Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, July 04, 2003

A little delayed from the festivities, here's a Friday Five a librarian could sink her teeth into!

1. What were your favorite childhood stories? H.A. Rey's Curious George, Yertle the Turtle, anything by Marguerite Henry--but especially Black Gold, William Armstrong's Sounder, Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books, Antonia Barber'sThe Ghosts , the Trixie Belden mysteries, Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series, Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet, CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, Mary Renault's The Bull from the Sea, and Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern.

2. What books from your childhood would you like to share with [your] children? All of the above. Plus, I never had the book, but I did have a 45 rpm of the story Little Black Sambo, a story I loved and only realised later that the book's traditional illustrations were considered racist. I still think the story itself is worth sharing, and whilst I do no believe in rewriting the story, I could see illustrations placing it in the original setting of India being somewhat less inflammatory. There are a lot of books I only discovered AFTER my childhood. Like Where the Wild Things Are or The Giver or The Tripods. One of the great things about being a librarian is even though I don't have kids, I still stumble across great books for them--and can 'justify' reading them, too. And of course Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl and Lemony Snicket all have to go into the mix.

3. Have you re-read any of those childhood stories and been surprised by anything?
I always thought Mary Renault's books were children's book because I read them a child. When I re-read The Bull from the Sea, I was struck by two things--one, I do not remember homosexual connotations from my childhood; they quite literally went over my head--I think some of her other books have a more obvious tack; two, I realised that this book, along with Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series, probably did more to shape my religious beliefs and interests than any others.

4. How old were you when you first learned to read? Three. Apparently I taught myself from a combination of 'Sesame Street', 'Electric Company', and a set of first to third grade readers that had been up in our attic. I cannot remember ever not reading.

5. Do you remember the first 'grown-up' book you read? How old were you? Probably the Renault book, when I was maybe nine. I was definitely reading adult fantasy--my favourite being Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Pern books--by the time I was 13, but some reason the Kern County librarian just didn't want to let me read John Jakes' The Bastard, even though it was on TV, when I was 12. :) She'd be very shocked at Elizabeth A. Lynn's books, which I think I read at 15; they contain gay sex. Funny that the first books I read that described sex had sex between two men, and then I went on to marry a gay man and have several gay friends. :)

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