Childhood favorites

I found this at Heather's site, The Library Ladder. (It was written by Kate, of Kate's Book Blog.)

1. How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you?
Family legend has it that I read at age 3, and that no one taught me. Family legend also has it that my mother read at age 2 1/2, and she could read upside down, from a newspaper. Family dynamic has it that everyone in the family is a genius, but some have more extravagant ways of proving it.

2. Did you own any books as a child? If so, what’s the first one that you remember owning? If not, do you recall any of the first titles that you borrowed from the library?
I owned many books. The first one I remember was a Little Golden Book about ballet. All of the little girls in the book were tiny blonde goddesses. I studied ballet for years, but I never achieved goddesshood, or blondeness. Fortunately, I learned the difference between fiction and non-fiction very early. As for books I borrowed from the library, The Little Lame Prince, which I borrowed so many times from the school library that I still remember where it was shelved!

3. What’s the first book that you bought with your own money?
Jane Eyre. My parents took me to the big Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue in New York because my mother wanted to buy art books. I wandered over to the fiction section and happened upon Jane Eyre. Reader, I bought it.
I should also mention another book I bought when I was very young: Franny and Zooey. I bought it in the local 5 & 10 cent store. The clerk was reluctant to sell it to me because she thought it was pornographic, and that I was too young to read it. I'm sure she hadn't read it. I've read it so many times since then that I can recite passages from it. I've never outgrown the notion that I am Franny's astral twin, nor the gratitude that my mother never tried to put me on a show like "It's a Wise Child." (How did she miss that one?)

4. Were you a re-reader as a child?
Yes. I still am a re-reader. As a child, I re-read Little Women (a gift from my paternal grandfather) and Jane Eyre (see above).

5. What’s the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it?
Again, Jane Eyre. I identified with her loneliness and the way she had to repress her passions.

6. Are there children’s books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones?
Andersen's fairy tales, especially "The Emperor's Nightingale,""The Snow Queen" and "The Little Mermaid." I wasn't particularly interested in fairy tales when I was a child, but I became obsessed with them as I got older. Now, I see many things in everyday life as expressions of myth and tale and archetype, and I long to learn more.

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