Childhood Memories

I’ve started rereading some of the books I loved as a child that are still part of my library.  I wasn’t too nice to books, so a few of them have passed into the next realm.  There is also one that I know was a favorite because I checked it out from the school library at least once a year; clearly I don’t own that one.  But I do have a couple that are still with me, and for fun I am reading them now.

I’ve noticed a couple of things about the two books I’ve read so far.  Both have strong female main characters who are intelligent and uncomfortable with the way society expects them to behave.  (Is anyone surprised?)  And both of them include a layer of magic and fantasy.

This second isn’t surprising, given that I am something of a fantasy junky, but the timing adds an interesting layer.  Magic was not a regular part of my childhood reading; fantasy was not a genre I was familiar with until high school.  Don’t get me wrong; magic was not completely foreign.  The usual fairy tales, with their godmothers and evil queens, were part of my growing up, and my mom encouraged me to read Tolkien as a pre-teen.  (That may have been primarily a ploy to get me to stop reading kiddie lit when I was in junior high, but it still counts.)  But books steeped in magic, with the usual cast of wizards, monsters, and vampires, were not high on the reading list.  So to me, looking back, books that include magic and are set in a fantasy world are surprising to find from my early reading days.

I’m guessing the fact that the magic was subtle and the primary subject of the books was a female battling against traditions is probably what got them on my shelf in the first place.  I’m glad they made it – even reading them as an adult, their quality holds and their stories draw me in.