Monday, September 14, 2009
From My Mom & Dad's Bookcase
When I was a kid I was a voracious reader and, after reading all the Nancy Drew/Tree Grows in Brooklyn/Judy Blume books that were available at school, I raced through my parents’ bookshelves as well. Adult books I loved as a child included: Dummy. Alive. Sybil. Coma. Night.
My parents also owned books with more than one-word titles. I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X when I was 10. I loved it so much I carried it with me around for about a year. My conservative grandparents were visiting once when I asked my mom, “Hey – what’s a doobie?” because I had read it in that book. (Grandma didn’t seem to get the reference either, but then again, she’s the same woman who once told me that “Gay was still a good word and I should let anyone tell me otherwise.”)
My dad wasn’t much of a reader, but we always had copies of the Whole Earth Catalog and a lot of the Foxfire books. (If you want to learn how to build a dulcimer or butcher a hog, that’s where to start.)
Our Bodies, Ourselves taught a young girl a hell of a lot more than she would need to know for many years yet.
There were some real dreck on those shelves - I read some horrid books about Merlin called The Crystal Cave series. (They were horrible to me even then.) I read the Amityville Horror when I was 10 and Mommie Dearest when I was 12.
The moral is this: Read whatever you can get your hands on, kiddies. Even the liner notes from Herman’s Hermits Greatest Hits could feed you nuggets of information that you’ll draw from for the rest of your days.