Good to hear from you Steve, and what better way to wile away your time in a
recalcitrant airport than by corresponding with your old friends (etc.) at
I can’t be positive but I don’t think I ever heard of the 500 hats of
Bartholomew Cubbins, although I do recall getting some Dr. Seuss books for my
kids. Just looked up your favorite here:
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Steven G. Cameron
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 6:37 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: On reading at a young age....
**Sorry. Stuck in an airport. Meant to say that "500 Hats…" was my early
favorite. Even in high school, while waiting for the late bus after athletic
practice, the best place to hang out was our school library. Read anything and
everything. When imminent interruptions were possible, just grabbed any
encyclopedia and read the articles. My fiction choices seem somewhat aimless
today: started at one end of the section and just kept reading. Loved virtually
everything. And today, still an over-educated reader/professor.
/Steve Cameron, NJ
On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 3:32 AM Steven G. Cameron <stevecam@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
**Haven't posted to our list in years… But, books… <sigh>
**In our home, we went to the library every Wednesday (almost 70 years ago).
Still own my Hillsdale, NJ library car (No. 14) — they were just changing to a
new card system. My parents required us to borrow the maximum four books each
week. That mandate was totally unnecessary. A good deal of my free time was
spent in the library, still is.
**My early favorite was _
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins_.
Even in high school, while waiting for the late bus after athletic practice,
the best place to hang out was
On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 12:32 AM John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Very interesting questions about those books we chose for ourselves. One of my
great pleasures as a tween was having my mother drop me off at a public library
while she went shopping and did other errands. Started out by reading a lot of
what would now be called Young Adult fiction, then, around the age of 12 or 13,
slipped into the Adult stacks, where I discovered my first bodice-rippers, a
series of wonderful trashy novels by F. Van Wyck Mason, mostly nautical
adventures with pirates, battles, and, yes, bodice-ripping. Very exciting to a
Also, if I may, another category to add to your list, books given to us. On my
thirteenth birthday, my maternal grandfather gave me complete sets of the Tom
Swift boy inventor and Tom Corbett Space Cadet series. What madly optimistic
pictures of the future they contained. Still lots of villains, but also
intrepid heroes who got them in the end.
Turning to Lawrence and Oz. My musings about the effects of what we read as
children is shaped by an intersection between what was read to and later read
by my daughter and my career in advertising, where I learned how little of what
we happen to see or read has any effect at all. Our daughter grew up in a home
full of books and started reading very early. She certainly recalls Mother
Goose and The Wind in the Willows, but also Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild
Things Are and Leon Leonni’s Frederick, about the mouse who was a poet and “I
know it.” Then came Shel Silverstein and science fiction like Heinlein’s
Starship Troopers and Orson Scott Card’s Enders Game. And this barely scratches
the surface. That makes trying to understand which threads from these and
multiple other sources were influential on her parental guesswork at best.
Sent from my iPad
On Mar 10, 2020, at 6:03, Ursula Stange <Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
My background is in philosophy and history (more of the same eventually, but
never piled higher and deeper). I didn’t start teaching until almost my 50th
English is my second language (I was six when my parents dragged me across the
ocean and deposited me in Chicago) and I had difficulty reading in 1st grade.
My mother, who had trained as a teacher in Germany, undertook to teach me
phonics and I became a voracious reader. Interestingly, my four brothers and
sisters had no such trouble and so they did not get the individual phonics
treatment. For years after, I was the only one in the family who read anything
not assigned in school....almost all the charm, all the insight, all the
adventure was in that outside-of-school realm. If there was nothing else, I
read cereal boxes (a habit which served me well when I came to Canada and tried
to learn French).
John thinks we overestimate the influence of the books we happen to
read....somewhere here lies my point: I was questioning whether, in fact, we
merely ‘happen’ to read them. I’m thinking not of the books our parents choose
and read to us, but of the books we seek out ourselves in our early and mid
teens. How do we and they find each other?
David, when you’re done with the theses (or you break free for a walk around
the yard), query the chickens....they may have thoughts on this.
Far from any virus at the moment,
But with an extra can of tuna or two just in case.
On Mar 9, 2020, at 2:02 PM, david ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Mar 9, 2020, at 10:34 AM, Ursula Stange <Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Safe travels, John (on your way to Oz)....
On Mar 9, 2020, at 12:40 AM, John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Coming late to the party, grabbing a few minutes from preparations for a
flight from Japan to Australia tonight.
The daughter wound up a US Naval Academy graduate married to a very large and
masculine Marine Corps jet fighter jock. I have long felt that people with
literary tastes overestimate the influence of the books they happen to read.
Good one, Ursula.
Overestimate and underestimate imply a norm. My experience of college students
suggests that reading as a pastime is waning. Perhaps it will wax again, but
at present they seem little influenced by books.
My first degree was in Literature; my second was in History. One reason for
the switch is that I felt less passion than others about, say, “The Divine
Comedy.” First World War poets engaged me, but the war itself seemed more
interesting as a puzzle.
I have long since brought the two subjects into a balance that works for me.
off to read two hundred pages of theses in