Surrounded by books: A My Bookprint guest post
By Guest Blogger on April 28th, 2011
It’s Thursday, which means it’s Bookprint day! We asked our colleague in Corporate Communications, Katrina Picon, to share hers. From Gods to ghosts, Katrina has read all about them! See for yourself which five books shaped her life. Don’t forget to stop by You Are What You Read and create your own Bookprint!
As the child of two teachers, it’s hardly surprising that I grew up surrounded by books. They were everywhere in my house — lining shelves, crammed in drawers, stuffed under beds (sorry, mom). It seemed there was never enough room for them all. And even though my parents limited the numbers of Barbies or Cabbage Patch Kids I could have, they never refused me a book. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of my mother and father reading to me and my older brothers — a soothing bedtime ritual that helped foster a love of reading. So, like most people here at Scholastic, I’ve spent hours on end with my nose in a book, and I’ve come across many that have left an indelible mark on me. Here are my top five most influential books:
Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn – The creepiness factor in this book is considerable, and that’s why I loved it so much as a kid. It’s a chilling book that hooked me as a fifth grader and one that, even today, still kind of makes my skin crawl. I first read it in one of my elementary school classes and was quickly swept up in this story about a girl who can converse with ghosts. The book appealed to me because I’d always been fascinated by the supernatural and spooky; by the sixth grade I had amassed a sizeable collection of ‘real ghost stories’ that I eventually gave away because they scared me too much. For some reason, though, Wait Till Helen Comes stood out from the others, and after I finished it, I was determined to read all the other titles by Mary Downing Hahn. I’d have to say that it was this book that REALLY got me excited about reading.
The Berenstain Bears by Stan Jan Berenstain – If I had to name one book, or in this case, book series, that defined my childhood, I’d point to the Berenstain Bears. We had every single one of these books in my house, and I made my parents read every single one to me many times over. When I think of Berenstain Bears, I think of my parents, and I am instantly transported back to my cozy bedroom with pink flowered wall-paper, where I was tucked in tight under a mountain of blankets, absolutely content and not a care in the world. Now, I enjoy reading these same books to my nieces and nephews, and I hope that when they are older they will look back and remember the great times we had snuggled up together reading about Brother and Sister Bear.
D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Edgar Parin D’Aulaire – I’ve already proclaimed my love for ghost stories, but I’ve got another obsession: mythology, and I have this bright and cheerful collection of stories to thank for it. This is another book that has always been around in some corner of my house, hanging out like an old friend. These tales mesmerized me, with their zany gods and unlikely heroes. I’ve read all these myths so many times that you’d think I’d grow bored of them, but that hasn’t been the case at all. Even today, when I go home for a visit, I’ll sit down with a snack and pull out this big book of myths, happy to lose myself for an hour or two in the outrageous but always exciting world of Zeus, Hera, and Heracles.
Hunting Eichmann by Neal Bascomb – This may seem like an unusual title to put in a Bookprint, but I couldn’t NOT include it. My father is a history teacher and is mad about books. He is constantly scouring book stores for his next read and can usually be overheard lamenting how little time he has to read all the books he wants to. So, when it comes to historical narrative, especially anything related to World War II, you can be sure my father has read it. That’s how I found out about Hunting Eichmann, an engrossing account of the global hunt for one of the world’s most notorious Nazis. The author, Neal Bascomb, does a superb job of researching old wartime documents and conducting groundbreaking interviews with the individuals (and their relatives) who were responsible for the kidnapping and transport of Adolf Eichmann from Argentina to Israel. And, instead of reading like a bloated mash-up of information, the book takes readers on a thrilling journey that brings them inside the Mossad and details the series of close calls that almost derailed their efforts. I read this book in one sitting, and have re-read it many times since. I can’t recommend it enough!
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – I haven’t read many romance stories, but a friend of mine recommended The Thornbirds back in college, and I quickly became a fan. The love story at the heart of this saga spans generations (and many pages), and yet it still felt so fresh and vivid at the book’s conclusion. I was sad when it was over because I was eager to follow the family’s journey. The characters seemed so real, and I instantly connected with them. This is a beautiful book that really touched me. It made me want to read more “love stories.”
Which five books have most impacted you, readers? Create your own Bookprint on You Are What You Read!
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