I still remember the first two "big" books I received. They were a Christmas gift from my school teacher, and I felt quite grown-up to hold in my hand some books that were so much more impressive than my favorite Little Golden Books: "Little Black Sambo" and "The Little Engine that Could".
One of the books, "Heidi", seemed difficult, so I put it aside to read the other one: The Bobbsey Twins, the first in a series of many. I couldn't put it down. I later owned "The Bobbsey Twins in the Country" and "The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore", and one other one about them flying in an airplane. None held the magic of the first, though.
Because these books were originally written when my mother was a kid, they are old enough to be a free download on the Nook; so I nabbed that first one I ever owned, just for the memories. It's the one that taught me how to make a dollhouse out of a shoebox, and how to make a sturdy igloo by pouring water over the top of a pile of snow to make it strong. I later used that knowledge to help my kids construct an igloo in the seventies.
Heidi was a difficult read for me, but it drew me in right away because it was about a little girl who went to live with her scary-but-nice grandpa, and got to spend her days romping in the mountains barefoot, playing with goats. Now, at that time I'd never been around goats, but it seemed like it would have been a wonderful life. I would read about Grandfather making cheese and I could almost taste it. I'll admit I got bored when Heidi went to stay with the little rich girl, but I stuck with the book until it was done, even re-reading it at least once.
I have no idea how old I was when I received these books; I only know that we still lived in Iowa. I'm thinking perhaps I was in the second grade.
Now I'm reading a library book on my Nook called "Just Kids". It's a biographical book by Patti Smith, a name that wasn't familiar to me; seems she's a rock singer. I chose the book because it seemed to portray life in the hippy culture, back in the sixties and early seventies. I was raising babies then, living in the country. I'd have fainted if somebody had so much as offered me a joint, but I had a secret fascination with hippies, Woodstock, communes, and the whole back-to-the-land movement. It all seemed so romantic.
Patti drops a lot of names throughout the book, at least half of which I'm not familiar with because I was listening to country music, not rock. However, she and her friends hung out at times with Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix. Those names made me sit up and take notice.
The venereal disease and crabs, however, left me shuddering and unimpressed.
Books give me glimpses into places I don't have the nerve to go in real life. Sometimes I'm glad it's only a glimpse.
Now I'm going to go cyber-shopping at Barnes and Noble; I'm using all the Swagbucks I receive searching the Net to get myself Barnes-and-Noble gift cards. Free books, best-sellers I wouldn't normally shell out the bucks for. Sweet!