I'm a voracious reader. Until January 2011. For the first time in years (maybe decades?) I went a month without finishing a single book. It's a bad sign. Carefully analyzed, this anomaly was the result of two things. The first was trying to push through two books that weren't right for me at the moment despite being good books. The second was not feeling like I had any other option. Luckily, both issues have been resolved.
Step one was putting the other books away. That would be Independent People by Halldor Laxness and The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco. Both of them simply require more concentration than my pregnant, toddler mama, stealing moments here and there to read brain can handle. Generally, this kind of literary fiction is my favorite. But sometimes, a girl's got her limits.
Step two was figuring out what I do want to read. This involved much aimless bookstore wandering. Can anyone tell me why books are so expensive? Finally, it hit me. Jane Austen. That woman is the answer to any reading slump of mine. When we moved to Chicago, we brought the last of my book boxes from the parents' attic in North Carolina. In hopes of finding a copy of Emma, I went through all but one (woke up Peanut from nap. oops). The only Austen I found was Sense and Sensibility. There was another great treasure waiting to be re-discovered, though. My Laura Ingalls Wilder books.
I kid you not, these books still make my heart beat a little bit faster and a little "aw" escapes when I see them. Collecting the series was a major undertaking for me back in my Rapid City, South Dakota days. They cost $2.95 plus tax each. My allowance was 50 cents a week and I had to have them all. They are the first books I remember buying for myself and they are treasures.
Last night, I started reading Little House in the Big Woods. It was so familiar and lovely. Scenes of candy making in snow and Pa fighting the wood stump bear were wonderful to read again. Reading it now, I see how it follows a year of seasons and how these books had such a profound influence on me. In particular, my interest in a simpler, homemade life. Little House on the Prarie is next and I can't wait to start!
What books do you remember from your childhood?