Over the past week and a half, a few friends and I have been participated in the 30 Day Book Meme. There are a few versions on the internet, but essentially, each day you answer a different question about books. On one day, you post your favorite romance novel. On another, the book you found most overrated. I find myself when I come home from the archives each day logging on quickly to find out what my friends have posted. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few overlaps – Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and Twilight are favorites. Catcher in the Rye is consistently rated as being overrated.
What has made me think about is the degree to which books fed and soothed my sense of isolation as a kid. I felt out-of-place, but “A Little Princess” and “Izzy Willy-Nilly” made me feel as though I wasn’t alone. The American Girl Books convinced me that history was fun, and I loved every moment of “Les Miserables,” “The Little Prince,” and “Night Flight.” My little sister just messaged me on Facebook to say that she is tired of reading kiddie books and is wondering if she should read Les Miz. She also wants a list of suggestions. I feel a bit responsibility here. I want to love the books, and I’m not sure if she will if she starts with Les Miz. Where do I start her – Wilkie Collins, Jane Austen, George Eliot? Would she be better off with some Frances Burnett Hodgson?
And, how much is this gendered? I just don’t know.