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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Which book got you hooked?


Which book got you hooked?

Believe it or not, my middle-aged self is still able to recall my first day of kindergarten.  I can see in my mind a dress-up corner, a play kitchen, lots of round tables, and books.  Tons of them on a long, low shelf.  I reached out at random and grabbed a book with some funky-looking illustrations, opened it up, and I was hooked.  The first line:  “Two octopuses got married and walked down the aisle arm in arm in arm in arm in arm in arm in arm…..”  You get the idea.  I’d found an odd little book, “Arm in Arm,” by Remy Charlip, a writer, director, choreographer, and all around talented guy with a unique vision, to say the least.  The book was filled with tons of great, weirdly fascinating illustrations, poems, short (super short) stories, and even scripts for short plays.

I became obsessed with that book.  My little five year-old self sprinted for the bookshelf each day during reading time so I could snag the book before anyone else.  Now that I think about it, I’m not so sure that the other kids were vying for that particular little gem, but who knows?  J 

Anyway, from that moment on, I was hooked on books!  I must say that it isn’t only Remy Charlip, the author of “Arm in Arm” to whom I owe my gratitude.  I mean, I was able to read the darn thing from Day One of kindergarten, and thanks for that goes to my Mom!  All the while I was growing up, that woman checked out huge stacks of books every single week from the library.  New librarians would question her, telling her she didn’t have enough time to read them all before they were due.  She would chuckle and say:  “They just don’t know me, yet.”

I have long since moved beyond picture books, but I still think with nostalgia every so often of the awesomeness that is the book that started it all for me.  What book started it all for you?

3 comments:

  1. I remember pulling The Diary of Anne Frank off the shelf when I was under eight (I'm only sure of that because my family was living in Nebraska, and we only lived there until I was eight ...) and trying to puzzle out what was going on. I eventually gave up on that one, but I remember sitting surrounded by piles of books in that basement. I think mine was "Where the Red Fern Grows". I read that one over and over and over. I wonder where my old copy is now ...

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  2. Two amazing books, aren't they? I think they've both affected generations!

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  3. Anne of Green Gables! I got into trouble the very first time in school because of that book. The teacher told me I had to put the book away and pay attention to her. I remarked that if she was even half as interesting as the fictional characters in the book I would be glad to pay attention to her but since she was dull and boring I didn't think it was necessary. That is also how I got to meet the Dean.

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