Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
It’s time for a nostalgia trip! When I first saw this as a TTT topic, I wondered if I ever put up much about myself all together in one post like this. Sure, these things are scattered across this blog spanning years apart sometimes, but it’s exciting to share things that mean a lot to me in some kind of cohesive, structured manner.
Maybe some of these memories may date me. But below I have decided to share some of the interesting events I had the privilege to attend, and the books that shaped my childhood into the reader that I am today.
Will you walk down memory lane with me?
I need to start off here, because it’s very important to get an understanding of the kind of child I was. Where you normally see kids running around playing all the time with absolutely anything under the sun, I was the weird one who was more concerned if I left the house without a book carried under my arm. I wonder if any of you relate to this?
Growing up, it was a mix between scheduled TV programming time (only the educational channels because my parents wanted me to watch less cartoons), but sometimes these educational channels also had very interesting animated shows.
Such as the lovely Redwall series. My brother and I were enamored with these anthropomorphic animals who were living out some crazy fantasy epics full of battles, betrayals and wild adventures around the far reaches of their known kingdoms. Even though the show (I want to say was PBS?) only featured the storylines from pretty much only 1 book out of the many in Brian Jacques’ amazing series, I fell in love with adventures and fantasies like these.
Thankfully, my fifth grade elementary teacher had some of the book series in her classroom and I would borrow one after the other until I had read them all. No matter that these things were monstrosities to read. Imagine paperback spines that break after too much bending, the font size impossibly small even for a child’s standards, and the tiniest of margins on the edge of the page that your fingers can’t help but smudge the ink over time by accident just by holding the page! Oh, and let’s not forget the sheer number of pages most of these were. Yet, they remain some of my fondest reading memories and a reason why I love fantasies today.
Nancy Drew (and my collection of those yellow spines)
I have made it very clear in many other posts about my adoration for Nancy Drew. These recognizable yellow spines were the books of my fourth grade year, and spurred my adoration for whodunnit mysteries and interesting amateur sleuths who solve them. I personally still believe the iconic canon ones are the 56 yellow spine hardcovers, and I am still going around indie secondhand bookstores looking to finish my full collection of all 56.
I will have to write a separate post one day detailing my collection, and a look at my shelf with what I have so far. But for now, I can at least link you back to a really old post I wrote up about my love for this particular strawberry redhead.
P.S. is it weird that as a child I kinda wished I could have strawberry blond hair because of Nancy? No? Yes?
Anne of Green Gables love
Similarly to Redwall, I am Canadian so of course our television programs aired an Anne of Green Gables animated show too. It definitely fostered my love for this adventurous girl who held such big dreams no matter the obstacles and people who could’ve easily been stumbling blocks in her way. Likewise, these paperbacks were thick (or do the Gen Zs like to call it ‘thicc’??) with almost nonexistent margins that do not think about smudging at all (why???) and tiny font. I adored them! I remember sitting up late at night reading it, imagining life on the gorgeous Prince Edward Island.
While I’m definitely older now, I am no less appreciative of these stories and the entire series. The animated TV show only followed parts of book 1 but has stayed in my heart all these years. Recently, CBC put out the live action version, Anne with an E, and while I had meant to write a post about it, I never got around to it, so this is me doing a quick 10-second promo advertising how much I loved it stuck to amazing parts from the books but also adding great modern components that enable worthwhile discussions surrounding race, feminism and LGBTQ.
I used to always be envious of my lovely neighbours down south because it isn’t very often that an author decides to make a trip over the border to visit us. And if they do, it gets crazy coming to these few and far between events where people line up hours in advance to get a ticket and hope to sit near the front with an unobstructed view of their hero.
Thankfully, I live in the big city so I at least do not have the issue of travelling far. These are the wonderful authors I had the chance to meet with. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to go to some book con and be able to meet more than one author every few years, but until then, I cherish these few memories fondly.
Meeting Jenny Han
Jenny Han’s books are the reason I became a blogger. I loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before when it first came out. I thought it was a standalone at the time, and was happy with even just this one book because I felt seen in a time where Asian representation was rare in YA, even from Asian authors who were already published at this time.
Meeting her was like meeting a hero. I rushed from a work placement to get to this event and it was totally worth it.
Meeting Morgan Matson
I never got around to writing a full post about meeting Morgan Matson, but I was also super grateful for the opportunity to come see her talk about her books – this was obviously around the time Save the Date was out – and likewise, the mad rush for a ticketed spot was worth it. I had just started working at the bookstore (Indigo, of course, because there’re no cool indie bookstores near my area), but unfortunately that didn’t come with the perk of getting to attend these events easier (unless I chose to work the shift at the store hosting the event but that’s not the same).
Brigid Kemmerer auction books
This was a little different as I never got to meet Brigid Kemmerer in person *insert sad face*. But prior to her NYT bestselling Cursebreakers series, she wrote some amazing contemporaries that shook my heart and I had the pleasure of receiving some signed copies that I won from an auction funding Puerto Rican relief a couple of years back. My school friends thought I was a *little* crazy for being willing to part with the amount of money I did for 2 books, but hey, it’s for charity AND I get some awesome book mail out of it. Win-win, right?
P.S. I look really tired in this picture. Don’t mind the eyebags. Grad school will do that to you.
Working for the bookstore
Speaking of grad school, I had two days off per week during one semester and thought I might as well use it for something productive because I sure was not going to be spending those days working super efficiently on my projects and homework. So of course, I applied randomly to work as a seasonal hire at the local Indigo bookstore. I honestly did it for fun, never thinking I’d be hired.
Little did I know, they liked me? At every stage, I kept thinking they’re going to realize I love reading but what do I know about selling? And then when they called saying I was hired, it freaked me out (and I was in a very public restaurant at the time so not the best freak-out place), and I took it without hesitation – okay, a little hesitation because I was s also still a busy grad student (see eyebags in photo above for a reminder).
But I never looked back to this experience without a lot of fondness! Yes, I worked two jobs for 4 months at one point (my full time placement for school AND maintaining part time hours at the store), but I loved it. I thrived here. I regretted having to leave because of the work I do now. But I learned not only can I sell books and help people find interesting things to read based off of sometimes SUPER vague descriptions of what they like, I also realized I love doing it. It reminded me why I love blogging and writing reviews. I stopped for a while on this blog because it wasn’t fun anymore, you know? But it was an old reminder of why I started in the first place. To share my love of reading with other readers.
During my time at the store, I had the perk of being a “bookseller” and attending wonderful publishing company events. As a bookseller. Still baffles me and astonishes me that I got the chance. I met wonderful authors there (without having to wait in line for hours!), like the lovely Lesley Livingston pictured above. I got more physical books than I could possibly hold on my bookshelf (and the sole reason why my shelves look too hideous to ever do a #bookshelfie). I loved this opportunity so much, I even went alone sometimes whereas most people brought colleagues from their store with them. It was a dream come true for a lifelong reader like myself. And maybe one day, I’ll get to go in person back into their wonderful buildings as a book blogger instead.
Phew, that was a long one. I hope you enjoyed a little timeline glimpse into who I am as a reader and book lover, the memories and experiences that shaped me. I sometimes complain that this isn’t fun or that it’s not worth all the extra time I put into blogging and creating content, but then I think of things like these and I remember this is never supposed to be a chore, but a privilege I get to share my love of reading with fellow book lovers like you.
Thank you for stopping by ❤