I made a trip to the book fair in town yesterday. It opens once a year, and I always make it a point to visit it. Going to a single bookshop is one thing, but to visit a place where hundreds of bookshops are present… that’s just something else. I left with a number of bags filled with books. I think I spent a little more than I should, but I just can’t resist a good book when I see it.
In one bookshop, I found a collection of books I used to read often as a child. I plopped down before those shelves and started scanning them frantically, trying to locate that one book that will always mean a lot to me, no matter how old I get – the first book I chose myself in a book fair much like this one.
I still remember that day pretty clearly. It is probably my earliest memory. I was only four years old when my parents took me to a book fair for the first time. I had never been in a place with so many books before, and I was enthralled. I don’t think I had discovered my love for books until then, and I don’t think my parents realised it either. I timidly stood by my mother’s side as they scoured aisles with “grown-up” books until we finally passed by one place filled with colourful children books. They asked me I wanted something and I immediately said yes.
Moments later I left the store clutching my first book – a Ladybird edition of Thumbelina. I wouldn’t even let the shop owner put it for me in a bag; I just clung on to it for dear life all the way home. I remember that’s when my “addiction” began, and I was pestering my parents for new books every week. I couldn’t get enough, but every once in a while, I would return to Thumbelina and read it all over again for old time’s sake. It’s my favourite fairy tale.
I’m 24 now, and sometime between now and then, I lost my copy. Even my mother couldn’t tell me where it was. So yesterday as I leafed through the collection of the Ladybird Tiny Treasures, I was hoping against hope that I would find Thumbelina. I looked twice, but it just wasn’t there. To say I was disappointment would be an understatement.
I’m pretty happy with the books I bought yesterday. I even stepped into a store that sells used books for the first time and managed to unearth two books from a series (Sweet Valley) I used to like back in school. However, there’s no denying that hollow feeling I had over not finding that single important book. At least I have my memory to return to.
Do you remember the first book you ever bought/read? Do you still have it? =]
This post is a response to today’s daily prompt, Childhood Revisited.