Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Sunday Salon: My First Salon Post

The Sunday

I've been reading the Sunday Salon posts on other blogs and have enjoyed the variety and style of each individual post. I've decided to join this vast group of bloggers and become one of the Salonist's. Books and reading have always been a passion for me. I believe that my love of books was inspired by my first grade teacher. I had moved mid-year and was a new student in the class. She taught us how to read and I fondly recall learning to read with Dick & Jane books. She had a reading contest for the class and whoever read the most books would get to have lunch at Mrs. Ishay's house. That was very exciting, we all went home for lunch in those days and nothing like this would likely happen these days. Guess who won?! I was bound and determined to win that contest and I did. I don't remember how many books I read but I do remember that I got to have lunch with Mrs. Ishay and another teacher. She bought McDonald's for lunch which was only the golden arches in carryout and a real treat. I am definitely showing my age, this was the latter part of the 1960's. I recall how wonderful it was to read all of those wonderful books ,win the contest and spend a wonderful lunch with my teacher. I learned that books can take you to so many different places through the turn of a page and how much I loved to read.

I also have fond memories of library time in elementary school as well and recall our wonderful librarian who read amazing stories to us in her accented English. One particular book, I recall fondly was Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel. This is a favorite 1970's children's classic story and is a re-creation of an ancient Chinese folktale in which children learn about the danger of having such an honorable name as:

Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-

chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo

I recall repeating that name in chanting rhythm in a read aloud story time. It was such a fun story to read and be part of. I took the book out of the library to share with my son who enjoyed reading it with me but he just did not have the same experience or cherished memories as I do.

My love of reading continued as I grew older and I have fond memories of spending time at the library in the summers. I wrote about this in a recent Booking Through Thursday post about Library Week, and shared some pictures of my favorite library I went to when I was younger. I continued to read a lot and in high school English class I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith which remains one of my favorite books today.

I continued to read in early adulthood and into college and my interests always changed. I always had bookshelves full of books and many books loaned out from the libraries. I married and my husband also loved books which made it especially nice as we always enjoy searching out a new bookstore and browsing for hours there. We would often find a bookstore along the way in our travels and would always stop in and visit whether it was in Rockport, Massachusetts or Paris, France. We would always seem to find a bookstore or library to visit.

When I was in my late 20's I needed to have surgery to have my tonsils out. I had to take some time off from work and knew that I would need to be prepared with books by my side as I recovered. A coworker and avid reader highly suggested a mystery series that she enjoyed and I decided to read them. She suggested the Alphabet series by Sue Grafton which I thoroughly enjoyed reading while I recovered at home. I have read them all and even wrote a fan letter to Sue Grafton and have been on her mailing list ever since. I have a collection of goodies that she used to send out in the mail promoting her books, now it is only a postcard. She also send out a yearly Christmas photo card from Kinsey and Sue. Through being on her mailing list, I was also able to purchase Kinsey and Me: A Collection of Short Stories by Sue Grafton a signed, First edition, rare copy as only 300 were printed in 1991. This is considered a very scarce book and was designed by Sue and her husband and was never in stores, sold only by mail order to Grafton fans. The book is maroon cloth backed, in a maroon cloth slipcase, gilt-stamped leather spine label with marbled end pages and is one of the most beautiful books that I own. It is also the most valuable books as a few copies are currently listed at Abebooks between $800-$2000. I don't read as many mysteries as I once did but I do still read all of the books in this series.

When we had our son, I started collecting books early for him and received many special books as gifts. I have saved some of the early ones as we have such special memories reading them together. My son is now 10 and loves to read and collect books as much as his father and I do. He especially enjoys finding old, vintage books at the library book sales we go to together and has acquired an interesting collection of his own. He is fascinated by the old, musty books and their histories filled with thoughts and ideas scribbled with fountain pens. This picture is one of the books that he has which was published in 1902. He wanted me to share that this book has a personal inscription, "To Charlie, From Uncle George" written with a fountain pen in fancy writing with perfect handwriting.

I started a neighborhood book club several years ago and that has opened my world to reading more books that I normally wouldn't choose to read. I have enjoyed dissecting a book and sharing thoughts and opinions with others and hashing it out when we have differences of opinions. I've also learned something interesting about being in a book club and being able to discuss a book with others. The benefit for me has been to hear others thoughts and opinions and different viewpoints as it opens my mind to different perspectives. Even when I may not care for a book I come away with a different attitude about the book after discussing it. Also, we always have delicious appetizers,wines and dessert to enjoy. This is a must in our book club...good books, good wine, good food, good friends...who could ask for more?!

I wanted to share a few highlights from the past week here. I was thrilled to have Erica Bauermeister, author of The School of Essential Ingredients (and one of my favorite books that I've read this year) write a very special guest post about Fondue and Magic. I read and reviewed Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber, the 5th book in the wonderful Blossom Street Series. I also wrote a review of the third book in my son's favorite Wimpy Kid Series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney. I also have a giveaway ending tonight, April 5th at Midnight EST for a copy of Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews, to enter, go here for details.

I need to stop rambling here but I wanted to share some more personal thoughts about my life and books with those who regularly read my blog. I don't always share much personal information as I get a bit nervous about sharing pictures on the Internet, especially of my son, and other personal details.

To read more Sunday Salon Posts, go here.


  1. I would have never been able to bring up in my head the chant to Tikki Tikki Tembo if you hadn't, and I bet I read it a thousand times when I was little! Thanks for the great memory!

  2. Welcome to the Sunday Salon and thank you so much for the history of your reading! I really enjoyed this post!

  3. Welcome to Sunday Salon! :) I don't post pictures of my niece on my blog, for safety reasons-only ones of myself and my mom (since she gave me permission). So I sympathise with wanting to keep things private.

  4. Thanks for sharing with us. I loved many of the same books as I was growing up. Your post brought back some very fond memories.

  5. I'm glad you decided to join in on the fun and thanks for sharing your reading adventures. Great post!

  6. My husband and I remember Tikki Tikki Tembo so well. Our daughters loved it and we must have returned and re-borrowed it from the library dozens of times.
    Welcome to the Sunday salon. You'l find a huge range of readers here.

  7. I got such a kick out of you saying you showed your age re MacDonalds. MacDonalds didn't even exist when I was in the first grade. I do remember reading Dick and Jane though. At the end of the school year our bus driver would take us to Howard Johnson's (28 flavors, wow)for an ice cream cone. Heady memories!

  8. Wonderful post Bonnie. I love how your son already has such a great love for books-that's so awesome. Well now you've joined on Sundays, so did Trish. I guess I really better seriously consider it for next week.

  9. This was a fantastic post, Bonnie. As I was reading the first part, I thought you must be around my age. I think I have you beat by a few years, though.

  10. What a great post! I remember having Tikki Tikki Tembo read to me too. I also loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Thanks for sharing so many personal memories with us!

  11. I can relate to so much of what you said! I love this line "I learned that books can take you to so many different places through the turn of a page and how much I loved to read." That is so true. I always (and sometimes still do) lost myself in the pages of books. I became the heroine of whatever story I read.

    I'd climb our tree and hide up in its branches, so I could read. Awesome post. Thanks for a walk down memory lane.

  12. Bonnie,
    What a lovely post!! I remember reading Dick and Jane too. I can totally relate to the allure of getting to have lunch with your teacher. We use to fight over who got to carry Miss Feather's purse in kindergarten!! I loved the progression in your story that showed how your love for reading has only grown as you've gotten older. Your son sounds like a kid I would adore..especially how he already has an affinity for old books and where someone has written in them!! Thanks for sharing this with us!!


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