Thursday, August 25, 2011

Because I'm just that behind.

So, at the beginning of every year I have the new 6th grade students fill out interest inventories, which I then annotate with comments and recommendations. This year we have about 260 new 6th graders, most of whom would be perfectly happy with nothing but J.K.Rowling, Rick Riordan, Suzanne Collins, Lemony Snicket and Erin Hunter. Seriously, I want Scholastic to handle MY publicity.

With annotating those and cross country practice, not to mention the sheer exhaustion of the first two weeks of school (have to remember that my feet DO stop feeling sore!), I am woefully behind on my reading. So I'm having Elder Daughter be a guest blogger!

My question to her was this: What is your favorite book? This is her answer:
My favorite? That's a hard question. I love Snowfall by Peyton, the Calling on Dragons series by Patricia C. Wrede, The Good Dog by Avi (one of my very favorite when I was in elementary school, I must have checked it out of our schools library at least twenty times in the three years I was there), Watership Down by Adams, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, Where the Red Fern Grows by Rawls and many, many others. I would have to say my favorite book I've read so far would have to be Snowfall.

My second question was: But what would you memorize? (Ala Fahrenheit 451)
That was an even tougher question. Snowfall, while it is a wonderful book, would one, take too long to memorize, and two, is not well known or loved by many of my peers. I could tell them I knew the whole book by heart and they would probably just look at me like I was crazy. My first thought would be to memorize Charlotte's Web. It's a classic book as far as I'm concerned, and a wonderful story. However, as my mother pointed out, many people know and love it, so there would be no lack of people to memorize it.

My thoughts then wandered to The Great Good Thing by Townley. The only problem with this being that it is not a stand-alone book, it is part of a series, and really, would I want to spend the rest of my life having to be around the people who memorized Into the Labyrinth and The Constellation of Sylvie? While these are both worthy books, there is no assurance that I would enjoy the people who memorized them, and there is a large chance that I would always have to be in close proximity to them on the shelf, as series books usually are. And imagine being in a larger series, such as the Harry Potter books. If I'm Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, who says I want to put up with The Deathly Hallows? You know being made into two movies went to his head. Or imagine all the people who would have memorized the books of the Bible! There's over fifty of them! bet Exodus and Leviticus would fight all the time. All things considered, I would much rather memorize a stand-alone book.

And yet the question still remains, which book? Its a difficult thing to decide, which book is good enough, worthy enough to be committed to memory. After running through Tuck Everlasting, Winnie the Pooh, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and many other wonderful, heartfelt classics, it came to me. I would memorize a rather old, rather obscure book called Children of Time by Deborah Moulton. It was published in 1989 in Canada by Dial Books, a division of Penguin. I first ran across it in the Westerville Public Library when I was about ten. My mother checked it out for me and I read all 198 pages of it in about two hours. Something about the book enthralled me, and over the next few years I would check it out again and again. I loved it so much that, upon finding that the library had discontinued the copy of theirs, I had my mother buy me my own.

True, the story itself is not that amazing, and certainly other things of higher quality have been written since. But this was the thought that came to my mind to solidify my decision: I would be the only one. Tons of other people have heard of Charlotte's Web or Tuck Everlasting. But I would bet very few people out there have read, or even heard of Children of Time. And out of those people that actually read it, how many people would like it enough to commit it to memory? The chance that I would be the only one who had chosen to memorize this book is a fairly good one, and I enjoy that fact. To be the lone guardian of a piece of wonderful literature has such an appeal. Its a great responsibility, and one I'm sure I would enjoy.

Have a great weekend. I'm off to stand in a field for a couple of hours, do laundry, and hopefully get caught up on my reading.


  1. Thank you, Elder Daughter, for the entertaining and thought-provoking post! I think you are spot on viz being part of a series...but I wouldn't mind being a stand-alone in a shared universe--there would be company nearby, but not demandingly so. I'm wondering if I might like being, say, Moominvalley in November. Not my favorite Moomin book, but the people that wanted to hear the story would be people I might like.

    I immediatly went and looked up Children of Time--I'll add it to my tbr list!

  2. You did, indeed, to a great job for your mom, Elder Daughter. If I were going to memorize a book, it would be Anne of Green Gables. We have something in common there, my mom checked it out of the library for me when I was in 4th grade and I loved it. I read the series, but the first was always the more special because it was a reading gift from my mom.