I clean my shelves regularly, hoping I can find a few more books to let go of and be able to free up some space. That hardly ever happens. But there is one shelf that I never even bother to look at, because it’s made up of books I read a long time ago, that for one reason or another, have an emotional attachment imprinted in them. Regardless of whether I thought they were the bees-knees or more boring than listening to someone snore, these books are with me for the long-haul, because they represent a point in my life, and one that I remember clearly, probably because of that book. So, here are five books that I read at least five years ago that live on this illustrious shelf!
I have one memory of reading this book when I was a teenager, in the tub, where I would (annoyingly) spend hours with whatever book I was reading. I would haul my CD player and my bedside lamp into the bathroom, fill up the tub with warm water and bubbles and read until my skin had pruned twice-over (is that possible?). I loved this book at the time. The story of a young, innocent girl, bright with dreams of becoming an actress who moves to New York and falls into the wrong crowd. Years later, after the death of her best friend (and the one who turned this good girl, bad) our narrator must come to terms with the life she lost and the dreams she gave up. I doubt reading this again now would provide me with similar feelings, but as a teen, I found this absolute amazing.
2. At a Loss For Words by Diane Schoemperlen.
I bought this book during my first ever trip to Montreal when I was going to look at my future university. I had no idea who the author was, but loved the concept of a love that got a second chance. Sadly, this book was NOT a love story as much as it was a break-up story. It tells the tale of a young couple who have a rather abrupt end, meeting again when they are both much much older and trying to rekindle their love. This is a tiny book, written in second person, but there is a paragraph in it that I love so much (and have read so many times) that I can almost recite it by heart.
3. Step On a Crack by James Patterson.
I don’t really read authors like James Patterson, Linwood Barclay or Nora Roberts; authors who repeatedly produce books that keep fans loyal for decades. I have nothing against them, but have just never really dipped into authors with an empire to their name. But, when someone tells me I MUST read something, I usually will …which was how I ended up reading Step On a Crack faster than anyone would have expected from me. I worked at a bank as a teen, mostly doing extended hours on Thursday and Friday nights with a lovely woman named Anne. She is a very old friend of my mother’s (though quite a bit older) who has known me since I was a baby, but whom I knew very little about. When I began to work with her, we quickly realized just how much the other loved to read, and I went home with this hostage-situation novel. It was great! The chapters were so short and choppy that I could find no adequate place to put the book down, and read it in two days. Anne let me keep the book, and for some reason, I quite love that little mass market copy and think of her whenever I see it.
4. Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft by Mindy Klasky.
I really disliked this book. I hate saying it, but I did. However, I remember the night I bought it like it were yesterday. I used to go into the local Chapters weekly to pick up a new read, and browse around. One night, I went in specifically looking for something thematic to read for Halloween. To this day, I love to read something with a touch of the Halloween feel during the fall! And when I was a youngin’, this looked like it fit the bill perfectly. It was orange (oh yes, it was that simple) and it had a girl dressed as a witch on the cover. I was sold. I also bought John Mayer’s most recent CD which sat right near the cash, and went home to devour the book with Mayer lulling me into a serene state in the background. Even then, I knew this book was horrible (and I wasn’t too hard to please) but I still can’t shake that feeling of being a care-free teen reading alone in my childhood room late into the cool autumn nights.
5. American Star by Jackie Collins.
Once upon a time, before I knew that Jackie Collins was the queen of raunchy sex (and before it was cool to acknowledge that), my high school friend Nat (not Browsing Bookshelves, Nat, another one!) used to take random books off her mom’s shelf, read them, and pass them around. She read American Star and immediately brought it to school for me to read. I was transfixed. A few weeks later, on a trip up north, my childhood best friend and I found a used copy in an old bookstore somewhere in Muskoka. She bought it and read it unbelievably quickly. I have a video on my old laptop of her reading it, sprawled out on our cottage bed, reading allowed the lonely passages of star-crossed lovers. Upon more recent reflection, it is easy to tell that this book was full of uber disturbing stuff, but at the time, I either didn’t understand it fully, or didn’t let it affect me that way it would if I were to read it now. All my friends and I cared about was that it was the story of two teenagers who fell in love, had a major miscommunication, and ended up being famous celebrities in Hollywood at the same time, continuously bumping into each other and secretly always longing for the other. It was too much for our hormonal selves to handle. This book has it’s own universe in my opinion. One I will never traverse again because the memories of my first trip are too fun and teen-angsty to ruin!
Tell me about some old books you have great memories of :).