The One Where I Keep a Promise. And Use the Word Bowels.

You may remember that sj and I started a book club, one you might even want to join. Welcome to the first official meeting. From the Bowels of Obscurity Children’s Book Club is now in session!

It has been a while. I had big plans, but then I got sick and was too concerned with my actual bowels and various other body parts to do much with a book club. But I’m back, baby, and I’m ready to roll!

Anyone is welcome to join. It’s easy to participate. Have some favorite books from childhood? You can either write a post, or share with us in the comments. If you write a post of your own and include pingback by including a link to this post, your post link will appear at the bottom of this one, and we’ll be able to find and read other participating blogs.

I’m not big on rules, but the main one is that the books you track back should be ones you read as a kid. There are tons of great books hitting shelves everyday. This club is for dusting off the old ones that might have gotten buried. Unless you are an actual kid, under 18, in which case you are free to share your more recent faves.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for! *insert drum roll here*

Victoria

First book like this I ever read.

When I was a kid, I read the old standbys. I devoured Superfudge and rolled around in the Ramona series. But I also liked stalking the shelves for books none of my classmates had read. There was nothing I loved more than finding a book that hadn’t been checked out in ten years. This was one. I may, in fact, have been the only kid to ever check it out.

It was my first real taste of historical fiction, taking place at the very beginning of the Great Depression. That’s all I can tell you without giving too much away. This book still gives me chills. I gave an oral book report on it, and I got my first B+ because the teacher thought I gave away the ending. Little did she know.

MiltonI love this book. We received it in the mail from Weekly Reader. I remember my mom tucking me in bed and reading it to me. The words were simple, and the illustrations were adorable.

Fast forward 35 years and all my experience with dogs and the adult in me is shocked to pieces! <spoiler alert> What do you mean Milton knocked up the Great Dane next door?! He’s a year old! Anybody ever heard of hip dysplasia? Has he CERF’d? What about his patellas? Get responsible when you breed, people! Oh, yeah. I found a copy to read to my kids. Because it’s still precious.

And last, but definitely not least:

caleb

My favorite time in elementary school was library time. Long after we had graduated from picture books, our librarian found great things to read to us. This was one.

It’s the story of two brothers growing up in the Ozarks. Since the library only had one copy, none of us were allowed to check it out during the six weeks or so she was reading it to us. Waiting to get my hands on it nearly killed me. I was first on the list to check it out. I squirreled it away in my backpack and rushed home to savor every tidbit in my own comfortable bed.

I found the sequel at the public library, and it was like my birthday had come early. It’s as delicious as the original, but freakishly hard to find. I made a few half-hearted bids for it on Ebay over the years, but my limit was $30, which was over a hundred bucks shy of the winning bid every time. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a copy in the free bin at my favorite used book store.

If there’s a book you’re looking for, keep wishing. It will hear your heart and come find you one day.

Now it’s your turn! What’s on your favorites list? Don’t feel pressured to get them all in one post. I haven’t even scratched the surface of personal favorites. We can pace ourselves!

Some folks are way ahead of the game and have already shared some of their childhood favorites with us. Be sure to check them out!

Meet Nerija. Check out her reviews here and here.

And there’s Amy, who shared some goodies with us over at sj’s place!

And last but not least, pay a visit to M and to see her favorite kids’ books!

 

If you’re on Goodreads, you are welcome to join the club over there, too! Click the widget over on the bottom left. It will take you there.

I Hereby Call This Meeting to Order!

Come into my secret clubhouse!  Okay, I know it’s just a sheet draped over a couple of kitchen chairs, but it’s a 700 thread count. Only the best for you! But don’t get Oreo crumbs all over the place because my mom will kill me!

You want to be in my club? It’s a book club. You know what the best part is? You don’t have to read anything. Because you already did! Is that cool or what? Consider yourself cordially invited to the From the Bowels of Obscurity Children’s Book Club.

My pal sj and I were talking the other day about some of our favorite reads as kids. That no one living seems ever to have heard of. We compared notes.

My elementary school library had a tiny budget and didn’t get in a lot of new books, so the shelves were bursting with titles that these days rank fewer than 20 ratings on Goodreads.  As a voracious reader too young to drive herself to the public library, I consumed most of them. And I liked it fine. It never occurred to me that the things I was reading were not on every kid’s book shelf. My books were my friends.

And since you’re my friend, too, I thought I could introduce you guys. Here’s where the club part comes in. sj and I are going to co-host it. I’ll do a post one week, and then she’ll do one the following week.

Here’s how you play if you want to.

