Reader Mailbag: Book Memories
This months question is: share a personal story/memory related to books.
The sort of story you might tell a friend about over drinks when discussing books, or just a fun book related story. Here’s two of mine:
– I remember reading the book The Firm by John Grisham back when I lived in Scotland. I started it one night at dinner while eating Chips & Curry Sauce and then I ended up loving it so much I stayed up all night reading it. I finished it at about 7am and slept all day. Then I went to the video rental store and what did I see? The movie The Firm. I immediately rented it and stopped at the chip shop next door for more chips & curry sauce.
The result? I can’t think of The Firm now without immediately thinking about chips & curry sauce. And I can’t eat chips & curry sauce without immediately thinking of The Firm! Every few years I’ll go back and re-read The Firm while dining on Chips & Curry Sauce.
– Many years ago, I read the first book in the Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn. I remember it was a Sunday afternoon, and I loved the book so much. I hadn’t yet switched to digital reading. So I finished the book and with the rest of Sunday free, I wanted to read the next one immediately. I remember stepping out my door, and seeing clouds to my right. As I walked down towards the library, I could hear the rain start to batter behind me. So I walked faster and faster until I was running – for whatever reason that day, I decided I was going to get this book, and I wasn’t going to get wet in the process! Well I made it to the library bone dry……..only to discover it was closed on Sundays!
So I said screw it, got soaking wet and walked to the local Chapters bookstore where I grabbed the book. Came home and hopped in the bath where I proceeded to read it for the next couple of hours. Just a nice little memory I have when I think of the Rapp series.
What memories/stories do you have?
Alan L: My favorite book memory is reading for the first time “Lord of the Rings” when in high school……read it during the summer, in between a waitressing job, a baby sitting job, social life, etc……but it moved me like few other books ever have.
Alison: My fondest memory of books goes back to high school, an angsty time to say the least. I was in my senior year and up until then I only read what I had to or cheesy romance novels. I had a lovely English teacher-she was quite the lady. When we had to do a book report and I was lost as to what to read, she suggested Jane Eyre. I was aghast as all my friends were reading, “fun books.” I read it in a few nights and went on the read her next suggestion Wuthering Heights. I watched the movies when I could. I am 53 now and I still count those two books as my top favorites. I also always remember how a teacher took interest in a very shy girl and made her a life long reader. I am a teacher now and that is my number one reason for teaching, to bring a life long love of books to others. Thanks for asking.
Barb: When I was about 12, I was staying at my grandparents’ home. I went to bed reading Queen of the East by Alexander Baron, a historical novel about Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. I couldn’t put the book down until I was called to breakfast. First time I read through the night. Never forgot the author or title, and I’m in my 70s! Have to read it again.
Celeste: I have to have a book going at all times, only one book. It travels with me to the doctor’s office, on an airplane, and is a must before I turn my light out every night. I can’t imagine life without a book to read each day. This has been a way of life ever since my Grandmother took me to the library every week as a small child. I am now 80, and there has never been a day in my life without a book. Your monthly column gives me new leads as I often find “best sellers” a disappointment.
G: When I was young I was grounded to my room…a lot. My mom would allow me to get out of my room only to pick a book from the book shelf. If I read a chapter I could get off of my restriction faster. I would have to tell her what the content and story line were and tell her any new words I learned. I can tell you normally that would keep someone from loving to read but it gave me such a passion that still have today many years later. My mother is a avid reader as am I and I have instilled this passion in my children as well, I just didn’t have the same methods of my mother…lol
Jane: My mother and father were avid readers, but as a child, growing up in a rural area during the early 1950’s, there were never enough trips to the library. The elementary school library was sparse, at best. Buying books and having books of my very own was not an option. That’s where my grandmother stepped in. Every year at birthdays and Christmas a brown paper wrapped package would arrive in the mail. To my utter delight, those packages always contained books that she sent to me to be my very own. It didn’t matter what the book was about; it would be read over and over, and it was mine! To this day, it really isn’t a birthday or Christmas unless someone gives me a book to read. My family, happily, always remembers.
Janet: It was early in 1989. My sister Sue was living in Virginia, her husband what stationed at the Pentagon. I had just moved to Iceland, where my husband was stationed at Keflavik NAS. We wrote letters, the kind on paper folded into an envelope and mailed with a stamp. She had written that I had to read Deceptions by Judith Michael. I dutifully went to the base library where I had to put myself on the wait list. I had actually forgot about the whole thing until a couple of weeks later. The librarian came to office, I was the financial director for the USO and we shared the building, and said “your ship has just come in”, I thought it was an odd thing to say.
