Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Books that Made a Difference: Part 1

When your mother is a librarian you are surrounded by books.   Even before this career path became aparant, my mom read to my sister and I.   Constantly.  I was a vociferious reader in elementary school and even middle school.   Summer not only included countless hours in the pool, but trips to the library so we could have new books every week.

Sadly in high school my pleasure reading took a back seat to everything else I was doing to become Suzie High School*   College wasn't much better, with all the required readings and ridiculous reporting assignments bestowed upon me, the broadcast journalism major.

Finding a full-time job in DC meant a job (!) and also a commute.  Consequently, I had chunks of time on public transit in which to read books!   I again became a public library card holder and consistently checked out books so as to be amused on the Metro.  While the number of volumes read has fluctuated greatly since joining the real world in 2005, I have always enjoyed reading a book.   Especially a good one.   The following titles, while not necessarily favorites, have made a difference to me.   (In other words, I have favorite books that had no impact on my life and were simply enjoyable.  See: The Hunger Games)  I have several books to speak about and for the sake of not boring you all to tears, this will be a 2 part post.

Harper Lee

An obvious choice?  Perhaps.  Part of why I love this book so much is that it was my 9th grade English teacher's favorite book of all time, and her love made us enjoy it too.  TKAM was the first book I read in high school.   I believe that because it was so well written, and dealt with topics in such an easy-to-read fashion, it helped me better understand literature throughout school.  At its heart, TKAM teaches readers to stand up for what we know is right, and that deep down, most people are kind 'when you really see them'   I agree completely.

James and the Giant Peach
Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was introduced to all LRA 3rd graders as part of our reading groups (who remembers reading groups?)  Each group cycled through several books, but James was my first.  At the time it felt like a grown-up book, but its whimsy and fantastical elements made it a perfect choice for over-achieving 9 year olds.  Who could forget when James climbsed inside the giant fruit and rolled away from the crazy aunts?   And with all that magic, I'd want to be friends with Grasshopper, Earthworm, Miss Spider, and Centipede, too.

The Monkey and the Bee
Leland Jacobs

This was the book I used to teach my sister how to read.  You see, I was in kindergarten and reading everything I could get my hands on.  At 5, I was entertained for quite awhile, so long as interesting picture books were nearby.  Any good big sister will tell you that it behooves everyone when the little sister can keep up.  So, I taught Al how to read.  I used several books, including some Care Bear picture books, but this was the old standby and the one that she read all by herself at age 3.  I still take credit for her early admittance to Duke University (kind of).   It appears this book is out of print, and no image was available.   Tragic!

Tim McCarver's Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans: 
Understanding and Interpreting the Game So You Can Watch It Like a Pro
Tim McCarver and Danny Peary

Auntie introduced me to baseball as an 8 year old, and I have never looked back!  While I believe you learn from watching and attending games, this book, as you might gather from the name, goes a bit more in depth.  Tim McCarver, a former player and current FOX broadcaster, does a fantastic job of explaining the many nuances of a baseball game.  It's not just a bat and a ball and glove, you know.  I am convinced that if you plopped an alien in front of this book he would understand the game.   It's certainly appreciated by uberfans, but also a great starting point for a novice.

*TM Pannie


A. SK said...

Can you believe Jason has never read To Kill a Mockingbird? I have a cat named after the author for crying outloud!

jennifer anderson said...

you really do well on the book thing