Throwback Thursday (July 12) – The Boxcar Children

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books!

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

You don’t have to be a book blogger to participate! You can put up a Throwback Thursday post on your non-bookish blog; or if you don’t have a blog at all, just use the comments to tell us about a book you remember fondly.

Here’s how it works:
1. Pick any book released more than 5 years ago. Adult, YA, Children’s; doesn’t matter. Any great book will do.
2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it. Make sure to link back to The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books in your post.
3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Feel free to grab the Throwback Thursday button code from the sidebar to use in your posts.

Thanks for participating, and we look forward to seeing which books you choose to remember!

PSA: Mandi is taking some time off from blogging, so she won’t have a Throwback Thursday post up today, but still be sure to link back to her blog as one of the hosts. She was, after all, the original mastermind.

My Throwback this week is…

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Yup, I’m going old school this week and featuring  a series I loved as a kid. The Boxcar Children is the story of four orphans — Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny — who strike out on their own in an attempt to stay together. They wind up taking shelter in an old abandoned boxcar, which they decide to make into their home. And while living in the boxcar, they solve mysteries.

Okay, so this is not the best-written series ever. The plots are far-fetched. The characters are pretty one-dimensional. And there’s nary a shred of realism to be seen.

But you know what? I don’t care. When I was a kid, I loved reading about their chipped dishes and their meals of blackberries and milk. I loved their loving sibling dynamic. I loved the cute little mysteries they’d solve. They were great books to hone my reading skills on, with an interesting story (to an early elementary-schooler, anyway) that kept me working my way through the series.

So no, I’m not recommending you pick this series up as an adult. Few books that appealed to me as a 2nd grader would impress me much now. But if you’ve got an early reader in your life — like I do — this is a great series to introduce them to the wonderful world of chapter books.

Link up your Throwback Thursday post below!

Starting out

I’ve loved to read ever since I could read.

In elementary school, I devoured series like The Boxcar Children and The Baby-sitters Club.

In middle school, I ventured into the world of science fiction with Michael Crichton.

In high school, I dabbled in a variety of genres, from classic literature like Les Misérables, Jane Eyre and Lord of the Rings, to the legal thrillers of John Grisham, to the sweet and semi-sappy romances of Maeve Binchy.

The only limitation I put on myself was that I didn’t want to read anything that was actually written for kids my age. I viewed Young Adult Fiction with distain. I thought the only people who read it were kids who didn’t know any better. I was Above It All.

Then in college, a friend gave me a book for my birthday. It was a gag gift, since it was a series I had made fun of for years (and it wasn’t even the first book in the series). He knew if I owned it, I’d have to read it.

The book was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

I read it.

I loved it.

Fast-forward to over a decade later. I now read what I want. Sometimes it’s books about teenagers, written for teenagers. Sometimes it’s books written for adults about housewives, detectives, spies, reporters, librarians. If it sounds interesting, I’ll read it.

I finally realized that it’s not “mature” to look down my nose at a book simply because of its intended audience. Likewise, I was not winning any brownie points in life by only reading books written for adults (and let’s face it, there’s just as much — if not more — garbage out there targeted at adults as there is for kids).

This year – 2012 – I decided to start writing down my thoughts about the books I read. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I always end each book I read with my head swimming with thoughts, and often no one to share them with. So I’ll share them with you (whoever you are).

You may not agree with me. That’s fine. I don’t agree with anyone on books (or most other things) 100% of the time either.

So here we go.