Thursday, March 22, 2018


I enjoy books.

I enjoy questionnaires.
So it's only natural that I would enjoy doing a questionnaire about books.

My friend and fellow blogger, Elliott Blackwell, wrote a blog post earlier this week called (quite appropriately, I think) "Book Questionnaire"; I enjoyed reading his answers and thought I'd provide my own. I don't have quite as good a memory for childhood books as he does, but I did my best.

What was the first book you had read to you?
The first book I remember having read to me and my brothers was Nan Gilbert's 365 Bedtime Stories (or as we called it, "What-a-Jolly Street," after the street the children in the book lived on). At bedtime I would join my brothers in their room and Mom would read us one of the one-page stories each night. 

What was the first book you read on your own?
I honestly do not remember the first book, but I know I read independently very early (though not as early as my daughter Allison, who could read at 3-1/2). I was five when my maternal grandfather died, and a cousin of my mom's took me and a couple of my brothers to her house to stay for a few nights. Her daughter, who was in her teens, kept giving me harder and harder books to see how well I could read; I think I made it to grade five level and impressed her pretty well.

What was the first book(s) received as a present?
The first I recall was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which I got for my 10th birthday. I still have it; it is a purple hardcover with a picture of the four March girls on the front.

What was the first book that really made you become a reader?
I can't think what the first one would be (seems to me I was always a reader!), but I do vividly remember One Mitten Lewis, about a boy who was always losing one of his mittens. His mother kept buying him new pairs so he'd always have two that matched, but eventually she gave up and sent him out wearing a red one and a green one; he used them to play traffic light with his friends.

*After rereading my published post, I thought of so many more of my beloved early books; here are two:

  • Heidi by Joanna Spyri - I thought everyone in Switzerland must live on the side of a mountain like the Alm-Uncle, so the one time I went to Switzerland we stayed in Bern and I was disappointed at first that I couldn't see a single mountain! But when I did -- WOW, was it ever worth the wait.
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson - that one fascinated me and I probably read it a thousand times.

What was the first book series you ever read?
Probably the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Who was your favorite author(s) as a child?
I don't recall thinking of them as my favourite authors at the time, but I was absolutely enthralled with the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as well as the Betsy-Tacy-and-Tib series by Maud Hart Lovelace.

What was the first book(s) that transitioned you from reading children’s books to more mature literature?
The book that stands out in that regard is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Up to grade 6 I think I was reading fairly standard kids' fare, but in grade 7 Language Arts we had a far wider range to choose from for independent reading and book reports -- and The Outsiders made a huge impression on me, particularly since it was written by a teenager.

I also recall reading The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson around that time; it had a huge impact on me too.

What book did you read later in life that most people read when they were younger?
The Chronicles of Narnia (read it in my twenties).

What book have you attempted to read but have never been able to finish?
Crime and Punishment.

What book have you read the most?
I am an avid re-reader. The ones I've re-read most are Little Women, Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, and all the Jane Austen novels.

What book do you recommend the most?
Probably Tattoos on the Heart by Father Greg Boyle.

What book changed your life?
Here are several that had a significant impact:
The Power of the Powerless by Christopher deVinck
Silence by Shusaku Endo
Tattoos on the Heart by Father Greg Boyle
Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer
Changes That Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud.

What author would you most like to have lunch with?
Father Greg Boyle, who wrote Tattoos on the Heart and Barking to the Choir about his experiences working with gang members in Los Angeles.

What author do you admire but would never dare to have lunch with?
Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me, We Were Eight Years in Power, and more -- I think I would be intimidated by him because he is so brilliant.

What literary character(s) would you like to have lunch with?
Elinor Dashwood, Professor Dumbledore, Frodo and Sam.

What are 5 of your favorite books?
Little Women 
The House of Mirth 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 
The Lord of the Rings (yes, that's technically 3 books)

What book have you read that others might be surprised you loved?
This was a hard one to answer. Maybe A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold, the mother of Columbine killer Dylan Klebold -- it's a very painful book about a horrible subject, but I loved it.

What book have you read that others might be surprised you didn’t like?
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

What was the last book you finished?
Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor.

What books are currently on your bedside table to be read?
Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler 
Searching for Boko Haram by my archaeologist brother, Scott MacEachern 
Reclaiming Hope by Michael Wear

What is your most cherished book?
Probably that purple-covered copy of Little Women that I've owned for 44 years. I also really prize my full set of L.M. Montgomery's Selected Journals (five volumes).

Please feel free to share your own picks, or your thoughts about my answers, in the Comments!


  1. Your love of books shows through your memories of reading as a child! I enjoyed reading your answers. The only comment I have is about the book you couldn't finish. I LOVED Crime and Punishment!

    1. That is great, Pam! C&P is one of those books I really feel I SHOULD read before I die, so I may have to give it another go at some point. Thanks for reading and commenting! XO

  2. I read Remains of the Day and kept waiting for the good part. I got to the last page and was still waiting. No one I’ve told this to has ever agreed with me.

    1. I remember you saying that before, Tim. It's been hard not unfriending and blocking you, but I've managed ... Seriously though, I'm slightly sad you don't like it, but I'm sure there are books you like that I don't. That's what makes life interesting. Anyway, enjoy being wrong! (Just kidding!)

  3. I am so impressed, Jeannie! My goodness, I don’t think I could answer most of those questions and I consider myself a book lover! I truly enjoyed reading this post and it has started me thinking for sure. I’m going to try to think back and see what comes to me. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Cindy. I really doubted my ability to remember childhood books until I started the exercise ... and then afterward I started to think about more and more books like Harold & the Purple Crayon, and Heidi ... I might add those above, actually. It is so fun to look back.

  4. That's a great questionnaire and I enjoyed reading your answers. I can't remember much about my childhood books but apparently I used to have a book called Ginger's Adventures read to me which I learned off by heart. My mum say I could recite it all, turning the pages in the right places, so people thought I was reading at the age of 2! I am also a big fan of Rebecca and Harry Potter.

    1. That's so funny about turning the pages of the book, Lesley - my daughter did that too and I suspect I probably did. One of my daughter's first forays into the world of letters was discovering this amazing book at Grandma's: a phone book! She knew her letters but couldn't read; she'd open the book, say "A!" and then turn turn turn... "B!" and so on.

    2. Leslie, my son did the same thing with Ferdinand the Bull! People were always amazed!😊


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