Top 10 Bookish Memories

12:05 PM

Top 10 Tuesday is a book meme hosted by the creative girls from The Broke and the Bookish. Yesterday's theme was Top 10 Bookish Memories.

At first, I thought I wasn't going to be able to pull this one off because I never met a famous author, or waited in line to buy a book. (Apparently a great number of bloggers waited in line at midnight to buy Harry Potter. When you only read classics, you don't get a chance to experience this sort of thing).

Surprisingly, I ended up with a list of 15 Bookish Memories. Here are the 10 best ones:

1. He lives!

I remember sighing with relief when I discovered that Frodo doesn't die at the end of The Lord of the Rings. My cousin had told me he did just to mess with me. (So evil.)

2. Embarrassed poet
Once I wanted to buy a dictionary of rhymes. Yes, a dictionary of rhymes. Let's leave it at that. Anyway, I went to a used book store and happily said: "Good morning, do you have a dictionary of rhymes?”. The salesman laughed and I blushed. This sentence actually rhymes in Portuguese.

3. Nutty librarian 
I briefly worked as a hospital librarian. One day a woman who worked at the hospital came to the library, and asked if we had any books by Nostradamus. I said no, but if she liked prophecies, I recommend Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. She took the book out.

4. Mr. Darcy's is waiting
I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time mostly in buses during my commute. I had just arrived at my bus stop during the story's climax - Mr. Darcy's letter to Elizabeth. I rushed home and dismissed a neighbor I saw on the street just so I could read his letter.

5. Chez Balzac
I love visiting writer's houses. I guess it's the closest thing to meeting them in person. I've been to Balzac's and Poe's houses. I'd love to go to Jane Austen's and Flaubert's house someday.

6. Hospital follies
Once I went to hospital, can't remember why, must have been an asthma attack or something. But it wasn't anything serious. After seeing the doctor, I had to wait for the results of the exams which would take a long time.  I didn't want to just sit there doing nothing. So, I sneaked out of the hospital and went to a bookstore. I ended up buying the book I was reading at the time, Brothers Karamazov. When I went back, my exams had long been ready and that's why I have two copies of Brothers Karamazov.

7. Scouting for treasures
Over the years I've found so many incredible books in used bookstores. You can see I was particularly happy to find a cheap collection of art books with one of my favorite paintings:

I'm also a big fan of libraries. Even during school and college I took out books from local libraries and I still have my first library card.

9. Stealing memories
I never met any famous author but I really wished I had met David Foster Wallace. Since that's no longer a possibility, I'll just borrow other people's memories then. Here's Ben Casnocha's and Evan Fleischer's.

10. Vintage mementos

One of the best things about used books is that you never know what you'll find inside them. I always keep whatever comes in them. Inside my copy of Life of Christ (just finding this book is a special memory) I found many this images of Saint Joseph and many others. Recently, I bought A Patriotic History of the United States and found this inside it :

While I'm writing I am encouraged to start leaving beautiful pictures and mysterious notes inside my books, so that one day a person will find them and have their own memories.

Well, these are some of my memories. I'd love to hear yours!

Images via
2 The Bowler Press (watch out, the letter contains spoilers!)

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  1. Let's see ...

    1 - By chance, I found myself at the very street that supposedly Athos (from The 3 Musketeers") used to live. It is Rue Ferou, a small street behind the Luxembourg Gdns, Paris.
    2 - While in Paris, I thought of Dr. Rodrigo Cambará (from Erico Verissimo's "O tempo e o vento". He never got the chance to go to Paris, while me, a simple accountant at a bank, spent 5 days there.
    3 - Bought a book (History of English Literature) because of the cover. It was so smooth and nice, and somehow it was useful, too.
    4 - Read the book, see the movie, buy the soundtrack: West Side Story, Quo Vadis, Gone with the Wind. Check!
    5 - Is it cosplay? My sister & me used to write small notes using the language of the book. Mummy turned out to be the canteen keeper & the Queen. I kept one of those notes.
    6 - Leading people to read - while I was working at Livraria Italiana, I started reading Andrea Camilleri's books - Comissario Montalbano's ones - and introduced it to many people. Nowadays, except for one that passed away years ago, the others are faithful readers.
    7 - Double cliffhanger: reading The Odessa Files at the office, when there was no work to do. I kept it inside my desk.
    8 - By chance (again), I was at one small shop downtown & found a beautiful Book of Beads. I was decided to buy it & it happened to be on sale!! It was R$ 15, ONLY!! It's still a wonderful book..
    9 - Buying on sale: I bought " I don't have faith enough to be an atheist" at a bookshop sale. It was almost for nothing at all, but it's a book I keep reading from time to time. The description they made of the scorging & crucifixion of Christ is terrible - just to give the reader a faintest idea of what Christ must have suffered.
    10 - Like Helen Hanff (from 84 Charing Cross Rd), I like to find margin notes in used books I happen to buy.
    11 - Travelling memories - this one was on purpose: when in London, I went to Baker St. Of course I should see the "home" of one of my most beloved characters: Sherlock Holmes.

