Tuesday, January 10

Retro-Reading



Retro-Reading…don’t you love that term? We have Liz Flaherty to thank for it—she used it yesterday in her reply to my comment on her Word Wranglers blog, where she wrote about joining Curtiss Ann Matlock’s 50 Books In a Year reading challenge. I joined too, along with many other avid readers and I’m excited about participating.

Although the term retro-reading is Liz’s, I’m going to define it in my own way—for me, retro-reading is going back to the books I enjoyed as a kid—from ages eight or so through my teens. I've always been an avid reader—seriously voracious—but that was about the time I discovered how much fun it was to get lost in a book. I read everything I could get my hands on. We took a weekly trip to the library, where I was confined to the children’s section by a curmudgeonly librarian who didn’t believe that I could read beyond picture books and basic readers. My mom checked books out of the young adult section for me and that’s when I fell in love with romance and mystery and suspense. I also read the books my sisters brought home from the junior high and high school libraries.

The authors I loved to read are too numerous to list here, but a few of my favorites were Rosamund Du Jardin, Mary Stoltz, Eunice Young Smith, Lenora Mattingly Weber, Laura Lee Hope, and as I matured, Daphne Du Maurier, Gene Stratton-Porter, Harper Lee, Barbara Michaels, and Agnes Sligh Turnbull. Do you remember Beany Malone and Tobey Heydon? Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Scarlett O'Hara, and Scout? I lived in novels—they were my escape. 

Right before Christmas, Husband and I cleaned out our bookcases and donated nearly 200 books to the Salvation Army—most all of them fiction. It wasn’t as hard to get rid of the books as I thought it would be because most of them were contemporary novels, easily accessible on Amazon if I want to download them to my Kindle. Our bookcases now hold only our very favorite books and what fun it was to rediscover the books that I loved as a young girl! I can’t wait to reread Maida’s Little Shop and Girl of the Limberlost. I found all the Jennifer books and the entire set of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House stories. My tattered copy of Gone with the Wind showed up as did several Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. A cornucopia of joyful memories!

Several years ago, I happened upon the Image Cascade website where you can buy all the books you remember from when you were a young teen. I gleefully showed it to Husband and told him how much I loved those old stories and that dear man remembered the website. My next birthday, he presented me with the entire set of Rosamund Du Jardin’s books! I was delighted. When I saw them again after the great bookcase cleanout, I decided to reread them all, starting with the Pam and Penny Howard books. 

I'm three books into the series and man, it’s been lovely to read those innocent, sweet stories again. I’ve decided that’s how I’ll earn my 50 books this year—retro-reading all the books I loved as a kid. I’m looking forward to revisiting my old friends in those books and spending some time in the past. So tell me what books you would love to retro-read?

12 comments:

  1. I remember that cover with the plaid skirts! I downloaded HEIDI to my Kindle after yesterday's post and had also gotten the first three books of James Herriot's series. What disappointments they are because they've been so "cleaned up" by re-editing that the flavor is lost. This means I'm not only retro-reading, but I need to find retro-copies as well! This is where the library is so wonderful--what they don't have, they can find!

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  2. Ooooh--HEIDI! Yes! I saw James Herriot's 3-book set on Bookbub, but I already have all his books in print, so I didn't get it--glad I resisted. I'll reread them in the original. Not sure why this retro-reading is so comforting, but somehow it is.

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    1. I have them in print, too, but they are badly worn; however, I may bite the bullet and buy them again.

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  3. What a fun plan! There are a few books I'd like to go back and read - the first 2 Harlequins I discovered (which are still on my shelf), a few teen-angsty romances...and some Lois Duncan. Her books made my skin crawl in that wonderfully creepy way (not the awfully-creepy way that Stephen King's books do)...I think I'll add a few to my list!

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  4. Nice! You are younger enough than me that I don't know Lois Duncan, but I'm always open to new authors. I didn't start reading Harlequins until I was well into my twenties--started with Diana Palmer. She's still great!

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  5. Talking about James Herriot makes me want to reread that series. Like you, Nan, I've still got the series in print. Did you watch the TV series back in the 70s or 80s? I think the TV show was what inspired me to read the books. If they re-edited the life out of those books, it's a complete shame.

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    1. That would suck, wouldn't it? Some things need to be left alone--a lot of things, actually. ;-)

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  6. I started my love of reading with the Boxcar Children and read all the mysteries in third grade. I actually remember the library placement in A.T. Mahon school on the Navr base in Iceland.

    Then there was Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and the Du Jardin books--Marcy was my favorite!

    The Outsiders and the rest of S.E. Hintons books, The Pigman by Paul Zindel, Lloyd Alexanders Prydain Chronicles,

    I could go on and on--reading got me through my tween and teen years. Thank you, Judy Blume!

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    1. My kid enjoyed the Boxcar Children and Encyclopedia Brown. Here's something interesting--a friend of mine is the new Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon--she writes Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys now. Isn't that fun?

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  7. I enjoyed this post. My sisters and I have our books from childhood and love to reread then,too. We still are adding more to our bookshelves. For Christmas I purchased the first four books of "The Cherry Ames" series for my sisters. Enjoy rereading your childhood books.
    Marilyn

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    1. You, too, Marilyn! My sister loved the Cherry Ames books!! Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I want to reread the Honey Bunch series. every time we went shopping my sister and I would always go to Kresges and purchase the latest edition.
    Marion

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