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Monday, July 4, 2016

First Book Loves (Question of the Month)


         Voting is still open for my current Battle of the Bands post.  If you haven't voted yet please visit this post.


     The Question of the Month is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino from A Life Examined. The first Monday of each month I'll be answering a question posed by Michael prior to event day. Click on the link to his blog for more participants. 




Question of the Month

“What was the first book (or book series) you really fell in love with?”

         If I were to include coloring books and the Little Golden Book series then those would be the obvious choices.   Those do not seem to be legitimate book choices for a question like the one posed for this month.  What kids don't like coloring books?    I'm not sure if the Little Golden Book series is formatted in the same was as it was when I was a kid in the 1950's, but the stories were for the most part timeless.   Too basic and innocent for today's kids?  I can't say for sure, but I spent many hours of my early life looking at the Little Golden Books that I had in my collection.

         But let's get book serious here.  The first book of real substance that I fell in love with was the King James Version of the Holy Bible.  I'd grown up fascinated with my father's giant sized Bible.  He would sometimes read from it or quote from it.  Sometimes he sounded like a preacher when he'd recite Biblical passages.

          I received my own personal copy of the King James Bible in 1958 when I was seven years old.  This Bible was given to me by Frank Van Valen,  the pastor at the church we attended at the time.  On a blank page near the front of the book he inscribed, "This book will not keep you from this book, but sin will keep you from this book."  I still have this copy of the Bible.  The cover is coming off, but the book is in remarkably good condition considering the wear and tear it has undergone.

          Now, if we are thinking about secular books then I'll go with two series that were published by the same company and in a sense went hand in hand.  The Tom Swift, Jr. books was a series of science fiction novels and the Hardy Boys series were mysteries.  I had complete sets of both at the time I stopped collecting them, though I think more were published after that.  Those collections were my pride and joy sitting on a bookshelf in my bedroom for many years.  I've gotten rid of most of that collection over the years, but I've managed to hang onto a few of each.   In recent years I've even actually reread some of those books and they weren't half bad even now reading them as an adult.  I guess that's one reason why I loved them so.  
          
          Do you remember Little Golden Books?    What was the first book that you ever received where someone inscribed a message to you?   There were many books series like the ones I mentioned:  Was there a set that you owned as a child?





59 comments:

  1. I had many, if not most, of the Hardy boys series too. I think they are in the closet still at mom's.

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    1. Pat, if my mother were still alive and still living in her old house many of my books would probably be still there. In having to sell the house I found the books that hadn't yet been gotten rid of and brought them to my house.

      Lee

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  2. I had a few Little Golden Books and a massive bible. I hear about the Hardy Boys a lot, but know nothing about them.

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    1. Michael, I guess the Hardy Boys were primarily an American phenomena. There was even a TV series.

      Lee

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  3. I know this was hardly the point of this exercise, but I really like the fact that your pastor's last name was Van Halen.

    We didn't have anything nearly so colorful at the mosque when I was gorwing up. Imam Bon Jovi was pretty bland.

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    1. Nasreen, loved the sense of humor, but the name was "Valen" with a "V". Inman Bon Jovi maybe was bland because he was "Always" "Living on a prayer" in trying to "Keep the Faith" and not "Living in Sin". I could keep going with Bon Jovi song titles I guess. It never occurred to me how religious Bon Jovi was.

      Lee

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  4. I still have my first Bible. I got it when I was 16, right after I was saved.

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    1. L.Diane, First Bibles are something to treasure as are all Bibles.

      Lee

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  5. I had a ton of hand me down little golden books. The first set that was mine, though, was an early Time-life science set.

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    1. CW, some of those Little Golden Books might be worth something, though few probably survive childhood without considerable wear and tear. My brothers and sisters got sets that were probably like the Time-Life set that you had. They got more books than I got because I guess my parents had more money by the time they came around..

      Lee

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  6. Books are such a delight! Such a cool question.

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    1. Sheena-kay, I've always treasured my books.

      Lee

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  7. I had a bunch of Little Golden books as a kid and loved the illustrations. Luckily my parents kept many of my books and I read them to my girls when they were little as well as some new versions of the classics. One favorite features Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd building a carrot making machine out of trash, but it blows up.

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    1. Tamara, I used to like to just look at the pictures in those Golden Books. They were probably better than the actually word content.

      Lee

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  8. I certainly remember the Little Golden books though I don't recall having any. I think the first book I ever got that was inscribed to me, way back in 1956, was a large and lovely version of Stories That Never Grow Old. I still have it.

    I have a family Bible that was willed to my father at the death-bed request of his grandmother. It was a teaching Bible and has a concordance with it which has proved valuable more times than can be counted.

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    1. Bish, I don't see those big old family type Bibles like I used to see in peoples' homes. Maybe a lot of families don't even have Bibles anymore.