  2. 1- What a great memory! Athos is my favorite Musketeer. Well, it's a close tie with Portos.
    4- You know, I really like the dances in West Side Story too. And the song "Cool" was in my head for weeks after watching the movie for the first time last year.
    5- I think that's fan fiction. Cosplay is when you dress up like the characters.
    6- It's very to be an ambassador of an author or book. I really admire that, though I confess I used to be a jealous fan and prefer my authors and bands to remain obscure.
    7 - hahahaha I used to do that to. It always amazed me how lots of times there's no work to do in an office. But I read it online on the internet.
    8-9 Bargains always make me happy.
    10 - Used books rule!

    Thanks for sharing, loved reading them! xx

  3. I have a great many book-related memories. A lot of them have to do with visiting places where my favourite books take place. Here's a random and incomplete list:

    1 - Walking down Baker Street the first time I visited London - the thrill of it! (I've been a massive Sherlock Holmes fan since age 7 or so)
    2 - When I first moved away from Canada, to Ireland, I spent a couple of weeks in Wales. I visited many places in North Wales related to Arthurian legend, a current passion. A few were places mentioned in Mary Stewart's wonderful trilogy about Merlin. Probably even more exciting was going to Tal-y-Llyn, Llyn Barfog, Aberdyfi and other places in Susan Cooper's great series for children, The Dark is Rising (which also has Arthurian connections.)
    3 - Several years after that I was working for Random House Children's Books in London and I got to MEET Susan Cooper. She was one of their authors and was there for a visit. Somehow I managed not to make a fool of myself (kept gushing to a minimum) and she was so lovely.
    4 - Discovering the work of Paul Celan when I was in university, not because I studied him, but because I was obsessed with U2 and I learned that one of their songs was inspired by him. I remember taking the book off the library shelf, looking into it and finding difficult but knowing it was something strong and powerful. Fifteen years later, he's become one of my most important poets.
    5 - Discovering another of my greatest poets, P K Page, in a Canadian poetry class - especially her poem 'Stories of Snow'. A year or so later I got to meet her at a poetry reading, as she lived in my hometown. She was a beautiful and gracious lady of about 85 then.
    6 - At World Book Night a couple of years ago, in London, I stood on Trafalgar Square and heard great authors read and speak for free. One of them was the great John Le Carre, who told us that we should imagine that Trafalgar Square was Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie. He then read from The Spy Who Came In from the Cold and it was incredible.
    7 - Working in a bookshop after finishing university and discovering wonderful books and authors. Especially travel writing and authors such as Colin Thubron. I also remember having a crush on the owner's son...the day there was an earthquake and I was in the building...being at work there when I learned my father had cancer (a dark memory, but thankfully he recovered)...etc.
    8 - The marvellous children's section in the central library when I was growing up. Enormously formative for my life. Unlike many libraries, they didn't only have new and popular books, but had many old classics and unusual books. Some of these were incredibly important to me. When I go home for visits I still go there and browse through. It's moving, almost upsetting, to hold some of those books in my hands again.
    9 - Visiting Jane Austen's house and gently stroking her writing desk with my fingertips, though you're not supposed to.
    10 - Seeing/hearing the great Seamus Heaney read his poetry for the first time - I've now seen him three times, incredibly!

    1. Hey, loved reading your memories!
      2- I bet those places were gorgeous and I imagine them to be very Lord of the Ring-ish.
      3-6-7-10 How cool you got to meet so many authors! I'd love to attend a Seamus Heaney poetry reading. But I think I wouldn't know what to say to a writer I really like in case I actually met one. Can you imagine meeting MacNeice?
      9- Her house looks so pleasant and sweet from the pictures I've seen. (I'm very tempted to touch things in museums, but I'm always afraid to get caught.) xx

  4. Can't really think of such a list right now, and I guess it would be probably made mostly of reading my favorite books, especially during my childhood.
    But I can tell about the one that I dream it could finally come true and so would go on a very top of my bookish memories.

    The thing is that... Few years ago I started to "save" some of my books in a special box with a purpose of reading them on a special occasion, such as air traveling to great locations. One of them being "Kenneth Williams Unseen" that I want to read on a day I will visit USA.
    Years have passed, and I couldn't realize those plans, but I still kept them untouched adding new titles from time to time... so that now there's an entire box...
    And I'm gonna keep those books unread until the right time comes.
    And reading them all will be my all time favorite bookish memory :)

    Hm... right now I'v realized that this story sounds a bit like Tom Hanks unopened Fedex package in "Cast Away" ;)

  5. I thought only wines were saved for special occasions! It's very interesting you do that with books as well. But I don't think I could ever do that. I'm reading a book as soon as I get out of the book store.


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