Friday, November 5, 2010

About the Influence of Books

"In most of our childhoods there have been those books beloved, not because the are marvelous children's books, but because they are marvelous books."
Anna Quindlen

One of my most beloved books - I often think of it as the book - that affected my life as a kid growing up in Manhattan in the 1950's, was Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking. Why did I love this book so much? Because Pippi Longstocking had her own adventures! She did not rely on anyone else to solve problems for her, she did not wait around for adventure to find her, she went out and found it. This is the book that taught me it was okay to be a girl, no matter what the society of the time might be insinuating. It taught me that girls could act on their surroundings. Could make things happen. Could take delight in the world. This book taught me, most of all, that anything was possible. Pippi was my hero growing up and looking back, I still think of her that way.

Can you name a special book that influenced you growing up in any significant way?


  1. I loved reading the Pippi books as a child, but I can't say she really affected me all that much in the way she did with you. At that age, I think the books that probably moulded me a bit were the Nancy Drew mysteries. Nancy went and did anything. She was fearless, resourceful, a take charge person. I wanted to be like Nancy. I wanted to have my own roadster and two best friends who went along with me, no matter what kind of scary or hair brained scheme it may be that would put us in danger or better yet - an adventure! I wanted to be a sleuth during my Nancy years, I was about 10. Then, I discovered Scarlett O'Hara and I won't open that can of worms. Let's just say, unfortunately, Scarlett probably influenced me a lot more than was good for me. I shudder at some of the thoughtless things I did when I was younger - thanks to Scarlett. But, at the same time, she taught me that again, I can be a doer. If I really want something, I've got to go out and get it myself, by hook or crook. I can't expect someone else to get it for me. I haven't always lived up to that credo, over the years life has gotten in the way and commitments have prevented me from doing things I wish I could do, but that Nancy and Scarlett in me still beckons. One of these days...

  2. Oh I discovered Nancy Drew early on as well, Julie. One thing leads to another, I think. Much as I loved Nancy and her adventures, I think I loved The Dana Girls' adventures even more. But I, too, wanted a roadster!! Every time I see a yellow convertible beetle, I think of Nancy. Yeah, it's hard living a life filled with adventure - reality gets in the way. :)

  3. I was a fan of "Cherry Ames, Student Nurse" books and they convinced me to become a registered nurse when I grew up! ;)

  4. I think I vaguely remember those books, Pat. I wish I could say that I became an 'adventurer' when I grew up. :) Well, I once went cross country by bus - does that count? Ha!

  5. Pippi had a huge influence on me, it was by far my favorite book. I also loved The Flying Classrooum, i think the author was called Erich Kästner, and everything by Roald Dahl. They all portray very independent children...

  6. Hi, thanks for dropping by. Books that portrayed independent children influenced me as well. But Pippi was my mentor. :)


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