My oldest and dearest friends live in my front hall. I am lucky enough to have an entrance that is a ten foot built-in bookcase, complete with library ladder. On those shelves are my oldest friends, the books I read as a child and still love as an adult.
If you've been reading the blog awhile, you know that I am a compulsive reader. As a school librarian I read everything that came in before I put on the school shelves. I still read as many new books as I can possibly cram on my Kindle ( alas, book shelves have their limits, even when you weed them twice a year), but very few books I have read as an adult have had the same impact on me that the books I read in elementary school.
I have read a lot of good books as an adult--The Percy Jackson series, the Hunger Games Trilogy, Libba Bray's The Diviners, My Family for the War by Anne C. Voohoeve. As much as I enjoyed these books and would recommend them to anyone (hint, hint), I still crave my old friends.
Who are these old friends? It depends on my mood. When I need cheering up, Patrick Dennis's books, Auntie Mame, Auntie Mame Around the World and The Joyous Season never fail to make me laugh out loud. Note: even though these three have child narrators and I read them in the sixth grade, they aren't considered children's literature.
The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a good cure for the boy-I-think-I-have -problems feeling. I just re-read The Long Winter, my favorite of them all, last week. Chapter after chapter of blizzards, grinding wheat and twisting hay to burn as fuel, and your life, whatever it is, looks pretty good in comparison. (Yes, I know there are certain aspects of these books that are considered not so PC these days, but political correctness is a topic for a different post.)
Days when life seems to be at best, confusing, I pull out my well worn Charlotte's Web, the only book I know that can make you laugh and cry in the same chapter. Templeton the rat remains one of my all time favorite characters, and I suspect, the originator of snark.
The Diary of a Young Girl reminds me that life goes on, no matter your circumstances. This was a book that I read so much in middle school that my original copy if held together with rubber bands. This was a book I all but crawled inside. Sometimes I felt as if I were living with the Frank family instead of my own, they became so real to me.
These are my old friends, the ones I return to time and again when I am sad or lonely or just having a crummy day. Tell me who your old friends are, the books you read and re0read.
Posted by Mary Ann Rocman