January 23, 2015

Ode to My Favorite Childhood Reads

I'm really not a short-story reader. Not a novella reader either. I don't even like really short novels. You won't find a book that's only 50,000 words long on my bookshelf unless someone has given it to me as a gift. Whether or not I'll actually read it is kind of a crapshoot, depending on my mood.

I don't know why I'm not a fan of the shorter story form. I'm well aware that it takes talent to write short and succinct. I'm not denigrating the short story or trying to say that people who like short books are wrong. Frankly, sometimes I wish I enjoyed shorter books. But whatever the reason, they're just not something I choose to read. 

The only exception to this "rule" of mine are children's books and stories. Among my favorite books of all time are the Childcraft books my parents bought when I was a kid. The set consisted of 15 volumes, and I loved them all, especially Volume 3, "Folk and Fairy Tales," which was filled with great stories that led me into a lifelong love of stories and the written word.

My favorite story of all from that book was called "Tom Tit Tot," a retelling of the classic Rumplestilskin. To this day, if open one of the books I can hear my mother's voice as she read the stories to me. 

A few years ago, a writer's group invited me to speak and presented me with a copy of "Tom Tit Tot" (an Essay on Savage Philosophy in Fairy Tale) by Edward Clodd published in 1898. The book contains the story and then explores variations and influences on the story. It's one of my more treasured possessions. 

But I digress ... 

I've read some of the Childcraft stories to my granddaughters and I love sharing these beloved stories from my childhood with them -- but even though I do my best, I have to admit I don't do the stories justice. Nobody can read these stories better than my mother did. 

For all those reasons, these books will always have a special place in my heart.

What are your favorite books and stories from childhood? 
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Jacklyn Brady is a national bestselling author. She lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series set in New Orleans. The series features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero. Rebel Without a Cake, book #5 in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available now! 

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