Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Storied Books



The summer after I finished Grade 3, my parents took a three-week trip to Ontario. We three children stayed with relatives, the last week with my grandparents. When my parents' car drove into the driveway, I raced down the stairs, out the door and into their arms. I cried with happiness at seeing them again. After the hugs and kisses, they opened the trunk of the car and pulled out gifts for us. For me, two books: The Wizard of Oz, above, and Little Women. Little Women was discarded just a few years ago, for I re-read it many times.  

The other book in the above photo, "Nurses Who Led the Way" bears the inscription, "To Lorrie from Valerie Collins, 1966." Valerie was a school chum and fellow book worm. These two books are worn and falling apart, but when I look at them on the shelf, handle them, and flip through their pages, these memories return. 
 

As my husband and I left for a year of Spanish language study before moving to Ecuador, my mother-in-law handed me a gift, with an admonition to keep it wrapped and tucked away until my birthday, three months away.  I would have kept the promise but for termites who found their way into our closet and munched away on the books. We taped them together and they've been read and re-read, both silently and aloud. I know that I could replace them with more intact versions, but why? These are so much more interesting.
 

Books have always been portals into strange and exciting worlds where the cares and concerns of everyday life fade like dust behind me as I plow into the life created on the page. It's unsettling to me to not have a book to read. I usually have several on the go. I read to learn, to escape, and to think.

I cannot remember learning how to read, only that I devoured the printed page from my earliest school days. Now, as I handle books from my past, I treasure not only the stories they tell on the pages, but the way the books themselves have become part of my personal story. 

What role does books play in your life? Do you enjoy reading? Did it come early or late? Can you remember learning how to read? 

Mary, from the Little Red House, will be putting up links to more book posts tomorrow. I'm looking forward to seeing what other bloggers have to say or how they photograph their books.

31 comments:

podso said...

Beautiful photographs! Love the open book. And I share your sentiment about books! Heidi first and then Little Women were my favorites.

Pamela Gordon said...

A lovely post Lorrie. I love to read and always have a book on the go. Never more than one as I can only concentrate on one at a time. My father gave me several books as a child as he was an avid reader. One of my favourite is Enid Blyton's "Good Morning Book" with his inscription inside. Your books have very special meaning to you. That is nice to see.

Marianne Songbird said...

I am not sentimental about books, and can get rid of them quite easily. Unless they harbour memories like yours, then I treasure and love them deeply. Love the stories about these books.
And love the springification of your blog too :-)
♥ Marianne

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

I was born in 1966 and my mom's maiden name is Collins. :) I don't remember learning how to read. But I do remember that the summer I was 12 I read every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys book I could get my hand on. Now I tend to read books with a positive message. Right now I am reading The China Study which I find very interesting. Best wishes to you, Tammy

Jill said...

Books are treasures in our home too. I hope I can get a post done to join in with you all. My 13 year old just spent about $50 of her money to get the last three Millie Keith books online that have been out of print. She would never spend money on a video game, clothes, or anything else, but...books! I myself haven't read adult books for pleasure for years but seriously the children's books that we read all of the time are almost as good to me. I love children's books! I enter into them too!

Elizabethd said...

I cannot imagine a life without books. I was a very early reader and my grandfather used to say that I 'ate' books, as I read them so fast! I have many of my childhood books, and my favourite and most read is 'The Little White Horse' by Elizabeth Goudge.

Donna said...

I was a voracious reader in my youth. I think it really gave me a boost in my education. During my adult life, I would go through periods where I didn't read on a regular basis. Working and household chores took up most of my time and there were few minutes to spare. Now that I am retired (for the 4th time, LOL) and the invention of the Kindle, I am reading now more than ever! Of course, I still adore my hardbound books. But we don't have the room to store than many!

Vee said...

Your books have as much of an outside story as an inside one. I see that they are well loved.

My mother read to us daily and switched early to chapter books. Some of them were a bit over our little noggins, but it still served to make me love reading and the world of books. My sister can't sit still long enough to bother to read for pleasure. I feel bad for those who can't. My mother also would read great snatches of what she herself was reading. I remember very early hearing things from "Gone With the Wind" and "The Big Fisherman." I learned to read in kindergarten and have been at it ever since. My favorite childhood books were The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and another series of books about a family that escapes me at the moment. One arrived on a monthly basis and I so looked forward to them. Seems that I'm stuck on "H" so I think that's important. Aha! It just came to me...The Happy Hollisters. Oh my! I hate when it takes my brain so long to kick into gear.

(Yup, the broken box and the Whoops that was an error message, but tenacious I am so will try again. This makes the fourth time!)

