Things I like! Books

Books.  I like books.  They are things that I like.

Books may seem to be a strange topic for me to cover on this site, but when you consider the amount of bookcases in my house it really isn’t all that surprising.

And the truth is, as far as I’m concerned, reading a book is “doing stuff“.   And an enjoyable stuff at that.

I’ve loved reading since the beginning of time.  The beginning of my time anyway.  And … if I may brag here for a moment … I was reading books by the age of 4.  I feel entitled to that little bit of bragging because I will also share with you the fact that I never did learn math.  At all.  When bank tellers and cashiers giving change count the money backwards to me, I just nod and pretend like I understand.  I do not.   Once when I was trying to convert an ingredient from “pounds” into “cups”, my eyes started to bleed,  plus I lost a tooth.  It just fell right outta my head from the stress of the math.  So … I can’t do math.

The book you see above, titled “Things I Like” is appropriately enough, the book that got me to like books.  It’s the first book I remember  and I cannot thank my mother enough for saving it.  Even though, since Betty isn’t all that sentimental,  she probably didn’t save it on purpose, so much as she just never got around to throwing it out.  The same way she never got around to throwing out that jar of mayonnaise that expired in Aug. ’96.

When I look at this book and I hear the creak of the waxy, cardboard pages I’m a toddler again.  I feel the same way I did then.  I feel comfortable and content in the knowledge that all it really takes to make me happy is a picture of odd looking miniature stuffed animals sitting on wooden blocks.  That’s it. That’s all I need.  And an Espresso maker.  But that is all.  Plus I guess I nice cup to put the espresso in.  And fresh mayonnaise in the fridge.   And that is all.  That is all I need.

And maybe a little more half decent programming on T.V.   That is all.

From stuffed animals I moved onto …


I wanted to be Flossie Bobbsey.

Exit Bobbsey Twins … enter Laura Ingalls …  I now wanted to be Laura Ingalls.  If you’re a longtime reader of this site you know I still want to be Laura Ingalls.  If you have not read this series you should read it.  Yes.  Even as a grownup.

I’m actually considering rereading the whole Little House on the Prairie series.  It if makes me half as happy now as it did then I’ll be … well … half as happy as I was then I guess.  Uhhhh  half as happy when I was half as old … so …   Or would I be twice as happy, cause I’m twice as old as I was when I loved it 100%.  Do I need to divide happiness into happiness?  Ouch.  Akkkkk!  My tooth!    See?  Math.

Now somewhere in between the Bobbsey Twins and Little House on the Prairie I got my hands on this … probably the most frightening book I’ve ever read.

My grandfather’s medical textbook from 1927.  I remember hiding in my parent’s bedroom and looking at this book.   It contains pictures of conditions and malformations that even TLC wouldn’t broadcast.  It was horrifying.  But for some reason I was fascinated.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  It was the perverbial trainwreck you can’t look away from, in handy book form!  This medical text is what led me to loving weird things.  Oddities.  Freaks.

It’s why I own things like an alien in a jar.  It’s why there’s a prosthetic leg in my basement and why I’ve toyed with the idea of making a wall hanging out of my leftover soup bones.

It’s what led me to loving books that dealt with those very things.  Creepy things.
By the time I got to Grade 6 while other kids were reading Tiger Beat, I was reading this …

… and loving it.

So the next time you think that sitting around reading a book is a waste of time … rethink that notion.  Reading is doing stuff.  It makes your brain spark in ways it can’t without the help of a book.   They make you think, learn and imagine.

I personally think books can mold and form a person in much the same way a parent can.  By introducing them to things they didn’t even know existed.  If it wasn’t for Laura Ingalls I wouldn’t have been introduced to things like the joy of making your own butter, or the solitary peace of knitting at such a young age.  And it’s at that very young age that you develop who you are.  You become you.  Without the books I read as a child who knows what kind of person I might have become.

A mathematician perhaps.

*Please note, if you subscribe to my email updates, yesterday’s update didn’t go out for some reason. You can view yesterday’s post “Hey! Minimalism! I’m SICK of You!” by clicking here.

