Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Memories

Wooo! TTT how we’ve missed you! And we absolutely LOVE this topic, which makes our return to the weekly meme all the better :)

Mary’s Top Five:

1. The Year: 1995. The Book: Gone With The Wind. My first all nighter. I could not put this book down. I was in Fifth Grade. I loved it all.

2. The Year: 2005. The Book: Sense and Sensibility. I was living in Cape Town for the summer with three male roommates. Working with the same three male roommates. It was a lot of… men. Which was awesome for going out in Cape Town, although they always forced me ask DJs to play Man in the Mirror (Club Remix version, natch) since I was the only girl. For some reason I ended up with one weekend to myself. I went to the bookstore and bought Sense and Sensibility and then went to a fancy hotel and sat in a comfy chair and had afternoon tea and read all afternoon. It. Was. The Best.

3. The Year: 2012. The Book: The Blue Sword. I actually wrote about this on our blog. I was on an overnight train from Budapest to Translyvania (p.s. I love to travel, that may be coming across here? It’s where I get most of my most vivid book memories!) We bought our tickets late, and by late I mean hours before the train, so we were sitting upright in the lowest class of seats (I don’t know the train lingo) surrounded entirely by often boisterous Romanians. With the lights on all night. And I was sleeping sprawled across my things since that train is a notorious target for pickpocketers, though in retrospect that’s probably less true of our car and more true in the fancy cars? I needed time to fly and I had my kindle. The Blue Sword helped me get through the night almost cheerfully!

4. The Year: 2006. The Book: The Power Broker. I’d just moved to New York and decided I needed to get to know the city better. I bought this lovely biography of Robert Caro. It’s huge. And people on the subway actually talk to you about it! Very friendly. It also talks a lot about public transit. The first time I met my now fiancee I may or may not have decided we should have an extended talk about this book. And it didn’t scare him away! Yessss.

5. The Year: early 1990s? The Books: Anne of Green Gables. My grandparents held on to all of my mom’s books from growing up. When we went to visit them, we’d get to peruse these and often come across TREASURES. Like Mary Poppins. Or The Wizard of Oz. Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Vicki Barr. And of course Anne of Green Gables. She only had the first two books – as well as Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea – but I loved them and went on to finish the series (and every other word L.M. Montgomery had put to a page). I credit those books for my charming naiveté- and my fabulous SAT verbal scores. Thanks Mom!

Elizabeth’s Picks:

I have no idea how Mary remembers all the exact years of her books. I also think it was a little weird that she read Gone with the Wind in fifth grade. Or maybe that’s normal. I didn’t read it until seventh, but I only got three-fourths of the way through. It was exam time, and I realized Scarlet was never going to stop being such a b*** and I didn’t want to deal with that anymore especially when I should of been studying. My mother, at least, was very relieved when I picked up my school books instead. I told my very Southern friend whose favorite movie and maybe book is Gone with the Wind this and I’m not sure she’s quite forgiven me for it two years later.

6. The Time: Vacation in Mexico when I was pretty young, maybe 10. The Book: The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène Du Bois. I remember this book so well for two reasons. First, I adored the book. I thought hot air ballooning and finding a lost island sounded like a great plan. I wanted to eat at Mr. and Mrs. A through Z’s restaurants and just visit the island in general. I was on vacation somewhere pretty tropical and was ready for that part of the adventure to begin. Second, I left the book at a putt-putt place before I could finish it! Oh the horror! I really liked the book and was desperate to finish it. Plus, I’d taken it from my sister and I’m pretty sure I had not asked (sharing books goes waaay back for us despite the age difference). Luckily someone had turned it into lost and found, and we were able to retrieve it the next day. I’d also like to mention that I remember exactly which hole I left it at because I got a hole in one and was so excited I forgot about it (my only putt-putt hole in one ever!).

7. The Year: 1999. Book: Harry Potter Books 1-3. I swear I have read other books than the Harry Potter series. I just talk about these abnormally often. Anyway, I can remember very clearly talking about what books we’d read over the summer at the beginning of fifth grade. Everyone else had read this series that I had never heard of and we’re raving about it. So I immediately ordered the first two on my book orders (does anybody else remember those catalog things? Or did anybody else do them?) because I obviously needed to catch up. However, before my books arrived, (thank god for kindle now!!) we had book fair where I ended up getting the third book and reading it immediately. Bad me… But it was sooo worth it ;-) .

7. The Year: 2001. The Book: Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. This book actually got me in trouble, but maybe not how you would think. I bought it at book fair (what can I say? I loved book fair as a kid!!) and was reading it during the designated time. However, I got sent into the hallway to read because I couldn’t read it without laughing out loud hysterically. I got like six warnings but I couldn’t control it. Oops! And then I got all my friends to read it too. One of them even tried the trick she supposedly uses to make herself faint to get out of class. I can’t remember if the experiment worked or not.

 8. The Year: 2009. The Book: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. This would probably shock just about anyone who knows my reading tastes (or who reads this blog), but I did not actually read Anne of Green Gables until spring 2009 when I was in a Young Adult Literature class (best class ever!! Only class I’ve ever been consistently ahead on the homework ;-) ). My sister loved loved LOVED the entire series growing up, which is part of the reason I never read the books. First off, they were kind of her thing, which makes no sense except to a perverse younger sibling. Similarly, I don’t know how to play chess because my big brother offered to teach it to me. Had my father or mother done it, I probably would have said teach away, but there’s something about older siblings knowing something you don’t and lording it over you. At least I realize it makes no sense. Second, as part of my sister’s love, we watched the movie versions. At the beginning of the first book/movie, Anne gets mad about someone calling her a carrot top because she apparently doesn’t like being a redhead! I was a very proud redhead even at that age, so that comment pretty much delayed my love affair with Anne with an E until college. Luckily for both Anne and me, I was able to forgive her and then enjoy all of L. M. Montgomery’s offerings even with my late start.

9. The Year: 1996?. The Book: The Thoroughbred Series by Joanna Campbell. This series is probably my equivalent to Mary’s Anne of Green Gables. I loved these books sooooo much!!! In the second grade, we had Mother’s Reading or a similar name once a week where a mother would come in and read part of whatever book someone had chosen. A girl named Madeline (yes, I still remember exactly who it was if that gives you a clue) brought in the first book in this series when she got to chose. I was immediately hooked! I, to this day, still really want a pony/horse for Christmas. There is just something spectacular about horses, and this series definitely captures that. This was also the year where we were supposed to read for 30 minutes every day as part of our homework. I’d always try to use that as an excuse when I didn’t want to stop reading (which was always). Unfortunately it only worked part of the time, and my parents actually required me to do my other homework too.

10. The Year: 2007. The Book: My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger. I found this book the fall of my freshman year at college while randomly browsing at a Barnes & Noble. I’d gotten so caught up in all the activities and homework that I hadn’t really read anything for pleasure since I’d been there. This was the book that reminded me how necessary non-school books are in my life. I read it in one sitting and absolutely adored it. Not only is it more or less my favorite book (definitively deciding is impossible I think), but it reminded me to slow down and enjoy.