One of the fun parts of being a grumpy old fart is the implicit permission to wax nostalgic for either your childhood, or a heavily-romanticized version thereof. Large parts of my formative years were miserable and traumatic enough that it would take some Soviet Union-scale revisionist history to make me nostalgic for them, but there are the occasional thing that I remember with some degree of fondness.
A lot of them have to do with books.
My parents, for all their many faults, encouraged me to read, and managing to foster a lifelong love of books in me probably counts among their few successes where raising me was concerned. By age nine, I was making biweekly trips to the town library, and making a substantial effort towards reading my way through their entire children’s section.
It was a fairly small town, and the library was not well-funded, so their selection of books tended to be a little… dated. Around age seven, I’d read My Side of the Mountain, which made me want to learn survival skills and go become a hermit somewhere. (Unhappy childhood, remember?) Around age nine, I’d read my way through their collection of ancient Hardy Boys books, and discovered – somehow – the (really much inferior, but that’s another matter) then-fairly-new paperback series featuring Frank and Joe – the “Hardy Boys Casefiles”. Alas, the library only had the first three or four.
It was thus that I was introduced to bookstores…
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