Write a post about a few books you loved as a kid that are kind of obscure. How obscure is up to you. If you loved Nancy Drew and there was a title in the series you adored that no one you know has ever heard of, count it! Love a book that was written by your next door neighbor on construction paper? Tell us about it! Try to limit yourself to 1-4 books per post. We don’t want the club to fizzle out too soon, right?

Age range is flexible. From story books to teen, whatever you loved before you were old enough to vote counts.

Get personal. If straight reviews are your thing, go for it. Even better, though, is sharing what the book actually meant to you. Why did you love it? Do you remember the first time you read it or how you found it in the first place? Did you leave a Doritos smudge on the page of a favorite you borrowed from the library? I suffer from incurable nosiness, and I love those kinds of stories!

Add a trackback to the host post for the week. If you’re new to WordPress, that may sound complicated. It’s not. All you have to do is include a link to the host post somewhere in your post. Then the link to yours will appear in a neat little list of links at the bottom of the host post, and we can all find one another’s posts.

Participate at your own pace. Life got you too busy next week? Feel free to jump in any time. You’ll be able to find trackbacks to the latest post at the bottom of this one. And if you don’t want to do an entire blog post, share your obscure favorites in the comments section.

Read the posts of the other participants. You never know what treasure you’ll find!

If you’re on Goodreads, why not rate the book over there? You don’t have to review it, but if you loved it, throw it some stars! Who knows? Maybe you’ll get a buzz going and bring new life to your old favorite!

That’s all there is to it. You are free to read any book that piques your curiosity, but you don’t have to. And you can even blog about your discovery. But you don’t have to. The real name of the game here is sharing. Because sharing is nice. Except when it’s my MoonPies. Hands off.

Clubbin’

I should have been a librarian. I love books, spend a lot of time prowling through libraries and used book stores, and getting paid to shush people is my idea of heaven. But despite my love of literature, I’ve never been part of a book club.  Unless you count Oprah’s, and I just don’t.  I’m not the only one, though for different reasons.

Some good things did come out of the Oprah thing. I was introduced to such fantastic books as The Rapture of Canaan, She’s Come Undone, and The Poisonwood Bible, which remains the best work of fiction I have ever read. But I don’t enjoy discussions. Good books become too personal. I don’t want to pick apart a book I love any more than I want to scrutinize the face of my beloved husband and describe the individual parts, their flaws, and their relationship to one another.

I realize that I may have lost some of my readership by my use of the Oxford comma in that last sentence. Who knew a bit of punctuation could be so divisive? I am what I am, and what I am is old. I was taught the Oxford comma, and you cannot teach an old dog new punctuation.I digress.

Discussions aside, I also skip out of book clubs because I am somewhat juvenile. I don’t like people telling me what to do read. I’ll take suggestions, but anything that smacks of required reading will sit on the bookshelf untouched. Forever. Just ask the dude who gave me my driver’s license exam. But in all fairness, if they really expected me to stop for that train, they should have put up some flashing lights. Wait, um…

Anyhoo, if I am to be happy, I must be Boss of My Book Club. If you’d like to join, you must agree to abide by the following laws three rules.

1) I get to pick the books. I refuse to read blurbs when choosing a book. There is nothing worse than knowing ahead of time that Jenny’s grandmother is going to die, which will be the catalyst for her turn to the dark side. And then spending 200 pages waiting for it. I like surprises, even if they are tragic ones. Rather than reading blurbs, I judge a lot of books by their covers. It turns out okay more often than the wise would like you to believe.

And be forewarned that many of the books I choose have some magic in them. You know what it’s like after you’ve ended a long relationship with the love of your life? And how for a long time afterward, you date people who look a lot like them? Yeah, that’s me and Severus Snape Harry Potter.

2) If I hate the book, we will switch to a new one.  Life is too short to read crappy books. You wouldn’t continue to date a loser when there is something better out there, would you? Sorry, Essjay. I know you feel compelled to finish a book, even if you hate it. You can still be in my club.

3) Discussion will be limited. You are allowed to talk about what you loved. Unless it is a rare circumstance in which I hated the book but was engaged enough to finish it anyway. In that case, we will trash it together. Gleefully.

My current book is A Discovery of Witches. The prose is a little clumsy in places, but the story has potential. If you can get past the obligatory vampire. Who practices yoga. It’s The Historian meets Twilight/Southern Vampire Mysteries. Don’t give up on it yet.  So far, most of the action has taken place in the Bodleian library at Oxford. The protagonist spends most of her time requesting and poring over priceless manuscripts, which are described in glorious detail. I am a fat kid watching the cooking channel.

Squish's book club has one rule. Don't pee on the books. Which is important to remember if you take your tomes to the potty.

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Join me, won’t you?

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