Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Summer of Reading Serial-ly from Jody Feldman

It was the summer between 5th and 6th grades. We moved to a different house that was only about 3 miles west-southwest, but without Facebook and iPhones, it might as well have been 300 miles from the neighborhood friends I’d had for life. And so started the season of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

Thanks to my older cousins having outgrown the series (if one can truly outgrow any book), my aunt had boxed up the full set of each and handed them over to us. I might have outgrown them myself, now venturing into Agatha Christie, but there was, I’m thinking, something comforting about the predictable plot in each book. My world was going to be scary come September, and yet there was Nancy. There were Frank and Joe. And if they could face hardened criminals at their age, I could face a classroom full of strangers.

That sounds a lot braver than I was. And more insightful. But most mornings I would start a book; most afternoons, lay on a raft in our 18"-deep vinyl backyard pool, then come in and cool off by finishing that day’s mystery.
Yes, that's me on the left.

For me, summer reading was also, and thankfully, a break from the sad animal books–think Rascal, The Yearling, Sounder–our teachers insisted we read in class. The books were fun and playful and exciting. They imparted useful advice ... like teaching me how to tense my ankle and wrist muscles in the event someone bound them with rope ... after kidnapping me, of course.

And even though that big, bad summer between 5th and 6th grades was filled with underlying apprehension, the reading whisked me away. And maybe that’s one reason why I write the books I do, to recapture that sense of adventure and hope, to give other readers the escape hatch I loved so much.

Jody Feldman’s second book in the series, The Gollywhopper Games: The New Champion is being released on May 27, just in time for summer reading.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this...and the pictures. One of my summers was spent with good old Trixie Belden and Sherlock Holmes. I have been searching for old copies of Trixie...no luck so far but will continue the search!

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    1. I think that Nancy Drew box did have a Trixie or two, but I don't remember reader that/those. Wonder if I still have her. Hmmm.

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  2. Jody, you're a reader/writer after my own heart. I still own all my Nancy Drew books - some original editions I got from the asst nurse at the orthodontist office in 5th grade! (Yeah, braces early my teeth were so bad). She gave them all to me. They had been her mother's. :-)

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    1. Oh. Braces! Three years then 4 more of retainers until I just gave up. But more important, original editions! Holy cow!

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    2. I know! So lucky - and didn't even realize it until a few years ago . . . :-)

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  3. So true--books are the BEST escape.

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  4. OMG - that looks just like my bookshelf from when I was that age. I ended up loving Agatha Christie, too! Such a small reading world.

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  5. There's a reason why some series exist and some authors are frequently published. Good is good.

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  6. I loved this post, Jody! I am looking at my top shelf full of Nancy Drews right now! :)

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