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  1. says:

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who has
    been conducting a little research on this.And
    he actually ordere me dinner due to the fact that I discovered iit for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for thhe meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending the time to diiscuss this topic here on your web

  2. Susan says:

    I read the “Little House” series as a child and ordered the set again from Amazon a couple of years ago. My favorite book was “The Secret Garden”. But I would read anything! My mom and dad subscribed to the Readers Digest Condensed Books series in the 60s, and I read them all. I recently went to the Alibis site and ordered full copies of some of my favorite books from the condensed series. It was so funny! I had re-read them so often as a kid that I could see where the text had been edited for condensing.
    There’s a very cool website from a bookstore in Ohio. They will help you find a book that you remember from your childhood, even if you don’t have the title.

  3. Heather says:

    Ahhhh you speak my language :) I am so THRILLED to have found your blog. I cant wait to browse it even more.

  4. Kathryn Miller says:

    Hello!! So good to read about an avid reader – I often put a book down at 3am, (knowing full well the kids will be up at 5.30am) because I can’t get enough of books….

    Anyhoo….. The Laura Ingalls books. I picked up the set from eBay for my 9 year old daughter a week or 2 ago. In which order does one read them? Couple schools of thought. What is yours?

    Gold Coast Kate


    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathryn! Well, I’d read them in order I think! (Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, Big Woods) What’s the other school of thought? ~ karen!

      • Kathryn Miller says:

        Other school of thought? My 7 year old son said to “just read them, Mum! It will all work out!” Great. If you’re a 7 year old boy….

        I’m sure I’ll prefer the order you have outlined. Between floods and now cyclones, there will be time to hunker down and get stuck into a few chapters – in order!


  5. Pam'a says:

    This sounds so… lame. I never read the LIW books when I was a kid, but came to love the TV series for all the same reasons as an adult.

    Didn’t anybody else read Golden Books? The Color Kittens? The Pokey Little Puppy? And my personal favorite, Little Cottontail?? [Maybe these are too ancient. I can also recall reading Little Black Sambo…Yeesh.]

    p.s. And Karen, I had an epic tome too– The Dog Encyclopedia! It was one of my dad’s textbooks from vet school and I still have it– Just for the way those old pages smell.

  6. Michelle says:

    I have tried to church butter. Laura made me want to try it and I did. No pretty little butter molds though but I really tried…. turns out cream is important (I was trying with milk)

    My first huge chapter book was The Elfstones of Sharanara which ignited a large RPG geek streak in me that I have kept repressed and only let out during star trek conventions because I know its safe (definitely wont be the geekiest person in that crowd). Dean R Koontz or whatever he was freaked me out. The Blob. shudder.

  7. Brenda says:

    Oh Karen, you made me cry today, but in a good way. I ADORE books and am so thankful that my mom instilled in me a love of reading. My 4-year old daughter also loves reading and she is now enjoying my Richard Scarry books that I had as a child. Did you ever read the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books? My daughter is not quite ready for them, but I am telling her condensed versions of the stories at bedtime.

    And I also agree with Anna about not using an e-reader…the weight and feel and turning the pages of a book is part of the whole experience.

    You completely made my Friday, and it’s only 9:48 AM…good job!!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much Brenda! The truth is, I was a bit worried about writing a “book” post. I never know why people come to this site. Whether it’s the writing, or the actual tutorials, or the design aspect. Writing about “books” seemed a bit off topic for me. What with not learning anything. But I guess it worked out! Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it! ~ karen

  8. Colette says:

    I just had to tell you that your description of your math(in)ability made me laugh so much that although I didn’t bleed, I peed … just a little bit.

  9. kim says:

    How about Five Little Peppers?and Little Women? ALso some of my favorites. Actually I haven’t read many books that I didn’t like!! Oh and I have a confession to make…. I like math….don’t hate me!

  10. Jennifer says:

    Can’t believe people are just skipping right over The Bobbsey Twins! Epic! Also The Hardy Boys and The Boxcar Children. My siblings and I would play in our backyard for hours pretending our shed was a boxcar; pretty sure our long absences saved my mother’s sanity. Thanks, Gertrude Chandler Warner.

