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Isolated beginnings

Posted: August 9th, 2006, 8:37 pm
by Kristen
There seems to be a sort of common theme among a handful of LibriVox volunteers - we grew up somewhat isolated from our peers and became avid readers in our childhoods.

I was raised in a bankrupt vacation resort. I had hectares of woods, hills and lakes to play in, but there were no other children my age. I read everything I could get my hands on, from science fiction to to murder mysteries to classic literature to the humour of Erma Bombeck. If Mom let me read it, I did.

I know that Kayray had a similar experience. Kaseumin and Katwal also had books instead of playmates.

Who else among us adopted books as best friends in their formative years?

Posted: August 9th, 2006, 8:43 pm
by kri
You know I was very much the same way. I had three or four friends in high school, but only really saw them in school for the most part.

I first got into books (but always loved reading) at about 12 when I read Lord of the Rings. I became obsessed with fantasy, then moved on to classic literature as I got older.

I would sit in my room for hours reading, only coming downstairs to grab my dinner and bring it up to eat and read. Now I miss those hours of obsessive reading, and occasionally worry that I can't find books to drag me in like that anymore.

I remember one summer (the first year I didn't have to go to a babysitter's when mom was at work), I would walk to the library 5 minutes away and check out a book. I'd spend the day reading the book, and finish it in the morning of the next day. Those few hours before I was able to go to the library were so frustrating; the library didn't open until 1pm! Then on weekends I eventually got smart and checked out two books, because they were closed Sundays.

Posted: August 9th, 2006, 8:45 pm
by kristin
Yes, I'm familiar with books for friends. I had very few "children's" books, I suppose my parents just never thought about it very much. I got what I could from school but summers were hard. I had the Chronicals of Narnia and read them when I was 7 and when I was 9 I got a couple Madeline L'Engle books that I thought were brilliant. After that I started reading my parents books. A number of them I probably shouldn't have been reading as they were definately more adult books. I remember the summer I was 11 reading 3 books by Hemmingway because they were in the bookcase. I won't even go into some of the other stuff I read. :roll:

I did manage to find a few friends in Junior High and High School was better but I've moved around a lot as an adult and there are only a couple of people I keep in touch with now. We've been living here for 2 years now and I don't know anyone in this area. I've just never been good at making friends.

Posted: August 9th, 2006, 9:06 pm
by kri
kristin wrote: I've just never been good at making friends.
Me either, I'm probably a crappy friend :) I'm not one of the most thoughtful of persons.

Posted: August 9th, 2006, 9:12 pm
by featherheadfop
I like the eternal words of Groucho Marx ;) : Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

We've always moved around a lot, so I never had time to make real friends. For a short period in Junior High School I had an actual group of friends, but that ended badly, and I've decided that in my experience I infinitely prefer the companionship of books to people :D.

I grew up on fantasy and sci-fi -- I wolfed down Narnia, L'Engle, Dahl, Lloyd Alexander, Dune, The Lord of The Rings and most of Brian Jacques before the end of 3nd grade ... And then there was Dianna Wynn Jones, Douglas Adams, Lemony Snicket, Terry Pratchett ... I remember in elementary school there was always a yearly list of 20 books we should read, and I was the only person to read all 20 every year XD.

When I got into highschool, however, I was staying up too late and waking up too early and it was so difficult to stay awake long enough to read a book unless someone was reading it to me (which of course no one ever wanted to do XD) ... and then I discovered LibriVox and 'twas a match made in heaven ;) !

Posted: August 9th, 2006, 9:15 pm
by kayray
Erma Bombeck! I'd forgotten about her. Oh my, I devoured her books when I was.. 8? 9? I think I picked up "If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?" at my grandma's house and got hooked. I'm sure I only understood a fraction, but I loved it anyway.

I'm not that great at making "real-life" friends either. It's so exhausting to be with people. I'm much better with internet friends.

Kristin, I read a lot of my dad's suspense/thriller fiction. Very much NOT age-appropriate, heheh. I became devoted to Dick Francis at, maybe, 10 or 11 (Henry's age! Oh my!) and asked for more and more of his paperbacks for birthdays.

Posted: August 9th, 2006, 9:47 pm
by Kristen
People are tiring, indeed. Now I have a small circle of close friends who I love, but even they wear me out. Being a good friend is hard knacker!

I've trained myself to be more outgoing in groups, but it's not easy and I can easily slip into my old "let me find a corner and book in the middle of this party" mode. I have learned to recognise my level of "enough" when it comes to large groups and to gracefully exit a party without fuss.

Usually I go home and read a book!

Posted: August 9th, 2006, 11:25 pm
by tina
I have three younger siblings, but my sister says I was always ignoring her so I could go read. We moved a lot, so I didn't have a lot of friends outside the family, but my sibs were always there.

