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» Friday, January 07, 2005
1. What is the first book you remember reading?
Dick and Jane. I learned to read in school. My mom was told by a teacher or someone that it was "bad" (I don't know why) to teach a child to read before they went to school. (Perhaps because they would be bored during beginner reading classes. They were right; I learned to read very quickly and was often hideously bored during reading classes.)
I remember my first books, though. One was small paperback book about a little girl taking a bath and the soap kept falling out of her hands and sinking to the bottom of the tub. I don't remember the title; I always referred to it as the book about the "naughty soap." I kept asking my mother why she didn't buy Ivory Soap. I think I had a little paperback copy of "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel." I remember Mary Ann and also the story of Katy the snowplow, but I can't remember if I owned them or if they were read to me at school.
My other books were the Little Golden Book of "Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer" and two Whitman Tell-a-Tale books, "Lady," which was Lady and the Tramp and "Lassie's Brave Adventure," which puzzled me because I wasn't old enough to remember the original episodes and I wondered who "Jeff" and "Gramps" were. I vividly remember the drawings in this book, though, especially the one of the colt trapped on the big railroad trestle. I'd never seen a wooden trestle before.
My first chapter books were the inexpensive Whitman books that they sold in Newberry's and Woolworth's. I had all the Lassie books and also Black Beauty and Beautiful Joe and Fifty Famous Fairy Tales from when I was around seven or eight years old.
I also got a World Book Encyclopedia when I was seven.
2. What is your favorite book?
I hate this question. It's like asking Olivia Walton or Lillian Gilbreth which of her children is her favorite. I have lots of favorite books. Some of them are the Harry Potter books, Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, Gladys Taber's Stillmeadow books, John Verney's Callendar family books, the Lord Peter Wimsey books, just about anything Madeleine L'Engle writes (including her nonfiction)--and the same with Kate Seredy (especially The Open Gate), and Albert Payson Terhune (Lad: A Dog, etc.) and Mary O'Hara (My Friend Flicka, etc., although my favorite O'Hara is Wyoming Summer), plus Red Sky at Morning, Addie Pray, The Green Poodles, Roller Skates, Up the Down Staircase, The Edge of Day aka Cider With Rosie, Cheaper by the Dozen, Life is a Banquet, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Christmas Carol, Black Beauty, Beautiful Joe, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Understood Betsy, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and last but definitely not least, Mary Stewart's superb "Merlin trilogy" and my bound issues of St. Nicholas.
But that isn't all of them...
3. Who is your favorite author?
4. Pick up the nearest book (magazine or any available printed material will do). Turn to page 24 (or the closest to it). Go to the 7th line. What is it?
...reunion, no sentimental tears, no bitter intimations of neglect or..."
(From "A Preface to Dogs," The Dog Department, James Thurber.)
5. If you could be any character in literature, who would you be?
This is a hard one. I admire many characters, but some of them have had hard lives, like Anne Shirley. If I could stay ten years old forever, skating through Bryant Park, I suppose I would want to be Lucinda Wyman. But since we have to grow up sometime I suppose I would most like to be Cousin Ann in Understood Betsy. She's decisive, strong-minded, and physically strong as well.
(Okay, if I could get through it without the murder trial and being in jail, secretly I'd probably want to be Harriet Vane because it must have been fun writing mysteries and being married to Lord Peter...