Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Armchair BEA - Blast from the Past

Since I'm stuck at home during the week of Book Expo America, when Bookblogville becomes eerily quiet, I figured it would be fun to participate in the Armchair BEA adventure. Do not ask me why the above image is so large. I can't figure it out. Must be a Blogial Anomaly.

Blast from the Past, aka "Books I Fell in Love With, Way Back in the Time of Dinosaurs":

Jiggers by Joy Muchmore Lacey is the first book I remember falling in love with, the story of a cute little puppy who goes missing. I remember the puppy bounding happily through the snow and into the little girl's arms at the end. I thought that little girl looked a lot like me (substitute bright blonde hair for the reddish-blonde) at the time. 1963 is the date of publication. Wow, that was a long time ago. My original copy probably went into one of my mother's infamous bi-annual garage sales, but Huzzybuns bought me a copy off eBay, a few years ago. He got something on the order of 50,000 brownie points for buying that little gem. It's still in the plastic bag. It's so special I haven't yet touched it, apart from a single reading when it arrived.

In The Trouble with Jenny's Ear by Oliver Butterworth, young Jenny develops the ability to overhear the thoughts of people around her. I don't actually remember this book as well as I used to, but I happened across a copy of it in the library sale, a couple years ago, and snapped it up. I remember thinking it was funny and trying to will myself to hear the thoughts of the people around me (#fail). I'm almost positive I checked the book out from my library more than once, but other than that . . . . I really don't remember much. It seems like Jenny is due for a reread.

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

When I was in my early twenties, it occurred to me that it was about time I caught up on all the classics I'd missed out on reading because I chose to substitute other courses in high school and college for the typical lit courses (Journalism, Writing About Film and The Geography of Music . . . all were valid substitutes for English Lit, which I'm pretty sure I feared). To that end, I went shopping at a small local store and found this "classic tale of romantic suspense". I recall sitting on the porch outside our apartment, practically inhaling the book while my eldest son was in kindergarten. Could. Not. Put. Down. Is it a true "classic" of literature? I'm not certain. But, Rebecca was most definitely an excellent starting point for leaping into the classics.

Désirée by Anne-Marie Selinko is a book I snitched off my mother's shelves when I was in junior high. Désirée is the story of Désirée Eugenie Clary, Napoleon's first love. I'm not certain, but I think Désirée may have been my first foray into historical fiction and I loved it so much that I eventually walked off with my mother's copy, bought three more copies and gave two to friends. My mother eventually said she didn't mind that I'd kept her copy. I assume that's because I read it repeatedly (had it not been read regularly by someone, it likely would have gone into one of the infamous bi-annual garage sales). Désirée is one of the most re-read books I own.

A few other books that encouraged my early love of reading (in no particular order):

The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (père)

Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman

Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster, Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins-Clark, and A Separate Peace by John Knowles (all borrowed from my sister's shelf during our school years)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett - Also due for a reread. I'm careful with my books, but I've nearly read my childhood copy of A Little Princess to tattered shreds.

My thanks to Book-a-rama Chris (whom I mentally call "Chris-a-rama") for drawing my attention to the Armchair BEA posts with her hilarious fantasy panel post, "I See Dead People".


  1. Thanks for the shout out! I should change my name to Chris-a-rama. lol

    I loved Rebecca when I read it in my 20s too. I could relate to that poor girl.

  2. Anonymous8:40 AM

    Bookfool: I think you and I are the only ones who chose to blast into the past, so naturally I had to see what you had to say. Surprisingly, I've actually heard of some of these books. ;) For example, A Separate Peace was one of my favorite books that we read in high school. I've always wanted to read Rebecca, but have yet to get to it. Maybe someday...soon?

  3. Great picks. Little Princess and A Wrinkle in Time were some of my favorite childhood books.

  4. I'm totally giggling because it's "Chris-a-rama" in my head too ;-)

  5. I would call Rebecca a classic now, but had not heard of it (only the movie) until about 5 years ago!
    Fun list.

  6. Chris,

    Thanks for informing me. Heh. Your name's already been mentally changed by at least two of us, I see. :)

    I don't remember relating to anyone in Rebecca, but I do remember thinking that was the greatest opening line: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." I still love the sound of that line. The ending shocked me. Loved that, too.


    Well, since you and I are the only ones who chose Blast from the Past, I'll have to dash over and check yours out. I recall my eldest son hated A Separate Peace and I thought he was crazy. It turned out he pretty much hated anything he had to read for school. I'm glad I managed to sneak it off my sister's shelf. :)

    Definitely read Rebecca right away. It is all kinds of awesome wrapped up in a shiver.


    May I say you have excellent taste? I do believe you do. I was very fortunate to get to hear Madeleine L'Engle speak at a library in Tulsa, back when we lived there. She was just as amazing as expected. :)


    Well . . . it fits. LOL And, the other Chris of Stuff as Dreams are Made On is Stuffster. You're just "Q". I think that means you're clever and inventive and should be introduced to James Bond.


    I hadn't heard of Rebecca till I went out looking for classics and I'm sure it was just the fact that the word "classic" was on the cover that caught my eye. I do think of it that way, now, but I don't know what the experts think. Who are the experts in literary classics? We should call them up.

  7. I've had Rebecca in my TBR for ages, hoping to get to it this summer!

    When I was a teenager, I read so many of my mom's books (it helped that they were mostly romances; and ummm...sort of educational :-P ). but one book of hers that I read many, many times was "The Thorn Birds". I recently found this at the library book sale and plan to revisit it soon.

  8. Valerie,

    I'm forever trying to light a fire under people who say they've yet to get around to reading Rebecca, so watch your feet (or hurry and pick up the book).

    My mother mostly read history, but I managed to walk off with two of her books and both are books I've read repeatedly, over the years. Reading moms make reading kids. Just before my mother died, I asked her if she had a favorite time period and any favorite titles she could mention. She said the Revolutionary War was one of her favorite things to read about and a little book called Spies of the Revolution was a long-time favorite. I found it in her garage, so that makes 3 books I walked off with. I've yet to read it, but it's in a special place. :)

    Okay, so now it's your turn. I've got a copy of The Thorn Birds and haven't read it, yet. Got a match?

  9. Are You My Mother? is probably one of my favorite children's books ever!! Love that one!!

    And, can I just say that Chris's post still makes me laugh and I read it days ago!! :)

  10. Tif,

    Are You My Mother is a wonderful book. It took a while before I managed to find a copy, when I had my first child, but both enjoyed it.

    Chris's post was hilarious!

  11. Du Maurier has been on my list for far too long! I have a copy of My Cousin Rachel from the library sitting on the table, waiting for me!

  12. Lydia,

    You should definitely hurry up and give Du Maurier a try. I've read about a half dozen of her books, now. Some are wonderful, some so-so and one was boring. My Cousin Rachel is a good one. Rebecca, Jamaica Inn and Frenchman's Creek are my personal favorites. Have fun reading!


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