Tragic Sandwich

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My First Books

Come on. You know you want to. Everybody’s doing it.

I’d say “enough with the bandwagon propaganda,” (Check that out–I remember something from eighth-grade English! But I don’t remember that teacher’s name, even though I always thought she was one of my best English teachers. Also, my favorite propaganda category title remains “glittering generalities.” But I digress.) except that you know you want to talk about books, too.

Bookshelf porn

So, with no further ado (adieu? adew? Punny options abound), here are my answers:

First Book I Loved
My mother would say that it was Mimi, the Merry-Go-Round Cat, because I had her read it to me so many times that she could still recite it when I was in my 30s. I’m going to go with The Secret of the Old Clock, because as a redhead I loved Nancy Drew (don’t tell me she started out as a blonde–that girl was a redhead), and because the most valuable shopping lesson I learned as a child was that when you go to Toys R Us, you will not get all the toys you want, but you will definitely be able to persuade your mother to buy you more books.

Wait. I take that back. My fourth-grade teacher read A Christmas Carol to us, and I was so taken by it that I went home and told the story to my brother. From memory. Faulty memory. And had the poor judgement to record it on our then state-of-the-art toy piece of technology, the tape deck, so that my version could be replayed for years. But given that it made such a strong impression on me that I had to share it, maybe I should count this one.

First Book I Hated

I haven’t hated a lot of books. I mean, I outgrew Barbara Cartland’s formulaic (and tiny!) novels very quickly, and I did not enjoy Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire the way the friend who lent it to me hoped I would. So the book that comes to mind is one I read just a couple of years ago: Wicked. It’s very different from the musical (which I had seen and loved), but that’s not the problem. The problem is [WARNING: SPOILERS!] the pointless violence, the bestiality, and the lazy writing. The first two mean that I’m sorry I have this book in my brain, and the third means it was also a waste of my time.

First Series I Read

I’m going to have to go back to Nancy Drew here, except that it’s a series that never really ends. So I guess I’ll have to go with Susan Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising” series. I read them again recently, and remain impressed with them. Not everything holds up, but enough does.

First Fantasy/Sci-Fi Book I Read
It must have been The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, because I remember that my grandparents’ municipal library had sequels from that series that our library did not. Oh, wait, maybe this was my first series. Although I don’t think I read all of the Oz books–probably not even all of the Baum books.

First Book That Made Me Cry From Laughing
I think I’m going to have to go with Ginger on this one, although I think the first Bombeck I read was The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank. I read my mom’s copy when I was about nine, and although I didn’t get all of it, I knew it was damn funny.

First YA Book I Read and Loved
YA is a genre that confuses me. Is it for tweens and teens? About them? If it’s well-written, I don’t much care. So, um, Island of the Blue Dolphins, I guess? Or maybe The Witch of Blackbird Pond? I’m sorry. I’ve been reading for a long time now. I can’t remember all the details, particularly when it comes to sequence.

First Horror Book I Read
I remember a series of kids’ horror books that featured plots that focused on demons emerging from amulets or ouija boards or things like that, but I don’t remember the titles (they would precede R.L. Stine’s many “Goosebumps” books; yes, I am that old). Or maybe it was one of Lois Duncan’s many books? The first adult horror I read was Stephen King’s Night Shift, and “The Lawnmower Man” alone completely put me off the genre.

First Book I Was Completely Obsessed With

This is a tough one. But I’m going to go with The Black Stallion–which, now that I think about it, would also be a contender for First Series. When that movie came out, I could tell you every single plot point that differed from the book–to the point that my father said, “If all you’re going to do is complain about how it’s going to be different, I’m not going to take you to see it.” But we did, and I loved the movie on its own terms. And one of the perks of moving to San Antonio when I was 13 was that Cass Ole, the horse that played The Black, lived there, too. Although based on the story I told above, we may be looking at A Christmas Carol for this one, too.

Wow. I’m long-winded, aren’t I? Now, what about your firsts?

Photo by Queenie & the Dew, via Flickr.


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13 thoughts on “My First Books

  1. I’m impressed that you remember so many of your literary “firsts”! I think Nancy Drew and the Anne of Green Gables books were the first series I read. I also remember loving Island of the Blue Dolphins and Witch of Blackbird Pond, too.

  2. I think the “series” one is tricky. For example, I read all the Anne books through Ingleside quite early, but Rainbow Valley and Rilla weren’t in release until after the Kevin Sullivan series proved there was a market. (A lot of Montgomery books were re-released at that point, actually.) And I still love them; I re-read everything available for the Kindle earlier this year. Why Windy Poplars/Willows and Ingleside aren’t available for the Kindle is beyond me, though.

    So is it the series I started first? Finished first? Loved the most? I’m not sure.

    • I hadn’t realized that most of the Anne books were available for Kindle. It might be time for me to re-read them! Anne of Ingleside was one of my favorites, though, and I’m a little disappointed to hear it isn’t available for Kindle yet.

  3. This is tough. I think that the Dragonriders of Pern series fulfills a few requirements for me — it was one of my first series (though I don’t really know if it was THE first), it was certainly the first sci-fi, and I was pretty obsessed with it. I would save my allowance to buy more books in the series, and I would read and reread them over and over. I haven’t read them as an adult, though; I don’t know how they hold up.

    • Oh, I completely forgot about McCaffrey! I read Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums early on, and that would have answered a lot of these for me, too. I never read any of her non-YA Pern books, although I did read The Crystal Singer.

      • I don’t even remember which ones I read. I think I read all that had been published at that point, up to around the early 90’s or so. I bet my mom still has them all, I should see how they’ve held up.

  4. I just put in an order at the library for The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank. Sounds like a winner!

  5. I remember reading McCaffrey, too! Anybody read David Eddings??

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