True Confessions

Thanks to my daily Shelf Awareness email, I had the delight of reading The Guardian's list of Top 10 Food Scenes in Children's Literature. My favorite on this list, of course, was Marilla's raspberry cordial from Anne of Green Gables: poor Anne getting her new friend drunk...priceless. And I found Little Women's appearance on this list interesting, as I never thought so much about the apples in the book.

I had a thought, though, while I was reading this list: "Yep, there's that Enid Blyton again. I can't believe I've never read her books." I'm saying it here, loud and proud: I've never read Enid Blyton. You know who else I've never read? Roald Dahl. That's right. I know what the books are about, and I can recommend them to any kid (I have for years). But never read one. Who else? Yeah, Neil Gaiman - never read his novels. I have tried over and over again to get into Coraline but can't do it. And I have one more I'm dying to get off my chest: Laura Ingalls Wilder. Not a single paragraph.

Do you want to know another confession? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. I have, at one point, faked reading all of these authors' books. I haven't outright lied...but when other people were talking about them...I sort of nodded my head and put the necessary expression on my face, implying I knew exactly what that person meant. Why? Because it drives me crazy that I haven't read everything, and I hate admitting that I don't have all the time in the world to read.

There. I've aired some dirty laundry. Anything that any of you want to admit?

I'm sort of making a point here. Does this make me a bad librarian because I haven't read these books? No, absolutely not. There are how many books out there? Exactly. How can a librarian be expected to read all of them? I do need to stop sorta-lying, though, about which ones I've read. That's wrong.

So the point I'm really trying to make, of course, is that once again food and children's literature intersect. Kind of.

Eat, drink, and read as much as you can...one book at a time


Anali said...

Okay, Neil Gaiman I get - I've only read one of his books myself, though I'd like to read more. But no Little House? No BFG!!?!?! What did you DO growing up?

I use the Anne books, and Little House as therapy - every time I get frustrated with today's society, I escape into good ol' PEI and read some serious gossip.

Unknown said...

I know, I know. Dirty secret, right? The whole time period of Little House just puts me off - I'm still not motivated to read it. Roald Dahl, on the other hand...I've always wanted to read his books...but just...I don't know. I'm like the 40-Year-Old Virgin of Books!

I agree with you about Anne. I would gladly pack my bags this instant and live in Lucy Maud's vision of PEI.

Erin said...


The Witches! BFG! Matilda! Anything!!

Unknown said...

What did I do growing up? I read Anne of Green Gables, Ramona, and Harriet the Spy.

And then when I turned 11, I discovered Sweet Valley High.

Anonymous said...

I have to confess that I have read precious little of Mr. Dahl as well - though I did read James and the Giant Peach and went "Wow, that was wonderful and ... strange." Neil Gaiman I understand, because I feel like his kids books are very much to a certain taste. But OMG, Laura. How did you miss out on Little House??? If it weren't for Ms. Wilder, I wouldn't know how to make a curing shed out of a hollowed out log!

Mary said...

Never read a bit of Judy Blume. Some of my peers don't know how I got through adolescence. Back in the day I read Little House the way some kids read Harry Potter, but no tut-tutting from me. A wise nun I once knew said, you can never talk a person into faith, they have to find it. So it is with a book (though she'd probably accuse me of oversimplifying her message).

Little House in the Big Woods did, however, have some of my favorite food scenes ever. Thanks to LI Wilder I longed for a sugar snow and used to think there couldn't be anything more wonderful than a pig butchering. Ah, the magic of literature.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Snow Cone, for not tut-tutting me. I never would have thought that a quote from a nun would prove relevant here but, indeed, it truly has. And I'm kind of with you on the Judy Blume thing - I didn't read her much as a kid.

In addition to the comments here, Lori! is a friend of mine and spend a considerable amount of time on the phone with me, explaining why Little House was so great. And I'll confess that she didn't convince me in the least (sorry, Lori). I watched the show as a kid and I've browsed the books...meh. Lori said to me, "Wilder makes you feel like you're there. To which I responded, "That's the thing - I don't really want to be in the Old West, thanks."

All of that, Snow Cone, and you convinced me in one word to give the books a try: FOOD. Sugar snow and pig butchering? I am so THERE. I'll add Little House to my list.

And I buckled under peer pressure and checked out The Witches from the library. Can't do Matilda because Danny DeVito single-handedly destroyed that story for me.

Lastly - phew! - what part of the Pacific Northwest are you from, Snow Cone? I lived in Salem and Olympia...

Mary said...

Hi Laura -- I'm now living on the dry side, eastern Washington -- Spokane, specifically -- but went to the UW and lived in Corvallis for awhile. We used to go to Salem for its children's museum and Costco. What made you jump coasts?

I think Little House is more like a fairy tale of the West. I don't think I have a drop of pioneer blood in me and I'm not drawn to Western Lit. But Little House made it all seem like some sort of lovely, happy existence. And I'm not sure how I'd feel about it reading it now, as an adult, with more background knowledge of settling the West than I had at 7 or 8 or 9. I read her post-series book, On the Way Home, I think it's called. The reality of the relentless difficulty of that life was clear in a way that it never seemed to be in the series. In fact, we drove across South Dakota and Minnesota this summer and I wondered what in the world made Pa keep wanting to move further into unyielding, unsettled prairie? But to my kid-self it was all magic. Read Big Woods and you'll want nothing more than to taste a deep-fried pig tail on a stick!