Thursday, January 13, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Firsts

Here we go with this week's BTT topic: Do you remember the first book you bought for yourself? Or the first book you checked out of the library? What was it and why did you choose it?

First of all, I have to say thanks for using my questions. Problem is – now I have to come up with an answer!

I honestly don't remember the very first book I checked out of the library. I don't think I went to the library on a regular basis until I was nearly a preteen – I guess mainly because I always had so many books of my own at home. But one of the earliest books I checked out was Louisa May Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Girl. I had read Little Women and Little Men when I was eight or nine, and loved both of those. So I was very excited to get my hands on another book by Louisa May. Loved that one, too.

But I'm pretty sure I do remember the first book I bought for myself. Again, I'd never really thought much about buying books because I always had massive numbers of books given to me. And I got Weekly Reader books from the time I was in the first or second grade, so I was able to choose a lot of my books. (Do school kids still get Weekly Reader?) But I believe I was about twelve before I actually went to a store and picked out a book to buy with my own money. The book was The Haunted Looking Glass: Ghost Stories Chosen by Edward Gorey and I bought it in a shop called Ann and Tom Brown's Toys, in San Antonio, Texas – my hometown. They had a section of the store devoted to children's books, and I loved hanging out there. Most of my Nancy Drews came from that same place. And why I chose that particular book is simple – I've always loved ghost stories, and I just couldn't resist all those amazing illustrations.

The Haunted Looking Glass is a wonderful little book containing twelve spooky tales, each one illustrated with a fascinating drawing by Gorey. The stories are all classics of the horror genre, such as Algernon Blackwood's "The Empty House," and "The Dream Woman" by Wilkie Collins. Both the stories and the illustrations gave me goosebumps (not to mention a few nightmares) – and still do, even after all these years. And I still have my original copy of the book, but it's very delicate and crumbly today (sort of like me). I'd love to post more of the illustrations, but I hate to handle it too much. So here's one I've already got scanned – the drawing illustrating "The Body-Snatcher" by Robert Louis Stevenson:

I think the book is still in print, so one of these days I might just treat myself to a new copy.


  1. My memory is so terrible. I have absolutely no idea, either on the first book I bought for myself or the first one I checked out. Of course, I can barely remember the current books I have checked out sometimes.

  2. Alot of people are remembering Little the book. I don't remember first bought book, but I do remember first library book checked out. Check out my answer for Booking Through Thursday.

  3. Thanks for the great question! It prompted a Louisa May Alcott memory for me, too:
    Booking Through Thursday

  4. Ghost stories and Edward Gorey illustrations ... how cool is that ... nice first buy!

  5. here's mine

  6. I don't know what the first book I ever bought was, but the first one I remember buying was A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson - how I loved that book!

  7. Wow, that's a super hard question! My earliest book memories are Mama Don't Allow and Close Your Eyes--two beautifully illustrated children's books my dad bought me. Great thought-provoker!


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