      Lee

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  9. Coloring books are books...you just don't read them. They're a legit answer to me. :)

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    1. Chrys, if coloring books count then those would be some of my favorites too.

      Lee

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  10. Oh yes, Little Golden Books were among the wall-to-wall books; including a handful of bibles, at our house. To this day, I still love Nancy Drew books. I enjoyed Huck Finn and westerns too ;-) The Secret Garden was a favorite, but the one that stands out is The Velvet Room; it positively shaped my own writing destiny!

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    1. Diedre, I didn't read Huck Finn until college and probably appreciated it more then anyway.

      Lee

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  11. in 5th grade, we started reading a collection of short stories (and "condensed" books) on the classic Movie Monsters.... That is where we first read the English translation of Phantom of the Opera...
    and we had to read Tom Sawyer (and later Huck Finn) back in 4th grade... if not for that , we might have actually enjoyed these tales by Mark Twain.

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    1. The name of the book was "the Ghouls".

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    2. Dr Theda, We read E A Poe in school but not much else scary. Though I read plenty of the scary stuff on my own.

      Lee

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    3. In my late teens, we got a copy of "Grendel" -by John Gardener... Still have that copy near... My Favorite Book.
      Hope that you and yours had a great 4th...

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    4. Grendel came out when I was in college and I bought a copy when it came out in paperback. I read it for one of my English Lit classes. I also liked this book a great deal. A unique take on the old tale.

      Lee

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  12. I might have told you this: I got an e-book with all the Tom Swift novels in it a couple of years ago for 99 cents.

    My aunt tells the story of the time someone asked me what my name was, and I replied "Dinky Duck!" I think that was a Little Golden Book.

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    1. John, good thing the "Dinky Duck" name didn't stick into adulthood. That could have been embarrassing.

      Lee

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  13. This was wonderful to read Lee as it gave us another insight of you....when we thought we knew all about you.Excellent read.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, I guess I've still got a lot of personal info to reveal. I'll let it drip out like a slow leaking faucet.

      Lee

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  14. I owned a lot of The Babysitters' Club books (including Super-Specials), though I never had all of them. I stopped reading somewhere in the 30s, and they eventually grew to over 100 and a lot of spin-offs. I also had almost all of the Little House books, and read all of them, even ephemera. I remember having some Little Golden Books.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, I guess the Babysitters' Club was after my childhood though I'm not sure they would have appealed to me based on the name.

      Lee

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  15. My children enjoyed the Golden Books, which was wonderful since they were cheap.
    My favorite series were "Little Women..." My grandmother Inscribed it for me.
    My favorite book is now the Bible.

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    1. Susan K., The Golden Book series was cheap back in my childhood, but I'm not sure about now.

      The Bible has so much to offer.

      Lee

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  16. How interesting. I think I could read the answers to this one question without even knowing who answered and deduce his/her gender, age, and social affiliations from the book selection alone. Truly, books we read define us.

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    1. Olga, I think you are right about guessing and getting it right most of the time.

      Lee

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  17. I never had the golden books but my favourite were the Grimm Fairy Tales and they still are. I had no issues with how the wicked step mothers were dealt with because, in my mind, they were evil. I also dislike how much the Grimm Fairy Tales have been censored because we don't give kids enough credit. We forget they think in black and white and are not thinking about the actually torture. Cinderella's step sisters deserved to have their eyes plucked out in my book and Snow White's step mother deserved to wear those hot iron shoes. I was not thinking about the actual medieval times obviously. On a lighter note I love Agatha Christie and Little House on the Prairie. The first book where someone wrote something in it was my Grimm Fairy Tales from my mom and I still have that book.

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    1. Birgit, I guess we can thank entities like Disney for cleaning up the fairy tales and folklore.

      Lee

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  18. I loved the Little Golden Books! I still have a couple of them. The first series I remember were the four 'Happy Little Family' books, set in turn of the century Kentucky. That would've been in the early 70s. My next series was the Little House set that I got for my 10th birthday in 1974. Followed by the Chronicles of Narnia in junior high and the Earthsea Trilogy and Chronicles of Prydain.

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    1. JoJo, not familiar with the "Happy Little Family" series, but the others I've heard of.

      Lee

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  19. I HAVE TO LAUGH because the first copy of The Holy Bible I ever received was on Christmas Eve. It was a "Children's Bible" given to me by my Aunt, and I literally cried because it wasn't a toy. That was circa 1967.

    HA!-HA!

    What makes it so funny is that today, my copy of THE HOLY BIBLE (the George M. Lamsa translation from ancient Aramaic manuscripts) is unquestionably my possession that I value above all others!

