Memories of books..

Do you remember books? Books that you read a long time ago? Not just the stories, you know, but things like what they looked like, how you got to read them…

I remember some.. Like the first book I owned.. The book, which in a way changed my life. You see, until Class 4, I was quite a mediocre student. My mum used to help me with school work at home, but I never did very well. Then in Class 4, my brother had some medical complications and mum and dad were busy, I started studying all by myself, and at the end of the year, I got an award – for exceptional improvement.. I think from then on, I was consistently good at studies. I think studying independently helped. Anyway, the award was a book, an Enid Blyton book, of which, funnily enough, I can’t remember the name! I used to remember it until very recently – old age, I suppose! Do any of you remember which book had 4 children, one of them named Nora? It was a series, but I can’t remember anything beyond this… and the fact that I loved it( which was true about every Enid Blyton I ever read).

Today, I had been reading Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Lives of Strangers. The book is alright, but it kind of transported me to another era, because of the colour of the pages. It had that old book feel(it was probably an older copy), if you know what I mean. All my old books back at home, used to have that feel. Especially when they were stored in a trunk. That yellow colour, which also gives the feeling that the paper will crumple under your fingers, if you are not careful.

Long back, when I was still in school, I used to raid my granddad’s book shelf. One of the books I remember from those days was A J Cronin’s Citadel. I still remember particularly poignant parts of that book. I have re-read it many, many times, but I guess reading a book that my grandfather enjoyed gave me just as much pleasure, I think, as the story itself. Once I had worked through my grandfather’s collection, his brother, my great Uncle got me some of his – his collection of PG Wodehouse. What fun! Those were the best holidays ever! I would read his collection of Reader’s Digests too. It used to amaze me how the magazines which were so very thick in the 50’s and the 60’s became thinner and thinner by the 80s! My grandfather had 4 decades or so, of Readers Digests, and I read them all πŸ™‚

As I read through the yellowed pages of my book today, I couldn’t help be a little sad, that daughter might miss that entirely. What if only electronic readers remain by the time she gets older? Heartbreaking, isn’t it? No more thumbing through books that had been in the family for years, no more reading books that one’s grandparents might have enjoyed.. Instead brand new, soulless books on the reader. Β It just makes me so sad..

Edited to add: I figured out which book it was – The Secret of the Moon Castle. How could I forget that, I have no idea πŸ™‚ But at least ‘Googling’, reminded me πŸ™‚

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28 thoughts on “Memories of books..

  1. Along with being a OUTSTANDING student ( Standing out) I also specialised in keeping my class room tidy.. Yes by throwing the books out of the rooom πŸ˜›

    LOL! That is a new one πŸ™‚

    He he hei guess I am a bad influence on the little one πŸ™‚

    Thankfully, she loves reading just as much as I do πŸ™‚ So I am not too worried πŸ™‚

    On serious note yesssss books you know I have all the books since 5th class upto my 12tg yesssssss..
    Merchant of venice play and hamlet.. Panorama.. Maths and the bog fat geography book.. History yeah hard to beleive but I use to bring back all the books home… After exams from hostel…

    Wow! You kept all of them? We gave away ours – mainly to people who could not afford to buy them first hand..

    • Well I kept mine , I thought one day i will read them when i am actually interested πŸ™‚ moreover one can easily read the books once you are not in school . I remmeber the panorama was a collection of english literature poems, like keats-wordsworth and so on , in class hardly read but later on i read almost all of the poems πŸ™‚

      • So you are an ICSE student too πŸ™‚ I loved the poems in Panorama and the plays and treasury of short stories! I used to read them again and again – until the teacher taught us the story/poem/play – once it had been taught – the charm would wear off for me 😦

        • haanji i am a icse student πŸ™‚ u remmeber the poem pass of arthur.. our school principle Very strict, only 5ft 1 or 2 inch he did that with us and he would come dressed in that traditinal black teachers gown.. and do all the acting Sir bedievere, sir lochinvar and all that .. I can still visualise πŸ™‚

  2. I loved this post Smitha..took me back to the days when I used to devour Enid Blytons…have you read naughiest girl in school…I am a big fan of that…I often used to plead to Amma to send me to such a school where I could do all the fun things and yet be responsible..

    see the very mention got me rambling!

    Thanks for this post πŸ™‚ Muah

  3. You are talking abt the Secret island series – Jack, peggy, nora and mike. I loved those too!!! My other favourite was the other series with Jack, Dinah, Philip, whatshername and Kiki the Parrot – The island of adventure, sea of adventure etc etc.

  4. Hmmmm…couple of days back a fren was suggesting me to buy a E-Reader and I was apalled. Not that I have not been tempted to buy one but the fact is that the magic of real book, yellow delicate papers, the musty smell..can only come from a book πŸ™‚ And I am sure these things are irreplacable!!

