In no particular order...
The first memory I thought of was buying Anne's House of Dreams by LM Montgomery, which was the final book I needed to complete the series. I have no idea who bought the other Anne books for me (was it a present? did my dad buy them?) but I can definitely remember how it felt to find this particular book in a garage sale in really good condition and for only 25 cents! It was amazing.
Reading The Outsiders by SE Hinton in middle school
This memory was very strong as well. I had a really wonderful middle school teacher. He really tried to get us all to think differently and to make changes both in our lives but in other people's lives too. And along with some other wonderful books (Pigman, Summer of a German Soldier) we read The Outsiders by SE Hinton.
Receiving The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner for Christmas
I picked up the first book, The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, in a second-hand bookstore on one of my family's travels when I was very little. And that alone would have made this list of favourite reading memories... except that awhile later, after desperately trying to locate the other books in the series on my own, I was gifted more than 30 of the books as a present by a family friend. Seriously my favourite Christmas present ever!
And moving onto a more recent reading memory... some of you may have seen me tweeting about E reading the Harry Potter books. The boy is only 7 and already he has read all seven books twice and is reading them all through for the third time at the moment (currently on Order of the Phoenix!). And one of my favourite things in the entire world is being curled up on the sofa with a book and with E and his book, both of us reading. And then afterwards, we'd sit together and talk about what we'd both been reading. E always has some really great insights and questions about the books he's reading and I love that this is something we've shared for such a long time. I really hope that our book discussions continue for much longer...
The Littlest and Steve Cole at the Hay Festival
It's a strange one, this one, in that I wasn't there when it happened. I never wrote a blog post about it, but earlier this year, me and N and the boys all went to the Hay Festival. It wasn't something that N was interested in at all but he agreed to take the boys around and keep them amused while I went to see a bunch of different events. One of the events that he took the boys to was to hear Steve Cole speak about his series Cows In Action. And from what I hear from N and the boys, his event was amazing! Steve Cole came out wearing a black Spiderman costume and really interacted with the children in the audience and got everyone involved. More backstory: The Littlest has had problems with his speech. He was in speech therapy for over a year and as a result, he never spoke to strangers, he didn't speak in general to anyone outside of the family. Before this, his lack of confidence in his speech and his shyness were his dominant features when out in public. Back to the Hay Festival... Steve Cole asked if anyone in the audience had any questions and on his own accord, The Littlest raised his hand. Steve Cole called on him and very clearly, L asked him a question. In a microphone in front of a large audience. It makes my eyes well up at just the thought of it. I love that Steve Cole connected with my son in such a way to get past all of The Littlest's insecurities and and got him to speak. Another favourite memory is hearing the excitement and enthusiasm from both boys after this event!
I've told this story so many times that I feel like maybe it's a bit tedious by now? But it's still one of my favourite reading memories as well as being a favourite childhood memory. Charlotte's Web was my favourite book as a child. I carried it around with me everywhere and I read it a countless number of times.
Reading Northern Lights by Philip Pullman and Sabriel by Garth Nix
For a long time after leaving high school, I kind of floundered in my reading choices. There was nobody around anymore to steer me in the right direction of good books. So I relied a lot on bestseller lists and the like. It wasn't until I was employed by WHSmith after I moved to the UK that I started to explore other types of books. It wasn't until then that I began to make decisions about what type of reader I am. And in a very short amount of space I read both Sabriel by Garth Nix and Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. And I loved the worlds and the characters and the writing styles of each of these books enough that these books hooked me onto reading young adult fiction...
Visiting the library
This is just a general and collective memory of visiting the library regularly throughout my life. I love the library. It has been my happy place for many, many years. I never feel as comfortable as I do surrounded by books!
I know, I know. Two different Harry Potter memories on this list? It might be overkill, but both of these memories are very important to me. This final book in the Harry Potter book came out just before my birthday. And I'd stayed up to buy and read the book at midnight. I'd stayed up as late as I could that same day but then had to go to sleep. Well, that afternoon N had planned a surprise meal with some friends and I remember I was near the end as we were driving into Kingston. I was crying quite badly and I asked N to stop the car and check the final pages of the book to make sure that my favourite characters were still alive in the end and didn't die during the Battle of Hogwarts. It was such an overwhelmingly emotional day, that one. It will always stay with me.
Meeting authors and book bloggers and being part of this community
I couldn't write a list like this and not acknowledge how incredibly lucky and grateful I am that so many wonderful opportunities are available to me! I absolutely love being part of the UK book blogging community. I won't lie and say that everyone gets on with everyone else, but it's pretty close! Being a part of all this has been one of my favourite things in life. Yes, life. Thank you all!
What are some of your favourite reading memories?