    What a difference about 28 years made!!!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. STMcC, I guess my Bible was treasured more because it was a present given in a time that was not Christmas and I had no expectations of what I should have received. Christmas was mostly about toys for me too although after I got the Bible my father did get me an assortment of Bible commentaries and art books for that following Christmas. I still have the art book, but I'm not sure what happened to the other commentary books. I think they are somewhere in my house, but I'm not sure. I'd love to find them.

      Lee

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  20. I used to read the Hardy Boys series non stop during school days, along with Nancy Drew series. After that I moved to Agatha Christie. Now I love Patricia Campell, James Patterson and Sue Grafton novels :)

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    1. Rajlakshmi, Agatha Christie was on my reading list for a while when I got especially interested in mysteries in junior high school. Haven't read any of those modern authors though I'm well aware of them.

      Lee

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  21. Your Bible is the most treasured - now that is cool.

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    1. Alex, the Bible has influence so many in Western culture and throughout the world. It seems like new insights can always be found in it.

      Lee

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  22. I remember being fascinated with the encyclopedias, you know, the ones with the transparency layover of muscles and stuff.

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    1. HR, I used to love our supermarket bought Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia even if the set didn't have those fancy overlay pages, but I would have loved to have had the one you're talking about. I still like our encyclopedia sets that my wife and I have in our house though researching through them has been replaced by Google for the most part.

      Lee

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  23. I loved the little golden books.
    As sad as it sounds, I've met and worked with quite a few kids who don't like to color.
    I've have several Bibles inscribed to me, but my Teen Study Bible is the one I enjoyed most. I still have it. My parents also made me one of those storybooks where they put your name in as one of the characters; that was also inscribed to me.

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    1. Toinette, can't believe some kids don't like to color. Maybe it's too old-fashioned.

      The personalized Bibles are such meaningful gifts.

      Lee

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  24. For me it was the Nancy Drew books. I loved them so much. I still have my Little Golden Book of Thumbelina!!!

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    1. Kathleen, my sister had the Nancy Drew collection I guess to match my Hardy Boys collection. I don't know whatever happened to my Little Golden Books, but they are long long gone.

      Lee

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  25. Hi, Lee!

    I certainly do remember the Little Golden Books. I read many of them and also loved The Hardy Boys series. My parents bought me a set of encyclopedias when was a boy and I read every volume cover to cover. At the conclusion of a week long Tony Robbins style motivational seminar at which I served as a trainer, a participant gave me a book outlining the Tenets of Buddhism. Inside the cover he wrote a note of thanks for my assistance in helping him transform the quality of his life. I will always remember that moment.

    Thanks, Lee!

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    1. Shady, I'm glad to hear that I wasn't the only one who read encyclopedias. They have a lot of interesting information.

      Lee

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  26. "The City Under the Back Steps"! About a brother and sister who are shrunken down to ant size and live with a colony of ants. It was absolutely fascinating to me. When I grew up, I found a copy at a library, and noting that it hadn't been checked out in ages, asked if I could purchase it. They gladly gave it to keep! I read it to scores of first graders while I was a teacher. It described the life of ants in great detail.
    My other favorite was a series - Trixie Beldon mysteries. I don't believe I ever had a book inscribed to me before adulthood. Most of my books were used and sold at my parents antique shop.

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    1. Donna, that book about ant-sized people sounds like my cup of tea. I might like that one now.

      Lee

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  27. This is either a tough one or an easy one. I could say the series of Dr Seuss books but I'm not sure those count. I could say tons of comic books but once again I'm not sure those count either.

    If neither of those count then the first book of consequence, one that put me on a path that none of my friends either supported or understood back then, is the biography of Frederick Douglass. Strange circumstances across the board because back then I was living in northern Maine, I really didn't know anyone as I hadn't lived there that long and we had to order books to read, which would get mailed to the school (I hadn't learned we had a library on the base, as I was a military kid, until almost a year & a half later). It wasn't an overly long book but it sparked an interest in me at 11 years old in black history that was nonexistent in any books that were in school, an interest that I still have to this day.

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    1. Mitch, sure Dr Seuss and comic books should both count. I had very few comic books when I was a kid but I loved reading them when I had a chance. I've always enjoyed biographies and real life stories.

      Lee

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  28. There were so many! And, yes, I loved Little Golden Books. The first series I fell in love with was Trixie Belden. I wanted to be a detective, like her, and I can remember my sister and I anticipating the next new book to add to our collection. That series has fallen by the wayside, while Nancy Drew (which I liked, but didn't love) remains in print. I honestly cannot remember my first book inscription, but I do have a clear memory of my grandmother reading Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales to me in the hospital after a tonsillectomy, then an ear infection. I wonder what happened to that book?

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    1. OJ, I'd forgotten about the Trixie Belden series. My sister had one of those books while I had one Ellery Queen, Jr. mystery but never got another. I'd like to know where some of the books of my childhood went as well.

      Lee

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Lee