Thursday, October 30, 2014

Blast from the Ancient Past

Thinking about that list of “earliest / oldest books I’ve read” I posted a few weeks ago a thought popped into my head:

What was the first non-children’s book I read?

Hmm.  Can I even remember that far back?

Fortunately, when it comes to books, I can.

I have extremely vivid memories of walking to school with my friends in the third grade, age 8 (yes, back then at age 8 we walked to school by ourselves, albeit in packs).  It was a warm spring day.  Tucked proudly under my arm with whatever paper-bag covered text book I happened to be carrying then was a fresh, brand new copy of

recently purchased from the Bookmobile. 

I remember this as if it happened last week.

I remember the book, the cover, the 16-page color insert of scenes from the movie (which had very little to do with the book – a major source of existential confusion for Young Me).  I remember it so, because I found it again in a used bookstore in New Hampshire on a rainy fall day eleven years ago.  Bought it and placed it on the shelf until the following June when I took it down and burned through it in one day.

For me, books are not just stories; each book itself is its own story.

But my memory is not that black-and-white.  I also have strong recollections of reading Pierre Boulle’s The Planet of the Apes right around the same time, at a large desk in the basement of my house.  But I put it at 95 percent that Logan’s Run was read before Apes.  And Christmas in fourth grade I got the Asimov five-pack, and discovered my father’s secret stash of SF books, and that changed everything.

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