Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reading: An Obssessive Love

I am a voracious reader.  I suck books down like an alcoholic sucks down, well, alcohol. 

My love of reading was inspired by my late Gram who loved to read and encouraged me to take up the habit quite early. 

Yesterday I found myself rummaging through my book room (that sounds so much less pretentious than saying rummaging through my library) looking for something to carry with me to the beach.  

As my eyes roamed across the book shelves I found them lingering on a hard back book that was my favorite as a girl.  (I also have it in paperback.)

Jane Emily by Patricia Clapp.  This story was written in 1969 and is a classic ghost story about a selfish and willful little girl named Emily who dies before her thirteenth birthday.

Jane is nine years old and orphaned when she finds herself traveling with her Aunt Louisa to visit her Grandmother for the summer.

One day Jane finds herself gazing upon the reflecting ball in the garden, but the face staring back her is not familiar.  It seems that even though Emily passed away many years ago, her spirit is still there and her intention for Jane is not harmless at all.  

I read this story when my age was still in the single digits and loved it.  

This book started it all for me.  That thirst for reading.  For stories that took me away from my life and introduced me to places and things I could only imagine.  I learned that I could travel the world, sail the seas, or fly to far off lands with nothing more than the written word.

This was also the very first book that I found myself wanting to read over and over again.  Each time I picked it up I saw something different.  

It became a tradition for me to read this book every Christmas until I moved out at the age of eighteen.  

Two years ago when my Grandmother passed away I went home to say my goodbyes and as we were going through her things I stumbled across a copy of this beloved book from my youth.  

I learned that she had purchased a copy of the book when a local library was being closed because she knew it was my favorite and she wanted a copy for herself.  

It was one of the most touching things she had ever done.  It was the sweetest gift she had ever given me and it took her passing away for me to even know about it. 

So what was the book that did it for you?  Will you share?  No really, tell me because I want to know.  

On another note, I wonder what it says about me that the first book that spoke to me was a ghost story about a selfish little girl living in a reflective ball?  Probably nothing more than I had great taste.  Right?  Right?


Linda G. said...

What a sweet story! And what a wonderful thing for your grandmother to have done.

My Very Special Book is CIRCUS CHILD, the English translation of a book by Swedish children's author Astrid Lindgren. It was sent to me by my Swedish aunts, and was the first book I could read all by myself. I literally read it to pieces. I still have my battered copy around here someplace--I should go find it. You've made me long to turn those pages again. :)

Erica Chapman said...

Aww. I'm sorry you lost your Grandma. Gosh for me it was a children's book "The Little House" I think was the name of it. It was about a house that had big buildings built around it and started to get run down, then it's sent to the burbs to get a family, which made it happy ;o) Such a cute story.

Great post, wonderful story.

Kelly Breakey said...

Linda and Erica:

Thanks for stopping by. I think it would be great if you found those books and revisited that time in your lives.

I have not read Jane Emily since my Gram passed. I don't think I am ready yet, because I spent a lot of time crying after I found the book. But I know its there when I am ready.

Kathy said...

I was so moved by reading what your Grandma had done. My Grandma also encouraged me to read and I can relate to sharing those special memories. My favorite was Charlotte's Web. I know it's such a common favorite of children, but it's the first book I read that made me cry. When I realized a book could draw me in so far and cause me to feel real emotions from it, I was hooked. I have been an avid reader ever since...

Kelly Breakey said...


It touched me too. She was the reason I fell in love with reading in the first place. She made sure that I had an appreciation for the classics, I don't know if she ever counted on me falling in love with it.

But now, I spend just as much time reading as I do writing.