Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday- The Book Remembers When

This Week's YA Highway Road Trip Topic:
What book brings back memories?

This one stumped me for a bit. One of the best things about books, for me anyway, is that they exist outside my everyday life. Things in books can remind me of real life feelings and events, but I don't have many books embedded in those events.

So, I'm going to stretch the definition of "book" a little and use a short story, a short story in verse even.

See, my junior year of high school we had to pick a poem from a list and recite it in class. Memorized. Most were only a half page long, but there were a few long ones you could get bonus points for, and I picked one of those. The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe.

You probably know it even if you don't know you know it:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, 

and, probably Poe's most famous line:

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

You can read the whole thing HERE if you want. I'd forgotten how long it was. I can't believe I memorized all that (to tell the truth, I remember floundering some toward the end).

Anytime I think about this poem or see it mentioned, tons of memories come back. I remember the time of year (fall), the guy I was dating at the time (Brian), the teacher I had (Mr. McIntyre) all floods back and puts me right back there, like what normally happens only with a song.

What about You? What book or piece of fiction brings back memories for you?


  1. I remember, while in school, learning long speeches for plays I was in, or quotes for exams that today make me wonder "how on earth did I do that?" An interesting take on this question. I especially find it interesting (not in a negative way) that books don't conjure up memories of place or time for you. I suppose since so many books have attachments to specific times in my life, I just assumed this was the case for everyone. That's what makes the world a fascinating place. :)

  2. "One of the best things about books, for me anyway, is that they exist outside my everyday life." Such a good point. Most of my book memories are related to strong responses I had to the stories, or where I was while reading. Although some old favorites--like Caddie Woodlawn--some of the details almost blend with my own childhood because I read it so many times. (My childhood was not frontier-y, so that's kind of weird, I guess.)

  3. Haha, that's a great one! That's how I remember The Scarlet Letter, too. :)

  4. One of the ones that brings back memories is Aranka Siegal's Upon the Head of The Goat: A Childhood in Hungary, 1939-1944. I first read it during the spring of 1995, in preparation for a paper for my 10th grade-level English class on Shoah denial. This was at a time when I was coming back to my long-suppressed desire to convert, and during the scene where two anti-Semitic toughs are threatening and yelling at Piri and her sister Iboya, I felt as though I were on that street being threatened.

  5. When my kids are reading certain books I read in high school, they are triggers for me. Like how I missed the first three days of senior year due to stomach flu and missed all of Beowulf (and the first days of senior year!) or reading Great Gatsby and memories of my junior year.

    Great post!