    Enid Blyton is a personal fav πŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: Memories of books.. | Any Excuse to Write… | palace-books.com

  6. The title of your post had me hooked… what memories you brought back. Thanks. Enid Blyton was/is a favourite. St Claire, Malory Towers, Farway Tree.. all total treasures. Then there was Louisa Alcott… Little Women, Little Men.. how I loved those. And there used to be these inexpensive Russian books Ivan and The Firebird kind of stuff… delicious reads. Can’t wait for the kids to grow up. I so so hope they enjoy reading.

    • Oh yes! All those! Those Russion books – wonder why we don’t get to see them any more.. I had a cute book with flaps and cottages that would stand uo πŸ™‚ We used to have an annual book fair (every November), and me and Dad used to go there and come back with loads of books πŸ™‚ Mainly Russian ones. There you got me started πŸ™‚

  7. my first book was Enid Blyton’s too [Noddy] πŸ™‚

    πŸ™‚ My first book wasnot an Enid Blyton – it was a little book called ‘Teeny Tiny Giraffe, or something. We all had such similar childhoods na? Guess it comes from being the same generation of kids πŸ™‚

    Ditto on g-dad’s collection of reader’s digest and he still gets it πŸ™‚ I wonder too what happened to the thickness of the magazine, in fact these days I don’t see RD in any household…breaks my heart! May be because we are so used to seeing the magazine arrive at the doorsteps monthly since a long long time?

    Same pinch! I used to see them in some bookstalls – but they were so thin, that I never felt like buying one 😦

    Oh Smithu you took me to my childhood,sigh books that we could feel !!!

    πŸ™‚ I am glad πŸ™‚

  8. Trip down memory lane.. funnily enough, i was never into reading books. I just found it a waste of time. I’d rather be playing outside or studying the ‘school books’ the ones thaT mattered.

    I only used to read books that did not matter πŸ˜‰

    I was so naive. I think i was also in 4th or 5th grade, when i laid my hands on Archies. That was the first ‘real book’ i read outside of school stuff!!!

    I used to read Archies and comics only in the library – I would find it a waste of time to take home books I would read in 10 mins 😦 So I would find the thickest, unabridged version – especially of the classics to borrow from the library – so that it would last me a few days πŸ™‚

    And then I got the next, then the next, then enid blytons, then nancy drews, then agatha cristie, jefferey archers etc etc.. There was no looking back.
    I still am all for a book in hand versus the e-book! I hope the charm stays for our next generation. I really do hope!

    I hope so too. Daughter loves books just like me, so I do do hope that she continues reading the way she does now.

  9. I love books. I remember getting books as prizes throughout school. I was a very bright student :). I cherished those books. I must have read each one many times but had to give them away because could not carry all of them with me to the US :(. Even now the books I own, I read them many times over. I guess ebooks will coexist with the normal ones though I cannot rule out the convenience of carrying so many books in a small device, one cannot rule out the charm of thumbing through books.

    • I do hope the ebooks and real books co-exist.. I agree that e-readers do have loads of advantages -but old fashioned me, still loves those real books πŸ™‚

  10. Oh yes I do remember books from my childhood. Have such fond memories of those days! I remember looking forward to those award presentations at school where I would get books as awards, how eager I would be to just go back stage and rip apart the wrapper to see what book I had got :).

    And I so understand what you mean by ‘remembering the look of books’. I have owned so many different versions of early childhood books like Little Red Riding hood, Three Little Pigs, etc. and have read them a zillion times over the years, yet its the cover and look of the first time I got to read them that stands out in my memory even today. I so know what you mean, Smits!

    As for the growing emergence of e-reading and the diminishing presence of paper-books in our kids’ lives with each passing day, its a concern that I too have and feel helpless even at times 😦

  11. I think ours will be the last generation to enjoy the joy the reading newspaper in the morning with a hot cuppa. Most of the kids I know do not care for that form of media anymore….they get easy access to news on the net, or atleast the television, which is faster, easier and pleasing to the eye.

    It’s the same with books. The feel of paper of books, the smell of fresh new books, the feel of turning the pages…..it all belongs to a different era now.

  12. Indeed fading of flipping through the pages of the book with a tongue-licked thumb may be missed by the generation who has grown up reading the printed material.
    But, more to worry is the reading as a hobby and habit itself fading away, with so many other competing styles.

  13. That is one beautiful post. Took me straight back to my school days. πŸ™‚

    I don’t remember the first book I ever read, but I do remember a lot of the books I read in my childhood. Enid Blyton was a favourite author. πŸ™‚

    • I remember a few books-like tje first one I owned, and a few special ones:) Enid Buttons were my favourites too- until class5. Then my tastes changed to Nancy drews, etc. I also went a major classics phase:)

  14. ahh the smell of new books, the pleasure of curling up with a good book and hiding a comics inside a textbook and reading πŸ˜€ Kindle etc cant give all that!

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