Inspired by Louise's recent call for "the book that made you love reading," and an email from a certain favorite author of mine (much, much more on this later), I've been drifting in and out of a nostalgia haze and wishing I was home in my parents' library with all the books from my childhood.
Jane pins my emotional age at eleven and she's not far off. I remember being eleven and already having very clear ideas about love and friendship and how beautiful things can hurt sometimes — ideas imparted upon me by bittersweet, unhappy endings and the reckless bravery of the characters in the books I read myself to sleep with at night.
These twenty(ish) books are the books that have made me me. More than any other experiences, these books forged the strange and serious tween that I used to be (that I still am, in some ways, to be honest). As an adult, I've traveled back to all of these books — sometimes rereading the well-worn copies (first editions, biatch!) I bought at book fairs with allowance money, sometimes listening to audiobook recordings when I can't fall asleep — frequently throughout the years. They are just as bright and true now as they were when I was eleven or nine or seventeen or twenty-one. . Years — near decades in some cases — after first reading these books, I can still recite certain paragraphs.
I can still remember what each of these books taught me about life and living.