Floss said...

I learned to read on the same editions of the Little House books as you have on your shelves! I have lent them (almost as battered as your own copies) to an American family who live near Toulouse - I met the mum when I started a 'books to borrow around Toulouse' English-language page on Facebook, which is proving a great way to share our limited English books around the area. What a lovely article - thanks!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Well of course you knew I had to comment on THIS post. :) (you do know I always read your blog just sometimes I don't have time to comment:)

I now need to track down a copy of Nurses who led the way for the two nurses in my life.

Lorrie said...

It looks like the fourth time worked! I also got your email - thanks. I read the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew, too. Every one of each series, I think.

Lorrie said...

It would be wonderful if you could find that old book. The stories in it are really inspiring. For awhile, I dreamed of becoming a nurse, too.

I read all of your posts, too, Laura, but don't always comment!

Lorrie said...

When we lived in Ecuador, English books made the rounds. What treasures they were.

Lorrie said...

Reading can be done in so many ways - Kindle, on line, books, etc. The important thing is to keep reading.

Lorrie said...

I've not read that story by E. Goudge. I will look for it.

Lorrie said...

Children's books are always wonderful. I love reading them. I can hardly wait until our little granddaughter is old enough for me to read chapter books to her.

Lorrie said...

I read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, too. Now I like reading both fiction and non-fiction.

Lorrie said...

Thanks, Marianne.

Lorrie said...

testing

Lorrie said...

testing 2

Mary said...

What a lovely post! Your love of books and their very real impact on your life is evident in every well-crafted word and in the images of your well-loved volumes. Thanks so much for contributing to Thursday's Inspiration. xoxo

edenhills said...

I love books. They allowed me to live many lives and visit many worlds when I was younger.

Karen Harvey Cox said...

I can so relate to the way you feel about books. I can remember so many wonderful books from when I was young. I love your sentiments why you need to read. "I read to learn, to escape, and to think."

Karen

Lavender Cottage said...

I enjoyed seeing your timeworn memorable books. As a young gal, I too was a bookworm, often reading 2 different books at once. I think at that age, our minds are like sponges, soaking up as much information as we can feed them.
Mysteries have been a favourite and I had the Nancy Drew series, which were later passed on to another family member.
Judith

My Little Home and Garden said...

I enjoyed your post, Lorrie. I'd linger longer, but I'm going to curl up with a book now.

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Who would have thought the termites would like to read. :) My grade 3 teacher would read the class a chapter of the Wizard of Oz if we finished all our work. We tried to do that for that special treat. Valerie

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I have always enjoyed reading...though it seems I save my reading sprees for vacation these days. And I love the old books...such keepsakes. Though I quite enjoy reading on my e-reader, I will always have to have 'real' books on my shelves!

I don't actually remember learning to read...but do recall how thrilling it was to be able to read my Sunday School papers on my own.

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Lorrie how lovely that you still have a book on your bookshelf from Valerie.
Oh how I wish I could say I remember the day I learnt to read - but sadly I can't!
My father bought me lovely books from the day I was born. I had all the AA Milne and Beatrix Potter books but my favourite that sticks in my mind was about a dog named Dan. It was an ABC book – I loved it so much, I wish I could remember the title and author but it escapes me… I remember for the letter ‘C’ there was a beautiful photo of Dan playing Cricket, he had a cricket cap on his head and a cricket bat in his paws!!!
For me books evoke the happy carefree days of childhood.
Shane ♥

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Having a Mother who was a avid reader, I think it was always a delight to open a book..I do remember trying to figure out what all the squiggle lines meant, and was frustrated by not knowing how to read.

I love books, and although I can't afford to purchase every book I read, I do faithfully support my local library.

My Mom saved me many of my childhood books, and it's so fun to look through them, and remember the first impressions of reading them.

Jen

Britt said...

Yep love the picture of the open book, I though about doing something like that!!!

Linda said...

Hi Lorrie,
I'm so delighted that you stopped by to see me and left your footprint on my post "Majestic Hatley Park". I'm glad, too, that you mentioned you had done a post on Butchart Gardens recently. It's fascinating to see it at this time of year. The house was not open when we were there last year, so I really enjoyed seeing that. We went first thing on a Sunday AM - it was a beautiful sunny day so we were so thrilled to be there and it was not too crowded. We had afternoon tea and it was lovely! You are so lucky to be living nearby. I am in awe of all the flora. Sigh. I'm hoping to share my pics soon - I took enough of them! Lol
Happy St. Patrick's Day and take care.
Hugs,
Linda at Beautiful Ideas