I went home that night and started reading, then I stayed up for hours reading. When I got to the part where the yacht explodes it was about 3 AM. I picked up the phone forgetting that Iceland is 4 hours ahead of Virginia. I dialed a 13 digit number which woke up my brother-in-law, Craig, who yelled at Sue (the night owl reading in the living room) to get the phone, thus waking the kids ages 8, 6 and 4. The first thing I said what “oh my God, the yacht blew up!”. We talked for 20 minutes. A couple weeks later the phone bill arrived and my husband exploded. Since he was at work he could call Craig on a government line for free, so he called him and vented his displeasure. The $80 dollar phone call was the start of a new saying. Whenever one of the guys got really angry Sue and I just referred to it as another yachting moment.
Sue and I, both divorced now, live in Brighton, Colorado. And whenever someone gets really angry we refer to it as ‘yachting’. Her kids get the meaning and use the a similar term, but sorry to say their kids don’t get it or find the story funny since they have only known unlimited talk and text. Sue’s grandkids just know if they get a bad report card it will cost them $80.
P.S. I introduced my 78 year old mother to the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child early last week. I think she is now on book 8 of the series. I know she will be disappointed when she gets the “Make Me” (#20) since we will both have to wait for the next book in the series. Since she lives with me I will have to endure the endless question, when is the next one coming out. Now I know where I get the impatience gene.
Janice: When Stephen King came out with the Green Mile serial books a friend at work and I decided she would buy one and I would buy the next one. Well she was a slow reader and I couldn’t wait so I decided to buy all of the books myself so I could read them immediately. I bought all of the books and sent them to my older son who was in Iraq at the time. He read the books and then shared them with his friends. He brought these well used books home to me and my younger son then read the books. When the movie came out my sons and I went to see it together and it was great. I’m very proud to share these books and the love of reading with my sons.
June: I have always been a reader, my children, not so much.
When my youngest son was in junior high school, he came home one day saying his class was reading a book for English, which he though I might like to read. It was THE HOBBIT. I read, he read and we shared our takes on the plot, the characters and their adventures.
That book and our new found readers relationship, put him on a path to become an avid reader!
Karen: I have 2 memories of reading and books. The first was when I was in first grade and my teacher said I needed to improve in reading. My mom took me to the library and I got my own library card and books. I remember reading to my mom at the kitchen table while she cooked dinner. Later, reading became my favorite subject both as a student and a first grade teacher.
My 2nd memory is of my best friend and I walking to the library (about half a mile each way). We would check out the limit of books – mostly mysteries and carry them back home and sit on her front page and read our own books and eventually each others before our next trip to the library. I remember reading Victoria Holt books, Jane Eyre, and the Hardy Boys. We used to talk about the books we had read, so I guess that was my introduction to my first book club. I now participate in 2 book clubs at the same library that I used to visit when I was a girl.
He’s been married now thirteen years… and we still share our love of books… and we still have our lively discussions.
Laurie: So. My first and best memory is Fahrenheit 451. And actually the movie is what started it. You remember at the end? Where people have to decide which one book they will be? I was in a dither for weeks trying to decide which book I would want to save. I decided on “The Stand” by Stephen King. It still stands the test of time. I will occasionally ponder the question again and I still come back to “The Stand”.
Nanci: By the start of 5th grade, I had read every book in my hometown’s Children’s Library at least three times, and was extremely bored, to say the least. Although you had to be in 7th grade before getting an Adult Library card, the librarians took my mother aside and said that I truly needed one, so as to keep encouraging my love of reading. Therefore, I became the first 5th grader in that town to ever have full use of the Adult Library! Later that year, however (and I didn’t know this for several decades), my mother grew somewhat concerned and had a discussion with the librarians, as I was reading novels such as Peyton Place and other “scandalous” adult books of that ilk. They told her that she didn’t have to worry about me, because I was also reading all types of nonfiction: history, biographies, nature, crafts, etc., and assured her that I was a completely well-rounded reader. My mother never said another word about it, to her credit, and for that, I will always be grateful.
Pam: Books, books, books, who doesn’t have stories? I guess the one I think about the most is back when I was in junior high and couldn’t put down Gone with the Wind. I was reading it in the bathtub and my dad came in and hollered at me. Not for reading, but because the tornado sirens were blaring and I was supposed to be in the basement since it seems there was a tornado heading for the house. I made it to the basement and the winds only got a piece of the patio cover so it was all good. Reading book should not be interrupted by anyone or anything.
WV: I met my wife at the Chicago Public Library while reading a Kenneth Aubrey series book by Craig Thomas. To this day she is the only other person I know that has read them all. She looked across at me and said “Craig Thomas? Would it be to forward of me to ask you your name? I said “Not at all”. We had dinner that night at Armondo’s on Rush St & Superior AVE. Seven children and 31 years later we still read together everyday! God Bless Craig Thomas, RIP.