10: A book that reminds you of home.
Are you kidding me? What a question to ask someone who is a bookish adult who used to be a bookish child. I measure my life in the books that I have read and loved. Someday, when I've completely grown up and retired, I plan to write a bookish memoir, for myself and maybe for my daughter who loves books with the same kind of passion that I do, to unpack all of these memories and thoughts and the meandering wonderment of what will someday be a half-century of constant reading.
So, where do I begin, right?
Well, for today, I'll start with Trixie Belden. While I loved Nancy Drew and Laura Ingalls and Anne of Green Gables, it is Trixie who was my elementary school soul-mate. I remember reading my first Trixie - The Secret of the Mansion - in the fifth grade as well as I remember my first kiss, by [name withheld to protect the innocent] on a snowmobile, all cold lips and bumping, awkward noses and frozen eyelashes, or having my breasts groped in the darkroom in 8th grade by [name withheld to protect the guilty], unwanted, aggressive, and humilating.
Trixie was a tomboy. She skied, and rode horses, and solved mysteries with her best friend Honey, and Di (the pretty one). Jim Frayne, Honey's adopted brother, was my book boyfriend before the phrase existed. I knew that he nominally belonged to Trixie, but he was mine.
When I was in law school, I went through a really rough time with a broken relationship. I spent the summer between my 1L and 2L years cocooned at home with my parents. My mother had found some old boxes of my books that she wanted me to sort through. So, I found Trixie again, at the exact moment that I needed her most. Re-reading those books, with their cracked spines, and their peeling covers with the glue chipping off, and brittle pages that broke in the corners where they had been dog-eared nearly a decade and a half earlier, made me believe that things would be all right. Suddenly, I was in the fifth grade again, my nose buried in a book, as carefree and happy as any incredibly lucky and reasonably well-adjusted eleven-year-old with an intact middle class family in 1977 would be. I can picture myself reading, on our prickly green couch in front of the woodburning fireplace, with my mother's navy bean soup simmering on the stove.
The first thing that I have ever done after moving into a new place is unpack my books. Before I organize my kitchen, fill my refrigerator, or sit down on the couch to watch television, if I don't have my books on my shelves, I can't settle myself. Books don't just remind me of home. For me, and for so many of you as well, I know, books are home.