    And thank YOU, Karen, for the great trip down memory lane. (Not sure I have your stomach for scary reads, though. The Shining did me in…)

  11. Joanne says:

    LOL! I love books and hate math too. I’ve always been a reader and it breaks my heart that only 1 of my 3 offspring loves to read. I think the other 2 might have been switched at birth.

  12. Anna says:

    I am also a book lover, and cannot imagine using one of those e-readers. I love the feel, the smell, everything about the real thing! I just don’t have as much time to read as I would like, it always seems to be put off until the end of the day, and then I fall asleep after only a few pages. Need to rearrange my priorities!!!!

  13. Lisa says:

    Trixie Belden! I think I still have all the books too.

    Also, what was that book with the children locked in the attic? It was quite scandalous at the time, and I think it put me off the creepy horror books. It was around the same time period, since we’re about the same age.

  14. Allison says:

    I swear I love cooking and food just because of the Little House books. I have not read them since I was a kid, but I can still remember vivid food descriptions that they talked about, and how incredibly good and SIMPLE everything sounded. In the Farmer Boy book..a baked potato cooked just by putting the potato into the fire, and how it exploded and the “mealy insides” hit someone…OMG I loved those books…I will make that a resolution to read them all again…the heck with 365 days of pictures and cleaning out are right! That is “doing stuff” I will read them all…I hope I love them again as much as I did then..thanks

  15. Angela says:

    Anne of Green Gables is my most favorite series ever! I could read them over and over again and want to live in that white farmhouse in PEI.

  16. Norell says:

    I remember learning to read as my Mom did dishes. Every night after dinner, I would sit at the table and read Dr. Suess books out loud while she did dishes. “Sound it out, sound it out……..”, were words I heard over and over again. The first book I remember reading is The Pink Dress. I loved that book so much and haven’t stopped reading since then.

    I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder, Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew and any biography I could get my hands on. When I found the scary stuff, I was in heaven & still read murder mysteries constantly, but I will read just about anything, anytime…..Karen Slaughter, Stephen King, Lee Child, Jonathan Kellerman, etc… I think I will ignore my laundry and read for a while now!!

  17. Joni N. says:

    I’m such a book hound! Love books! Generally, I have 3 or so going at once. Instead of the Bobbsey Twins, I was totally into Nancy Drew — think I read the entire series. Huge fan of Little House as well. My mom sewed my sister and me prairie girl dresses, and we pretended to be Laura and Mary all the time. I cannot wait to read it to my two little girls.

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one that gets apoplectic around numbers. Sheesh. I really suck with math.

  18. Ran says:

    Oh books, they are wonderful things. Never fear though, you aren’t completely unsalvageable until you’re like me and have your home library catalogued in the Dewey Decimal System (22nd edition t.y.v.m!).

    I also am absolutely terrible at math and am convinced it is people such as I that calculators were made for.

  19. Nancy says:

    Hahahaha!!!! Oh my gosh SO FUNNY. I’m the same way! Love books hate math. I lose teeth too! Haha!!

  20. Renee says:

    I loved the ‘Little House’ series, too! Except I didn’t want to be Laura Ingalls, I wanted her to time-travel so I could show her all of our modern conveniences :)

    Speaking of modern conveniences, about your math problem… Wolfram Alpha could become your best friend. It does math for you!

    See: Ounces to cups

    Money – even Canadian :)$20.00+-+C$4.57

    and lots more…

  21. joh says:

    My rule: You can never have too many books or kitchen utensils.

  22. Caitlyn says:

    I love the Little House series! I was reminded of it recently when cooking with bacon ends and scraps – felt like I was frying a pig tail! Maybe you could show us how to make a ball out of a pigs bladder. . . ;)

  23. Alexandra says:

    Reading is love. I love to read. The amazing thing is, I didn’t know how much I loved to read until I got out of school and was able to read whatever the hell I wanted to read. Instead of being forced to read books like Billy Budd that make me want to die. And then when you have tests that ask you questions like “What was the color of Billy Budd’s shirt on page 28,” you start to learn that reading = boredom alllll the way to death.

