Missing out

Have you ever realized that you missed something? I’m not talking about the M7 bus, I’m talking about classics of children’s literature.

Next week, Natalie Babbitt joins the Thalia Kids’ Book Club at Symphony Space to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Tuck Everlasting. A friend invited me to go, and I happily said yes. (The Symphony Space celebration of A Wrinkle in Time was amazing!)

Then it occurred to me. I’ve never read Tuck Everlasting. (Or if I did as a child, it didn’t stick with me. Not surprising since I read even more as a child than I do now.)

Whoops! Luckily, I’m correcting that with the lovely new Kindle edition. But it made me think.

How many books did we read as children that we don’t remember now? There’s always the one book that became a touchstone. And there’s plenty of the “I loved this series, and it was a mystery – I think – with kids who lived on their own and it had yellow covers…” books. (P.S. Librarians simultaneously hate and love these challenges.) But what about the many other books that weren’t a series and that we enjoyed, maybe even loved, but weren’t earth-shattering?

It’s easy for me to see what I’ve read the past several years, thanks to Goodreads – and before that my Bookography database. (Yes, I am that much of a book nerd.) It’s harder for me to know what I read then. I remember phases – Betsy and Tacy, L’Engle, Tolkien, even Hitchcock and King. The Little House books, Little Women, and other classics I had on my shelves. But what about the many, many books that I toted home in stacks from the library?

I may well realize as I read Tuck Everlasting, that yes, I *did* read it. Happens all the time – especially with the annoying habit of publishers to reissue books with new covers. I’ll be embarrassed though, if I really didn’t. Just like I’m embarrassed to admit – the horror! – that I’ve not read or don’t remember reading The Giver or Bridge to Terabithia.

Maybe those books didn’t strike a chord with me. Maybe I moved too quickly from children’s books to the adult section of the library. (YA wasn’t around then except for perhaps O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins.) Or maybe I just need to accept the fact that you can’t read everything.

What are the books you wish you’d read? Or just feel you missed?


8 thoughts on “Missing out

  1. Noodge 2 read Tuck Everlasting in the 4th or 5th grade and when I took a look at it, I said, “Hey, I never read this!” I was wondering how I missed it too. Unfortunately, I still haven’t read it, but I will. I’m pretty quick reader, but not fast enough and there are always so many books I want to read. And those I’ve read more than once like books by Dickens (he’s one of my favorites) or To Kill A Mockingbird and a total favorite of my Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier which I’ve read at least 4 times in the past 5 years. She tends to push the other books out. LOL! Great post.

  2. Leslie, my recall is so shoddy, I get aggravated at how many things I just can’t remember or pull up 😦 I caught up on a number of classics once I was able to pursue kidlit. Just recently I reread Charlotte’s Web (http://bookjourney.net/2015/01/15/morning-meanderings-donna-from-writer-side-up-talks-about-the-web/) and although I had a VERY vague memory of the story, reading it as an adult is a totally different experience. I know there are many classics, along with more recent stuff I will probably never get to and although I’ve come to accept that, it doesn’t feel good knowing life will never allow time to catch up!

    And, actually, I have read Tuck Everlasting and really enjoyed it. If I’m remembering correctly, the metaphors and descriptions are beautiful πŸ™‚

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