02 December 2006

I got it from Kelly; she got it from Gail

This meme, which I first found at Big A little a, has been wandering around for a while. It was originated by Kate S, at Kate's Book Blog, who issued a general "tag" to anyone who reads her post.

Here's my version....

1. How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you?

My sister taught me to read when I was three. My earliest memories, however, are from when I was four, so as far as I'm concerned I've always known how to read.

2. Did you own any books as a child? If so, what’s the first one that you remember owning? If not, do you recall any of the first titles that you borrowed from the library?

Many. My whole family (parents, brother and two sisters) were readers. The earliest book I remember was The Story of Ferdinand, about the Spanish bull who just wants to sit under the cork tree and sniff the flowers. My sister tells me that this was my favourite book when I was really young, and it was the one she used for the reading lessons I don't remember.

As for library books, the earliest one I actually remember was The Guns of Shiloh, by Joseph Altsheler. I had a terrible time convincing the school librarian that I, a mere second-grader, was capable of reading such a book (Amazon says it's for ages 9-12) and that she should let me check it out.

3. What’s the first book that you bought with your own money?

Yeah, like I'm really going to remember that far back....

4. Were you a re-reader as a child? If so, which book did you re-read most often?

Yep. My sister bought me a lot of the Landmark books, from Random House, and I know I reread the one about the Bismarck more than once. Once I got started on Edgar Rice Burroughs (see next question), I reread most of his books.

5. What’s the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it?

I was about ten years old when my sister (she's almost thirteen years older than I, and yes, she was a major influence on my early life!) brought home copies of The People That Time Forgot and Thuvia, Maid of Mars. Those two books were my first introduction to ERB, and even more importantly, my first introduction to science fiction. Ace and Ballantine were just reissuing most of his works in paperback at that time, and I ended up buying almost all of them. The following year, I discovered A Bertram Chandler, and I've been a big SF fan ever since.

6. Are there children’s books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones?

Can't really think of any. Most of the children's books I really love - Swallows & Amazons, Green Knowe, Enid Blyton's "Adventure" series, Dean Marshall's books, Trixie Belden, &c - are books I first read as a child or as a teenager.

(And my thanks to Tom Lehrer for the subject line I used....)

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