Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (as always, hosted by the inimitable Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl) is a prompt that I really enjoyed puzzling and turning over in my head – ten books that you link to certain sensory memories, or that are just linked to things you remember. I really enjoy this prompt because it’s not going to just have the same 50 popular books that everyone else’s list does – it’s probably going to have some interesting, unique books too. How cool is that?
1. All That Glitters, a terrible Sabrina the Teenage Witch novelization
I was an only child until I was nearly 10 years old, at which point my baby sister was born. I remember being in the hospital after her birth, overcome with emotion and all sorts of “10 year old in 1999” feelings – jealousy, excitement, you name it. My dad went down to the gift shop of the hospital and came back up with this book – the glitter on the borders sparkled, of course. I had owned and loved a few of these, but this one was special. I’ll always remember watching the edges catch the light in that hospital room.
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I was on a car ride to my ex boyfriend’s family’s lakehouse when I finished this book. I remember getting so worked up over the last ~50 pages that I couldn’t even form words. When I read the last line and shut the cover, I turned around and pitched the book into the backseat. He asked no questions.
3. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Another ex, another drive. I believe this was right after we got engaged (lol!) and were driving home from our anniversary trip to the Georgia mountains. I had bought books 2 and 3 at the bookstore we’d found near an outlet mall – Mockingjay had just come out – and I was so happy, watching my ring glimmer in the sunlight streaming through the car window. Then he turned out to be a colossal asswagon. Oops.
4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
My grandmother engineered a Scrabble tournament between herself, my two cousins, and me when there were just two HP books released into the world. Naturally nobody lost, and she had bought two copies of Chamber of Secrets and one of Sorcerer’s Stone, accidentally thinking SS was the first book (my cousins were brothers). I read Chamber of Secrets first, therefore, and had to figure out what the heck was going on from an in media res standpoint. I remember being curled up under the heated blanket in my grandma’s narrow single-sized bed, just agog at this world. I’ll never forget that.
5. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
As I mentioned above, my sister is 10 years younger than I am. I have been a book nerd since the day I was born, and she has never much cared for reading. However, she loved for me to read Goodnight Moon to her. So much so that I, in fact, have the entire narrative still memorized from my endlessly repeating it, over and over, her little head balanced on my arm. In the great green room, there was a telephone …
6. King Bidgood’s In the Bathtub by Audrey Wood
My maternal grandmother – the same one of the Harry Potter debacle – loved to read aloud to me and my cousins. She kept a large collection of story books, but the one I’ll always remember most fondly is this one: the story of a king who is just having too much fun in the tub, and makes his court come do their business with him in the water instead of out in the castle. Always a fond memory.
7. Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood
Speaking of my Gran’s book collection, this is one she had that was beautifully illustrated, and terrifying. A witch comes to this house where there are 7 kids who’ve been left under strict instructions not to answer the door. So naturally, the kids do. The witch turns them into food items and whisks them away to her scary witch hut. The mother figures out what happened and goes to the witch’s hut in the woods, pretending to be a beggar. She winds up having to pretend to amputate her legs to get the witch to take enough pity on her to let her in the house. Somehow the mom uses her Mom Logic to figure out which kid is which food item, and then they kill the witch somehow and go home. I have no idea what the moral of this one is, don’t answer the door to witches? Anyway, it’s terrifying.
8. Matilda by Roald Dahl
When I got chicken pox, I was very young – probably 6 or 7. But I was reading full-on chapter books at that stage, however old I was. My aunt dropped off a care package with my mom, and in it was a copy of Matilda. I remember laying in my bed, transfixed, and absolutely in love with this story. Matilda still remains one of my most beloved and favorite stories to this day, and is on the top of my baby names list for future children that may or may not ever exist.
9. The Cay by Theodore Taylor
Our fifth grade teacher, Mrs. McDermott, would read to us after lunch every day. We always protested because we were too grown for that, but deep down we all enjoyed it. I don’t remember a whole lot about this book, but I remember exactly where I was standing, washing the red popsicle stain off my fingertips at the sink in the back of the classroom, when we finished it. A hushed silence crept over the room, and someone in the front asked in a quiet voice, “Can we read the next one?”
10. Holes by Louis Sachar
No wonder my love of reading has been lifelong, I’ve had so many teachers who read to us. My sixth grade Gifted teacher, Mrs. Medina, was not a nice person. She was rough around the edges, old, close to retirement, and about as grumpy as you’d expect a woman who is those three things and constantly surrounded by 12 year old children to be. But every day after lunch, we’d all crowd into the art classroom, sit on the metal stools with tennis balls on their feet, put our heads on top of our folded arms on the table tops, and listen to her read us this cool new release book she’d heard about: Holes. This book has all of the fame it deserves these days, but at the time it was just a cool book fair find. I’ll never forget gasping with my classmates when we learned why they were digging those holes, either. What a magnificent book.
Are any of these books sensory memories for you? What are some of your “sense” books? I’d love to hear about it!