Musician, writer, artist, gardener, Jane-of-all-trades.
Which nine books, stories, or series were important to you as a child (say 10 or under). Favorites, touchstones, things you can’t really imagine childhood without — the stories you assume everyone read?
1. Bread and Jam for Francis (Russel Hoban). Reading this as an adult in front of my father revealed things about the lengths to which parents to entertain themselves while reading the same story for the nth time)
2. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel (Virginia Lee Burton). Four corners, neat and square!
3. Cherries and Cherry Pits (Vera B Williams). Eating cherries and spitting out the pits!
4. Various things with trains. This is a cop-out answer, but there are at least two of those little gold-spined cheapo picture books I wanted over and over and over, and they both involved trains — and my parents still invoke them both. The key lines being “Always stop for red flags waving” and “I’ve lost, I’ve lost, I’ve lost my red caboose!”
5. Winnie the Pooh (Milne). My grandfather read it to me when I was quite small, and for some reason the word ‘bother’ on the printed page and the word ‘bother’ spoken didn’t compute as the same thing, so he read Pooh as saying “Oh boe-ther,” which pronunciation has become a family joke ever since.
6. The Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling). Bagheera was the fun one in the book; Disney totally swapped him and Balloo. Also my edition had information sidebars about all the animals and architecture and vocabulary, and it was awesome. I wanted to be a black panther when I grew up for years).
7. Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Salmon Rushdie). My parents totally told me I was going to be assassinated for reading Rushdie. After they gave me the book. When I was ten.
It’s one of the first books I read aloud to my boyfriend (neither of us has been assassinated).
8. The Just So Stories (Kipling again). I particularly loved the audio version of “How the Leopard Got His Spots”, but tonight dad pointed out that the audio version of “How the Elephant Got His Trunk” was read by Jack Nicholson.
9. The Hobbit. The first book to scare the pants off me when I read it late at night.
BTW, it’s nine because it would make base-10 sense to do 10 but kids never want to eat the last of their vegetables so NYAAAAAH.