Posted: August 10th, 2006, 5:47 am
by opheliad
Now I come to think of it, books were more important than friends to me as a child! I remember my gran begging me to go out and play with my cousin as she was bored, but nothing could stir me from my beloved books... :oops:

I would borrow 5 or more books from the library at any given time, then take turns reading as many chapters from each book as I felt like in one sitting. Having lots going at one time worked well for me years ago, and it works well today - I have books secreted in various places around the house (yes, even the throne room) and tend to read a chapter at a time when I am in that area. Only 3 going at once at the moment, though - if you don't count my LV contributions.

Re: Isolated beginnings

Posted: August 10th, 2006, 7:03 am
by thistlechick
Kristen wrote:I know that Kayray had a similar experience. Kaseumin and Katwal also had books instead of playmates.
Hmmm... maybe it's just a phenomenon with people whose names begin with the letter K? hehe =)

Posted: August 10th, 2006, 7:08 am
I finally learned to make friends one-on-one. I have 9 very dear friends today, one in Washington state, one in Montana, 3 in Kentucky which is where I live now, 2 in California, 1 in Oklahoma and 1 in Texas. I have to admit that 6 of the 9 are family, 1 husband, 1 sister, 4 children. But these are the types of friends that are for life. I feel rich with friends now. (long distance friends hmmm!)

I remember around high school, may be junior high (middle school) going to my friend's house across the street. They had National Geographics, ooohhh, I loved them. My girlfriends would get so made at me because they would be carrying on and on and I'd be reading on and on. They could even scream and I wouldn't hear them, just had the world tuned out except for that National Geographic magazine.

Also I had an aunt who lived with us for a while. She had 3 complete sets of encyclopedias!!!! Heaven! One was some sort of scientific set, one was good ole Britannica and the third some other general type. I at least touched every single page of every volume. I especially liked those transparent layers of the frog and humans, where you could peel back the skin, the muscle, the veins and arteries, organs. The same aunt also had a wonderful collection of classical records. I listened to each one of those as well. She was very helpful to my education without even knowing it or meaning to be. And I still enjoy the dictionary!

When visiting my cousins, they had a bright orange set of Mother Goose and other folk tales and rhymes, volumes and volumes. I read every single one of those too. Nancy Drew books took up most of my allowance when about 8 or 9 I guess.

The best is my father who is 88 years old took up a new hobby about 2 years ago... READING! He had never set still long enough to read before. Now he can't really do too much so he took up reading. Makes it so much easier to buy gifts for him! (He read one Louis Lamore book as a kid and my sister is named after one of the characters, Collie).


Posted: August 10th, 2006, 8:06 am
by gypsygirl
I've always enjoyed reading. My mum says I taught myself when I was about three, and one of my earliest memories is getting up early and going into my dad's office to read on one of his big chairs while he worked.

I was rather like kri. I had friends at school, but rarely saw them outside of it. I'd started to get better about it when I started high school, but then we moved to a different country before I started my junior year of high school and I shrank right back into my shell. Imagine my delight when I figured out how to use the public transportation system so I could go to the nearest library whenever I felt like it! :D

I was such a bookworm as a kid, that when my mum grounded me, the privilege I lost was my books! Trauma!!

Posted: August 10th, 2006, 8:18 am
by kri
gypsygirl wrote:I was such a bookworm as a kid, that when my mum grounded me, the privilege I lost was my books! Trauma!!
Now I just think that's one of the worst things a parent can do! Discourage from reading! Yeesh. :)

That's really interesting for someone to "take up reading" as if it were something new to learn how to do, heh.

Posted: August 10th, 2006, 8:27 am
by kristin
gypsygirl wrote: I was such a bookworm as a kid, that when my mum grounded me, the privilege I lost was my books! Trauma!!
My dad's idea of grounding was me sitting in a chair in the living room all day by myself, unless they told me to do something. I was supposed to sit and think. These groundings usually lasted two to three weeks. I used to stuff books down the sides of the chair, as most of the time I was alone in the room and I could hear if someone was coming. I have 2 younger brothers. The youngest is 17 years younger than I am. Now my parents idea of grounding is no Playstation and the only thing he can do is read. Actually, I think my mom might have caught on, she just never said anything.

Posted: August 10th, 2006, 9:08 am
by gypsygirl
kri wrote:
gypsygirl wrote:I was such a bookworm as a kid, that when my mum grounded me, the privilege I lost was my books! Trauma!!
Now I just think that's one of the worst things a parent can do! Discourage from reading! Yeesh. :)
She wasn't really discouraging me. I think her rationale was, if I wasn't doing my chores because I was off reading, then I wouldn't get to read for a while as punishment. My brother, who wasn't an avid reader never got that punishment. She definitely fit the punishment to the child. :)