Good morning everyone!
This month, I’ll be doing a tag I picked up from Iris @ Hoard of Books (recently rebranded to Countless Words With Iris)! Iris completed this tag back in 2017, so it’s another oldie-but-goodie. This was originally created by Sugar Dusted Pages and, according to Lenna, the “Once Upon a Time” Book Tag is all about bookish firsts… and how much fun is that?
Full stop, though, Iris actually tagged me to do this one back in 2017, which I only just now noticed going through and copying the questions. I am officially the worst tag follow-upper. I’m sure I knew this back in 2017 and it just got sorta… buried? Well anyway, three years later, here we go!
I have the vaguest memory as a very small child of reading Is Your Mama a Llama by Deborah Guarino. I may or may not have read other things when I was younger, but I’ve got this fuzzy memory of wearing a ridiculous blue floral dress in like kindergarten-ish and reading this book at open house and my dad making me sound out the words and stuff.
When I was in elementary school, all my friends were obsessed with the Goosebump series. I have always been a little skittish with horror. As an adult, I have a regretful curiosity. As a child I was a little smarter most the time and just avoided horror? Except finally the FOMO of Goosebumps got to me, and I tried The Knight in Screaming Armor. I didn’t actually finish it, and I’m pretty sure I had nightmares. Also, adult me knows that Goosebumps isn’t actually scary. But there you are – the earliest chapter book I remember reading!
First bookish friends
My friends growing up were my bookish friends! We met in middle school, and were friends all through high school and even a little into college. We’ve drifted apart in the decade since but many of the books I hold dear and have loved since I was young – Tamora Pierce, Harry Potter, etc. – … I experienced them with Caitlyn and Ashley.
Even though I hadn’t read the rest of the series, I really remember falling in love with The Emerald City of Oz. I haven’t read it in years, but if you asked me for a list of my favorite classics, I’d still probably include it just based on the fond memories I have of reading it in fifth grade, in the summer just before the end of the school year. Obviously, twenty years later, I know the Oz series has problematic elements. I do have them all still, and I’m sure I’ll read them again. I hope the whole series doesn’t end up being a racist wash? Eek.
I honestly remember nothing about this book, but when I read this question for the first time, the first book I thought of was The Cay. I generally enjoy or at least tolerate the books I’ve read, so it’s rare for me to find one I don’t like, let alone hated. Now, I’m reading a lot more, so I find more I don’t like…but… The Cay. All I have retained about this book is that I deeply didn’t want to read it but it was homework for my advanced English class at the time… so I did.
Reviews imply that there are some problematic themes in this book, unfortunately. It’s not one I’m really interested in rereading and giving it another chance.
First book with romance
Probably the first one with “real” romance, and a romance storyline was Gone With the Wind. I read this in … fourth grade? Fifth grade? … I read Gone With the Wind for the first time in elementary school because I was a pretentious kid and I read it because I wanted to say I did. Did the romance (as well as all the rest of the book) go over my head at the time?
Yes. Yes it did.
While typically I’d throw up my arms and say bookish crushes aren’t, and really never were, my thing… I need to confess this was not always the case. While it’s mostly true… … not always.
For some reason, I remember being obsessed with Tobias in the Animorphs series. Spoiler alert for anyone who is planning to read this quirky and fun series from the 1990s, lol, Tobias is the Animorph who gets stuck in his hawk morph. Because of course. Still, he’s the smart, troubled kid, so I see why I liked him when I was younger.
It should come as no surprise that fantasy is my favorite genre. I love the escapism and the possibility of fantasy. Magical things tend to happen.
My memory is a bit faulty on this one, but Wild Magic is the answer I’m going for this time. I read a lot of Tamora Pierce around the same time, and falling into her series were formative for me. Still love her work as a whole, and I’m just as in love with fantasy as I was when I read this book twenty years ago.
First book from a genre you hate
There was a short period time in high school when I was obsessed with paranormal romance. I devoured Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series like there were no other books in the world.
I’m not sure why I first picked up Guilty Pleasures, but it had vampires and wererats and a necromancer and I was like… hey, this is pretty great! Then there were more and more books, and less and less plot… and more and more sexy good times. I got over it, to be honest. This may be why I hate romance overtaking the plot (I still feel like the original promise of Anita Blake’s world was so interesting!).
I know paranormal romance is still a big genre out there and a lot of people love it. I’ve never been able to get back into it. I just get so frustrated with things like Anita’s ardeur and the illogic of getting steamy in the middle of the murder investigation and I can’t get into it.
I can give you the sort of era of my earliest YA reads. I think, I think, that Paperquake was the first one I knowingly read, but it could have been Time Cat or one of the Tamora Pierce books, or even maybe Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone… they were all around that time. But based on publication date, I think that Paperquake was the first.
Remembering, of course, that YA evolved before MG books, and Paperquake would probably feel more like an MG book to today’s audiences. Back then, they were basically all… children books or adults books and nothing in-between.
So, I know I’ve had to academically dissect books since forever. I mean, that’s sort of what school does to a lot of reading, which is why a lot of people come to dislike books that tend to be taught in schools. Well, that, and because they’re overrated. That said, I mostly have ingested books for entertainment and escapism as my primary goal. I’ve reassessed in the last couple years and try to make my reading a way to better myself.
Feed. Feed by M. T. Anderson is a book I didn’t read until high school. I have read this book a few times now, and I still think about it. Dystopia is interesting like that for me.
First book you bought
This would definitely be something from the Scholastic Book Fair when I was younger. I know the handful books that I bought from the fair, but I have no idea what years I bought this one or that one. Maybe The Message? Animorphs #4.
One of the earliest books I still remember reading, have had the longest, and still absolutely love is Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander. I know that Alexander is better known for his other fantasy books, like The Black Cauldron, but I fell in love with Jason and Gareth, time travel and history… a boy and his cat. In re-reading it since, from a purely entertainment perspective, I still like this book.
However, it’s been a few years and since so many cultures are featured, I’m a little worried that it may not hold up. But I can’t remember. I hope it does, but so little passes the test. Ack! We’ll see.
I haven’t been tagging too many people in my tags lately, so today I’m going to tag a few and if y’all want to give it a go, this is a fun tag that really makes you dig in the recesses of your memory for those old books you haven’t thought about in a little while.
- Christine @ Purple Manatees (she reads books and reviews cruises, too!)
- Anna @ The Scones & Tomes Society
- Nikki @ Books and Lemon Squash
If the folx tagged are not interested in doing a tag, no pressure! Still, I do hope y’all check out their platforms and give them some love. These are three excellent bloggers and I recommend all three pages.
Once upon a time… what’s the first book you remember reading? It’s so difficult to dig deep in your mind and pluck out the first distinct book, but if you remember, I’d love to know! Let me know in the comments!