    But then I got out of school and started wondering why serial killers are the way they are, so I bought a non-fiction book about serial killers. Yay, homicidal maniacs. Then I progressed to the infamous “Law of Attraction” books like the Secret. OOH. Yay, I can attract all the things I want into my life with the powers of mind waves!!! Then I had a 25-book bout with historical romance novels. Yay, curricles!

    Finally, I am at a place in my reading phase where I have a nice balance of non-fiction and fiction. Anything and everything, including lots of blogs.

    Not sure what kind of person this has shaped me into though…it can’t be good.

    You know, I could make blog posts out of my comments to your blog. You invoke too much thought in me, Karen.

  24. Kat says:

    Litte house is my pickles and ice cream! Everytime I’m pregnant (I have three children) I CRAVE little house have read the whole series. Luckily I received the set as birthday gift many years ago. I do have to go to the library for “On The Banks Of Plum Creek” because I was reading it in my roof-less treehouse and left it overnight on what turned out to be a rainy night. Not sure I learned my lesson because I know read them in a bubble bath (but not in the shower!).

  25. Sarah P says:

    I love the line “Reading is doing stuff.” I will use that as my defense the next time I accidentally let several hours slip by while reading. “I was doing stuff the whole time!”

  26. Cherise Harper says:

    My father always told me the three things that influence a person the most are:

    1) their family
    2) the people they meet
    3) the books they read

    I’ve found this to be quite true and pick both my friends and books accordingly. Luckily, I was blessed with a great family.

  27. Lisa says:

    I love the Little House on the Prairies series!!
    My mother read a few chapters to me and my brothers every night before bed. Eventually we got through the entire series. It spanned from the end of elementary until I got to high school. Those are some of my favorite memories.
    I always think about re-reading them. You may have just inspired me to do it!!

  28. Carol-Anne says:

    This post is timely; I was at Goodwill yesterday and an annoucment came on advising of a 1 hour manager’s special on ALL books (harcovers included) 5 books for $1. I was lucky enough to score: Landscaping for Small Spaces; American Gardens; Canada – The Lone Land, Gourmet’s Quick Kitchen and Freakanomics! All books were in near perfect condition. If anyone is looking to expand their library for minimal cost; check your local thrift shop! This deal will never beat getting my white 5L LeCreuset pot for $5; but I still felt great!

    • Karen says:

      Carol-Anne – You got a 5L LeCreuset pot for $5???!!! That’s hilarious. And jealous inducing. ~ karen

      • Carol-Anne says:

        Karen – and a matching small frying pan for $3 – both looked like they were used maybe twice! I could not believe my luck – I felt like the lady on the IKEA commericial – Start the car!!!

        • Karen says:

          Carol-Anne – Well … thanks to you there may be no post tomorrow. I am not getting ready to go to every thrift store I can think of. To be fair … it’s been a while so I’m probably due for a trip. ~ karen

  29. Michele says:

    Thanks for including the pictures of old books in this wonderful post! It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

  30. I also read Amityville Horror in 6th grade, it made me want to be a Parapsychologist. Then I remember watching In Search of: and it was about demons and devils—I was PRAYING that a doorway to Narnia would open in my closet because that episode combined with the Amityville Horror and ‘Salems Lot scared the spit out of me! (I started reading Stephen King in 5th grade)

    I’ve always wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder, too! I just reread all the books last summer and took out every book in the library system about her–there are a lot of books about her! I always wanted to find a resourceful man like Almanzo—and I did!
    Oh, I’ve also always wanted to be a Hobbit as well—I read that and the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time the summer between 4th and 5th grade—and it’s stayed with me all these years. My name is Leslie and I am a Lord of the Rings geek ;-)

  31. Jacqui says:

    Does anyone remember the “Noddy” series? I loved those books. They were very non-PC but who knew?

    I saw the Exorcist at a formative age- in a theatre no less – and didn’t sleep for a couple of nights either. Now I can’t even watch the TV promos for the new scary movie starring Anthony Hopkins.

  32. Mary says:

    Oh yea’…I’m sooo with you on the math!

  33. Gwen says:

    OMG – I wanted to be little Laura Ingalls too! I love re-reading childhood books. Alice in Wonderland is my all-time favorite and one I can sit down and enjoy endlessly.

