The Bookish Side of Me: Book Blogger Appreciation Week @BBAW Day 1

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is an annual week-long event originated by My Friend Amy in 2008 that ran for five years, and is now being brought back after a hiatus by The Estella Society!

Day 1 Introduce yourself by telling us about five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle.

cover image of A Little PrincessChildhood Fave
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This was my hands-down favorite book, but I never had my own copy, just checked it out at least ten times from the library. I remember my father asking exasperatedly, “You’re getting that AGAIN?” I think he disapproved of this romance-y, girly-looking book because he wanted me to read only serious children’s literature like The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler and The Phantom Tollbooth, but this story of a motherless, beautiful, smart, kind, dark-haired girl going from riches to rags and back to riches entranced me, and I read it over and over.

  • I still like big books (A Little Princess, at 266 pages, was long for a children’s book back then.)
  • I’m still intrigued by India, where Sara Crewe’s English father was stationed, and in high school, I went to India as an exchange student.
  • I still like to read classic novels. (Looking up A Little Princess on Wikipedia, I see it was published in 1905, so I was reading it at least 65 years later, which would have made it a children’s classic. I don’t think I knew that at the time.)
  • I still don’t read the really serious novels – just the moderately serious ones  – and still enjoy stories where the mean girls/women and the bad guys get their comeuppance.
  • I still wish I had thin ankles, as Sara Crewe and all the other pretty girls in all the other novels do.

Of course, I had other favorite novels back then, including, yes, The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler and The Phantom Tollbooth. Also The Once and Future King by T.H. White, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary, Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink (which I see now was also a classic), The Great Brain books by John D. Fitzgerald, and too many more to name. I never liked Nancy Drew or very many mysteries other than Encyclopedia Brown, but I did like Trixie Belden, The Bobbsey Twins, and The Happy Hollisters, which may all have been more about the brothers, sisters, and friends than the mysteries they solved, which was why I liked them .

Lifelong Adult Favorites

As a librarian, I try to read a variety of books, including genre fiction, to keep up with what’s current and popular, as well as books from other years I may have missed. As a fiction reviewer for Library Journal, I read assigned books, and as a book blogger, I often read books for review that I might not have otherwise chosen.

But my favorite reading over the years has always been the family saga. (Preferably running over several volumes and several generations.) I resisted reading Rosamund Pilcher’s books until a fellow librarian persuaded me to read The Shellseekers, and then I was, like, why didn’t you just tell me it was a family saga? 😉

These are the ones I have already read once or twice and hope to read again someday, maybe when I am retired:

A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell (12 volumes)

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (5 volumes)

The Spoils of Time Trilogy by Penny Vincenzi (3 volumes. Obviously.)

The Starbridge novels and St. Benet’s Trilogy by Susan Howatch (9 books)

Strangers and Brothers by C. P. Snow (11 volumes)

I cheated and wrote about six books instead of five. Or, actually, a lot more than six, didn’t I? Well, that says a lot about me, too.

I need to get one of these mugs:

Coffee mug saying I Like big books and I cannot lie

Click on the image below for The Estella Society’s introduction post and the Linky List of everyone else’s Day One posts!BBAW2016

42 thoughts on “The Bookish Side of Me: Book Blogger Appreciation Week @BBAW Day 1”

  1. When I was younger than 13, my public library only let me check out 10 books at a time, so I checked out the biggest ones I could. I think I got my fill of all those family sagas then. I still agree with you about big books, though. I just finished Chernov’s Hamilton bio and Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, both of which I enjoyed in a big way!

    1. I think we had a ten-book limit, too! I remember us as going every week, growing up, but it was possibly every two weeks. The only big biography I’ve ever read is the first book in multi-volume Lyndon Johnson bio by Robert Caro. The next big nonfiction I want to tackle is And the Band Played On, which I’ve never read.

  2. I am ashamed to admit I haven’t read A Little Princess buuuuuuuuuuuuut… I did see and adore the movie as a kid (terrible terrible substitute, I have no doubt) and I adored The Secret Garden (which I did read with my eyeballs, in addition to seeing the movie, which I also enjoyed because I like looking at pretty gardens.)

