Good memories. Enjoy that special time with your son.

    It’s neat to read about what your favorites meant to you. Can you believe I’ve never read Gone with the Wind? Thanks for the big spoiler. LOL totally kidding! I’ve heard enough about it that I feel like I know the story!

    Great & fun Monday morning post. πŸ™‚


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