While attending the Used Book Sale at church this past weekend, one of the older women who was working it motioned to me. In a hushed voice, she said, "Remember at the last sale, when you asked me what was my favorite book and I didn't answer? I didn't tell you because I thought you'd laugh, but my favorite book has always been Anne of Green Gables." She half smiled and looked at me a bit sheepishly. Her daughter said that the mother had just finished reading the book again.
I wouldn't have laughed, and I told her so, but I don't know if she believed me.
This conversation made me reflect on books that I've loved throughout my life - books I've tried to pass on to my kids, and their friends, with somewhat limited success. Here's my (short) list - I'd love it if you'd add your own. I'm not going to tell you the story of them - some of them you already know, and some of them you'll need to Amazon. (That is too a verb. I just made it up.) I'll share my memories with you instead.
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats - I loved the pictures in this book, and the sight of the little dog in the snow to this day makes me laugh. (Wait - I can't find my copy to confirm that, indeed, the dog is in the snow in the book. I'm pretty sure that's what I remember.) I also loved...
- A Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats - same author, same characters, same pictures. I LOVED the idea of living in the big city.
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss - the first book that many of my kids have read to me. I love the rhyming of this, the sheer audacity of the main character and how the rhythm keeps the story fresh.
- Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson - who among us doesn't relate to a main character who is convinced that her parents love the younger, more beautiful sister, more than her?
- Island of the Blue Dophins by Scott O'Dell - the idea of being marooned on an island fascinated me. The reality - I think I would have died.
- Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter - When I was in sixth grade, I had no friends. Zero. It didn't help that I had glasses, braces, acne, a shiny face, long oily hair that was fluffy, and zero fashion sense. As a consequence, I made good friends with my English teacher, and we both discussed our favorite books. She recommended this book to me and after I read it once, I renewed it from the library so many times I was finally forbidden. I bought this book for my girls and they both - the two that have read it - enjoyed it, although probably not to the same level that I did.
- Homer Price by Robert McCloskey - Seriously, Homer, with his inventions = brilliant. The donut machine is my favorite chapter ever, but all of the stories are super fun and entertaining. I bought this for my kids, and those that have read it loved it as well.
- Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton - I love all of her books, but this one was my very favorite to read again and again. Ooooh, yes, it's PAJAMA TIME.
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - you all know of my love for this series. Like no other. So not a kid book but I had to toss it in there. NO book list of mine would be complete without it.
- The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder - which girl didn't dream of wearing a bonnet?
- The Elsie Dinsmore Series was two of my girls favorite series.
I'll probably think of more - but I'd love to know what books you remember from your life that you'd recommend again and again.