Jane and a Love of Story


What books did you love growing up? What is the first romance book you read and loved? Who is your all time (go way back now) favorite author? Romance author?

Some corners of the  Interwebs have designated Thursday “Throwback Thursday.”  This is the first of what I hope will be a regular series of posts about my own reading history.  I’ll focus on fiction of course (Thomas Merton and various obscure historians being a poor fit for this blog).

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Sigh. Nan and Bert, Freddy and Flossy

The Bobbsey Twins and biographies— tons of biographies — are the only memories I can dredge up from my earliest reading. Children’s fiction in the 1950s held little interest for me. One clear memory is the day I walked into the Worthington, Ohio, public library and turned left (toward the adult area) instead of right (to the children’s room).  No one challenged me. No one questioned it when I came home with a satisfyingly thick book. What a glorious feeling!

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The cover of “my” edition

I also remember that first book I took out: Jane Eyre. It absorbed me completely. I had discovered a love of fiction. I had discovered a love of story.  And, though I didn’t know it yet, I had discovered a love of romance.  The trials and triumph of Jane stay with me to this day. I loved her dignity and strength. I loved her independence. Let’s face it, I loved Mr. Rochester. I read it over and over throughout my teens, always happy to sink back into Jane’s world. My dog eared paperback copy sits on my bookshelf to this day.

8 thoughts on “Jane and a Love of Story

  1. I loved the Bobbsey twins and wanted to have 3 sets of twins– until I had my first child. The I gave thanks he was a singleton. The book that set me on a reading oath was a book of 366 bedtime stories. It was the first book not a school book I ever owned and there was no stopping me after that. I must have been 7 at the time. My sister was 3 years older The public library had two different buildings for adults 12 and over and children under 12. She felt so big when she could go to the adult library at twelve. I tagged along and hid in the G-H. section. I read a wide variety of books by authors in that section. They also had to be on the lower shelves so I could read them. Grace Livingston Hill Earle Stanley Gardiner and Zane Gray were some authors I remember. I read The Hardy Boys, Tom Swift and Nancy Drew from the children’s library. Sarah Crewe, Secret garden and such as well.. I read everything I could get my hands on.

    • Great comment. I love the G’s and H’s. I suspect I was twelve the day I turned left, so not so precocious. When I say I didn’t love children’s fiction, I should point out that I had no one to point me toward the Secret Garden or even Alice in Wonderland. I tried to make it up to my brother who is eleven years younger but luckily enjoyed being read to. I discovered many books reading to him, including Edward Eager’s Half Magic which became a huge favorite.

  2. It was Heidi by Johanna Spryi that set me on the path of reading. My mother got it for me when I began 2d grade, telling me that she thought I was able to read it. I’d been so undiscriminating that I loved Dick, Jane, and Sally (which dates me, all right!). But it’s Heidi I loved, and I think of the old grandmother eating the hard brown bread and Heidi brought her soft white rolls–probably 1/4 of the nutritional content!–and the tough but loving grandfather. In comparison, my own parents were relentlessly ordinary, I thought. I was wrong, of course!

  3. I loved going to the library as a kid – especially in the summer. It was about 14 blocks from my home, and my friend and I would walk there at least once a week. I don’t think kids are allowed to that now. But this was the late 50s and honestly, nothing (but fun) ever happened.

    The first romance that I remember falling in love with was CELIA GARTH by Gwen Bristow. I love Jane Eyre also, but I think I read it later in my teens.

    Throwback Thursday, huh? Nice little trip down memory lane.

    • Wasn’t it just? Walking to the library was one of my favorite things to do in summer. You’re right. Kids today miss it.

  4. I think I just about lived in the library ,it was the greatest feeling going in and the librarians all knowing your name 🙂 . The book that hooked me on reading was Where the Red Fern Grows , it was the first time that I felt like I was the character.

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