Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lost Treasures: Not Ramona, James, Henry, or Laura

 I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunk treasure.
-Virginia Woolf

When thinking back on your younger years, what book memory is forefront in your mind?  Which book was not an enduring classic that everyone around you read?  Which book do you remember reading that perhaps no one else in your class read?  What book did you love that disappeared?

Last winter I ordered a book for my mom that she loved as a kid.  The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton was a fun read for me and an even more fun read for her.  I had never even heard of the book; but she read it more than once as a kid, and never forgot it.  

On Tuesday I placed a request for the book a man read when he was in 5th grade.  There is one copy in the whole state of Minnesota.  How fun to sit down with a book you haven't seen in over forty years.  It's fun even when it's only been a decade.  This patron talked about another of his childhood favorites, but I didn't have to order that one for him.  He had found it at a book sale.  It was obvious the joy he has to have found this treasure from his youth.

I have a missing book.  I know exactly where it stood on the school library shelf.  I have no idea the name of the book, but the author's last name starts with a letter at the beginning of the alphabet.  I only vaguely remember what the book was about.  It had something to do with a garden gazing ball with some sort of mysterious power.  I suppose I should harness my super human book finding abilities and try to track that book down.  I know I've looked for it at used book sales and never found it.  It was a book I read while members of my class devoured James and the Giant Peach and Deenie.

I would have another missing book if I hadn't been fortunate enough to get it when they weeded it from the school library.  Time at the Top by Edward Ormondroyd.  Never heard of it?  No, I suppose not.  This book may have something to do with my love of houses with towers.  A girl travels back in time when the elevator at her building goes a bit crazy.  Magic, mystery, a problem solved, and a happy ending.  What more could a 4th grader want?  I read it many times.  When I read it again last year, it had been at least 25 years since my last read.  It still held all the charm as it did when I was ten, but maybe with some different nuances to it.  A little nostalgia, a little flashback to the kid who read it for the first time, a little added sweetness to the story.

I'm often found reading books that are off the beaten path.  I've been doing that almost as long as I've been reading.  After reading my mother's lost book and re-reading my own treasure from the past, it was interesting to see how similar the stories were.  I read hers first and kept thinking of mine.  The same magic appealed to us both as young girls. 

How does your lost book compare to the books you read now?  In what way/s did it influence your life?  Have you looked for that lost book?  Have you found it and re-read it?  If you are a kid, have a kid, or know a kid; ask them if they've discovered a book to treasure.

See if your librarian can track down a copy of one of the treasures of your youth.  Ask me, please.  I'd love to see if I can find a copy for you.  I'd really love to see your face when it's placed into your hands; like a lost treasure, found.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post! I know from my own experience that it's the best feeling in the world to do this for someone.