Kate S. has a very interesting childhood reading meme that I decided to try. This is what Kate had to say in her introduction:
"I’ve decided to have a go at creating a meme. I’ve been re-reading some childhood favourites lately and thinking a lot about the process of becoming a reader, so I’m taking early reading experiences as my subject."
1. How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you?
I was an early reader,I think I was three when I learned to identify a few easy words. I can't remember my mom actually sitting down and reading to or with me, but I do remember my grandmother reading to me over and over (she was the owner/principal of a little nursery school in Bombay so she was very keen on getting children to read, besides she had a great assortment of books in her school library!)
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?
Gosh, I can't seem to remember my very early books but I do remember when I was about 7 or 8 my grandmother gave me a beautifully illustrated book called "Cultures of the World for Children" and I was so hooked on that book...I read it everyday and all the time. I realize now that it was that very book that sparked my interest in anthropology . Besides that book I also remember having various fairy tale books that I loved, "Hansel and Gretel", "The Little Matchgirl" and so on, but none have stayed in my memory as much as that book on cultures. I'd love to get my hands on that book again if I could.
3. What’s the first book that you bought with your own money?
Ahhh, this I remember well. We got Rs.5/month as pocket money (25c. at today's rate exchange maybe?) and I'd rush to the bookstore to pick up an Enid Blyton ( I was hooked on the St. Claire's and Mallory Towers series). Sometimes I'd buy the "Just William" books by Richmal Crompton or something from the "Famous Five" or "Secret Seven" series. Interestingly enough, when we visited India in August this year, I was able to find some of my old copies of the St. Claire's series and my 11-year old just loves them,except she wishes the pages weren't so yellow with age!
4. Were you a re-reader as a child? If so, which book did you re-read most often?
I don't remember being a re-reader. I was always impatient to finish a book so that I could start a new one. I guess I've carried this habit with me into adulthood because I very seldom re-read a book although I am often tempted to. Maybe I should impose a re-reading challenge on myself!
5. What’s the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it?
Good question. I must have been all of 12 0r 13 when I started exploring my dad's collection of classics. I would just thumb through the pages initially, but slowly I started wanting to read more. Soon I was totally engrossed in Maugham's "Of Human Bondage" ( I still think it was one of my best reads ever) and high on the delight that Maugham's classic provided I attempted and enjoyed "Woman in White" by Henry Wilkes and a slightly abridged "Anna Karenina". My mom loved romance novels, so ofcourse, I had to peek into the books she left around...many were historical romances which intrigued me, but there were some Jackie Collins and Harold Robbins and although I wouldn't waste my time on those books anymore, I do think it contributed to making me a good speed reader because I had to finish that novel before my mom got home and caught me red-handed! :)
6. Are there children’s books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones?
Oh yes, plenty! Living in India as I did, I didn't have access to "Anne of Green Gables" or to Phillip Pullman's "Dark Materials" or EB White of "Charlotte's Web" fame. I discovered these books upon coming to Canada and I love them!
Hope you enjoyed the meme. If you would like to chart your early reading experiences, consider yourselves tagged!