#TBTMemory No. 39: Reading And Books

Maggie chose this week’s prompts on the subject Reading Culture And Books.

Who were the readers in your family? To an extent, all of us were. Dad read a lot, mostly mysteries like the Nero Wolfe books and the Inspector Maigret ones. Grandma Holton, Dad’s mother, read quite a bit. She an her sister Florence walked to the Rogers Park Branch of the Chicago Public Library, which was kind of a hike, I think at least a half mile. She liked to read mystery novels and also historical biographies. I’ve talked a lot about Mom and how she believed that, if you could read, you could do just about anything. She wasn’t that much of a fiction reader, though. She read the newspaper and Time magazine (in the days when it was actually worth reading) and magazines like Better Homes & Gardens and Good Housekeeping, and would read popular novels like The Thorn Birds and Airport, mostly when she was on vacation. My stepather liked thrillers like the Ken Follett and John LeCarré novels. My brothers and I did a lot of reading for school. I can only speak for myself: in high school, I read MAD magazine and a few music magazines like Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, and Circus, and Sports Illustrated, an annual gift from my Aunt Florence. I was also the kind of music fan who would put an album on and read the album jacketgetting as much information as I could from it, things like the composers of the songs. the name of the publishing company, personnel on each track, name of the producer, recording engineer, remix engineer, cover designer etc. Why? I dunno…

Were there some people who did not like to read or could not read? I didn’t know any.

Did your family subscribe to the newspaper? We subscribed to the Chicago Daily News when I was in high school, then to the Chicago Tribune when the Daily News folded. Mary and I subscribed to the Chicago Sun-Times for a while, and to the Atlanta Constitution and Marietta Daily Journal when we moved to Atlanta.

If you did get the paper, was your Sunday newspaper considered special? What part did you enjoy? We would buy the Sunday papers (Tribune, Sun-Times, and Chicago Today) on Saturday night and read then for the rest of the weekend. I enjoyed the "funny papers," the Sports section, the Entertainment section, the magazine, and the TV books. By Sunday night, usually out of sheer boredom, I’d read the rest of it.

Did you frequent the library at school? Only when I had to.

How about the local community library? Did you have a library card? We didn’t go to the neighborhood library much in Chicago, and Northfield really didn’t have a library. Winnetka did, but I didn’t know where it was.

What was the first book you remember reading? A Golden Book starring Howdy Doody.

Did you have a collection of books (Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Happy Hollisters, etc?) The Hardy Boys (the pre-politically coorect ones) and a lot of books by Leo Edwards that had belonged to Dad and his brothers in the 1940’s (Jerry Todd, Poppy Ott, Tuffy Beans etc.).

Did you read comic books? If so, what titles? Yes: Superman, Batman, Dennis the Menace, Archie, and a few others. (When we were sick, Mom would get some comic books, usually a Superman or Batman and a couple of Archie comics.) And MAD, if you consider that a comic book.

Did you end up a bookworm, a casual reader, or someone who read only when required? A little of all three…

Is there a book from your childhood you would like to read again? If so, what book? There was a book called Alvin’s Secret Code by Clifford B. Hicks that I took out of the St. Ignatius School library every year. I have a Kindle copy of it and read it from time to time.

What book or books have been extremely meaningful or influential in your life? The Golden Age Of Chicago Children’s Television, by Ted Okuda and Jack Mulqueen. I grew up in Chicago during the Golden Age, and reading through it puts me back in touch with myself.

Sorry no GIF’s this week. I had a tiring day at the dentist’s…

Tally-ho and away we go!
See you next week with a brand new show!

16 thoughts on “#TBTMemory No. 39: Reading And Books

  1. MAD Magazine seems sort of “The Onion” of its time. My mad money was scarce as a kid, but I bought MAD and borrowed a zillion books. I thank God there was always a public library to get to –it was also the only way I had an aquarium and/or sleepy gerbils. I miss Howdy Doody, and (except for toggling my fear of Clarabell), I totally enjoyed this stroll — thank you!


  2. I love Mad Magazine and often read it. .my parents read all the time so my mom made sure my brother and I each got a book for Christmas and birthdays. I would love to read especially mysteries like Agatha Christie but also on unsolved mysteries or mysterious places/events etc…
    In high school, I always spent time in the library because, for me, it was safe. I was already told that they were going to slice my throat from ear to ear so I found the library my sanctuary. My first book that I remember were the Grimm Gairy Tales that I loved..not the Disney versions either. I also remember going to the city library and being enthralled with the movie books. I took out a book by Garson Kanin about Teacy and Hepburn. I read that in 2 days. Books are always my love right beside movies. I still have my first movie book. All about film stars which my brother hot me for Christmas. I was sick with over 104 fever Christmas Eve and we were going to cancel opening up gifts that one time because I was so sick. My brother begged for just one and I said ok…well we opened one and then another. When I got that book nothing else mattered. I just started to read and by the end, I had no more fever.


  3. Thanks for joining in John. I forgot all about Mad Magazine. It was great because teachers didn’t like it. LOL I hope you recover quickly from your stomach “off ness.”

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  4. John, glad to see you join in again this week. Sounds like you and your family were well rounded as far as reading was concerned. I loved reading album covers, too, but I doubt I got to the level of detail you did. It is probably part of the reason you are so knowledgeable today. Hope you feel better tomorrow – I go next week.

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    1. I should be good after a good night’s sleep. The hygienist has me swish my mouth with a fluoride treatment, and I always manage to swallow some, and my stomach is always off for the rest of the day…

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  5. Love reading, mostly mysteries. I still have my Nancy Drew collection and add to it if I find any at book sales. We always had a newspaper subscription until the last few years when it got too expensive for the daily. Now we just get Sundays and that entitles us to read the paper online. I’ve posted before that my first real job was at the public library, talk about a dream job.

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    1. Not only that, the paper is practically nothing during the week. You’re better off reading it online. It cuts down on the amount of paper you have to recycle. I wouldn’t be surprised if newspapers moved all their editions to the web eventually. People have iPads now and many prefer reading it there…

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