I’ve always been a voracious reader, and a competitive/compulsive list-checker, so when Alicia invited me to participate in this project, I thought I’d recognize a majority of the titles. After scanning the list, however, I’m humbled. I have read only 16 of the titles, and absolutely none of the early winners.
Before getting too specific on any one book, I just wanted to share a few quick and disjointed thoughts.
First, my favorites on the list: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Westing Game, Bridge to Terabithia, Summer of the Swans and The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
Second, the books I didn’t like at the time, but would be interested in re-reading to see if I appreciate them more now: Julie of the Wolves, Island of the Dolphins, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry.
And finally, a quick memory... I remember reading “Island of the Blue Dolphins” in second grade as part of an advanced reading group. There were a handful of us who met weekly while the other students were plowing through textbooks like “Serendipity” and “Kalidescope.” While we were glad to be freed from those tedious books and generally preferred our selections better (specifically I remember “The Lemming Condition”), I can only think of “Blue Dolphins” as a major struggle.
I’ve never been a fan of wilderness books (outside of Little House on the Prairie and the Boxcar Children), so this book just dragged for me. Compounding things, my mom was the reading teacher that led this book group, and every night she’d ask if I’d read the required pages. I always had two or three other books that I was reading for pleasure, and she’d make me put them down to push through the pages for our reading group. It felt like punishment, and I’d wager it’s the first book I remember resenting.
On second thought, maybe I won’t bother re-reading that one. I’ve already spent too many hours on books that didn’t do it for me…