  34. Mary says:

    Karen, Please RUN out and find the book, The Demonologist, by, Ed and Lorraine Warren. This is a MUST read for ‘people like you’. This is not a novel. It will change the way you think of this world..unless you were taught by nuns, in which case you know of these things already. But it will still scare the hell outta’ ya’ FOR REAL!
    Once you have read it let us know what you think!

  35. marilyn says:

    oh books..sheer joy reading is like breathing to me, i cant live without fave book of all time..anne of green gables, amazing stories that make me laugh out loud and feel great. i have read and reread this book countless times and fall in love with it every time. you should put it on your to read list karen you and anne (with an e) have a lot in take care and happy reading.

  36. Melody Madden says:

    Think I need to get myself over to a bookstore and pick up one of the Little House On The Prairie books. After reading your post I feel like I’ve been missing out all these years……

  37. ann says:

    we seem to have taken the same literary path! right down to the old-school editions of the books…..the family medical book we had was a wee bit different, but every bit as frightening. It was published in the early 1900s – every time we had ailments as children my dad would pull out The Book, look it up and act accordingly. As an adult I came across The Book and noticed it included such lovely treatments as blood letting…..sometimes can’t believe we survived! Between that, lawn darts and riding our bikes behind the truck spraying DDT so we could play in the mist… wonder kids today are so namby pamby – they aren’t allowed to read horror stories at age 12 and wear bike helmets to walk to the corner… weeding out of the weak!

  38. MV says:

    Oooh, more for the reading list. ;) I adore the “Little House” series too!

  39. Kerry says:

    Thank goodness reading qualifies as doing stuff…I’m on to my third book in two days, and nothing else is getting done. Not a single thing. It’s great:)

  40. Steph says:

    I also read Amityville Horror in the 6th Grade. It scared me so badly that I’ve haven’t been a fan of anytype of horror books/movies since!

    • Karen says:

      Steph! Oh my word, I loved it. However, I watched The Exorcist the same year … and it still terrifies me. I was so terrified I couldn’t sleep. And it was the edited, “on television” version. I wanted to sleep with my mother but was a) too old and b) afraid she’d become inhabited by the devil in the night and attack me. eeeekkkkk. ~ karen

  41. Pati says:

    I never did read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books….I probably would have loved them.The picture of The “things I like” book…almost made me cry. OMG I haven’t seen that book in so long and I know I had it at a child!!I so remember those little animals :)
    I agree with how books form you as a child. They give you glimpses into other worlds.I still love getting lost in my books…
    Thanks for the post :)

    • Karen says:

      Pati! I can’t believe you recognize that book! I think that’s fantastic for some reason! LOL. Yup … watch for another book post next week. :) Speaking of which … I’m off to read one right now! ~ karen

  42. Jamieson says:

    Did you know there is a Laura Ingalls Wilder museum owned by Bill Kurtis, the tv presenter of such shows as Cold Case Files?!

  43. Sharon Woo says:

    Fun fact- the first chapter book I read was Stephen King’s The Dark Half. At age 9. Good stuff! Never read the Little House series. I’ll have to give it a whirl.

  44. I LOVE my Laura Ingalls Wilder series :) I saved my copies I read over and over again as a child to someday read to my kids.

    • Karen says:

      Amanda! I really am getting excited about reading them over again! I don’t think I’ve loved a book as much as those since then. ~ karen

    • Alissa says:

      I ADORE Laura Ingalls Wilder and still read the books about every other year.

      Karen, here’s something I would like to ask you “how to do”: how can I re-bind my L.I.W. books so that I can keep reading the same books I read as a six-year-old instead of replacing them? The pages are all falling out. Even if I can’t do it myself, could you tell me how to find someone to do it for me?

      • Karen says:

        Alissa! Book binding is an art. And not one that I know anything about! If I were you I’d first look up book binding or book repair in the yellow pages. If that doesn’t help you, book binding is the sort of thing that’s offered at local colleges and art schools. I’d take a look in those areas and see if someone there can’t direct you to an expert. ~ karen!

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