    1. Another thing I could have added to my post is that I very, very rarely watch a movie of a book that I loved! I wasn’t nearly as fond of The Secret Garden, and don’t really remember reading it when I was young. Maybe I only saw the movie of that one! 😉

  3. I love that mug – I need to have it. I recently did a post about Rosamunde Pilcher and her books that I’ve loved. I spent most of the 80’s and 90’s reading those big, big books that were so in vogue. I love Susan Howatch and have read many of her books, as well as a couple of Penny Vincenzi’s. Great list – loved it, loved it!!

    1. I guess we have a lot in common when it comes to reading tastes! Are you a librarian, too? I went on to read more of Rosamunde Pilcher’s books and several by Maeve Binchy, but never liked any of them as much as The Shellseekers. I’ll check out the post you mentioned!

  4. I love how differently everyone answers this question! How interesting to trace the influence of A Little Princess on your later reading. It was one of my very favorite childhood books too, and I think it played a strong role in my enduring love of Victorian/Edwardian literature. I’m always wanting to get back to that place that Burnett so magically evoked for me.

    1. I couldn’t decide if A Little Princess helped form my reading tastes in later life or if my reading tastes were what led me to like A Little Princess so much to begin with? The old nature vs. nurture question!

    1. I have been afraid to read A Little Princess as an adult, in case I don’t love it. I have read a few childhood favorites that I have liked just as much as an adult, but every book can’t be Charlotte’s Web!

  5. Love your list! I wish I had thought to include a childhood favorite on mine. Matilda, The Phantom Tollbooth, the Babysitter’s Club, so many I could name!

    1. I’m too old to have read the Roald Dahl and The Babysitter’s Club books as a kid, but there’s a magic to the books we love when we’re young, isn’t there? — whatever the particular books are!

  6. That cover! The pink “A Little Princess” with the Tasha Tudor illustrations was the edition my mother owned when I was a kid, and the one she read to us from, so for me, that’s like, the only version of A Little Princess I can accept. Absolutely love those illustrations.

    1. I was trying to remember what the library book looked like and that one was the closest I could come. I thought it was yellow, though! One thing about me as a reader is that I usually completely ignore covers (and illustrations). That can be a problem as a librarian!

  7. I also used to check out the same books over and over at the library as a kid.
    I’ll have to look into some of your sagas. As a teen, I read the North and South books and so I grabbed a few others through the years but have somehow missed all of these!

  8. Oh, how I loved the Ramona books! The Little Princess is a favorite of mine too. I look forward to introducing my daughter to it when she’s older. It’s such a classic.

    I haven’t read any of the books on your adult list. Family sagas are probably not my favorite, but I do enjoy them now and then.

  9. Your spotlight on family sagas had me thinking through if I’ve read any (not counting several Christian inspirational series that I read when I was a teenager). I’m not sure if I’ve read any multi-volume family sagas as an adult and you have me curious now. The Forsyte Saga is already on my to-read list, so I guess that’s a starting point. I have read single-volume family sagas like East of Eden and Isaac Bashevis Singer’s The Family Moskat.

    I think I read The Little Princess when I was a child but don’t remember much of it now. I did see a pretty movie adaptation – I think from the 1990s – that I enjoyed, though I know they completely changed the ending.

  10. I need to reread The Once and Future King at some point – I just didn’t enjoy it, but I read it during a very stressful time, so I wonder… Also, one of my good friends gave me a copy of A Little Princess as a going-away gift when I moved across country for graduate school a decade ago, but I still haven’t read it! Drat!

    1. I don’t know how TOaFK would stand up to an adult reading. Sometimes I notice a lot of insidious sexism in books written by men back in those days that I didn’t (consciously, anyway) notice as a young reader!

  11. Can you believe I’ve never read A Little Princess? OR The Secret Garden. Guess who has both books to already on the shelf to read to her little girls! Can’t wait for that day. 😉

    And who can narrow down to just 5 books!

  12. This post brought happy memories — checking out books from the library so many times that they felt like “my” books, The Little Princess, The Bobbsey Twins.

    The family sagas reminded me of one that I read in high school, volumes checked out from the small town public library, the Williamsburg series by Elswyth Thane — all published before I was born, but that didn’t seem to bother me.

    1. Sometimes I take forever to read a long book, because I read more than one book at a time! Sometimes I do have to backtrack, or even start over, if I let it go too long, though!

      1. Same here! I have a whole list on Goodreads devoted to books that are “abandoned for now,” as opposed to real DNFs. This list includes a couple of big’uns, like Americanah and The Shadow of the Wind. One day! 🙂

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