Stacey Loscalzo

Aug 06

By the Book

by Stacey

I have always loved the New York Times Book Review for obvious reasons.

My new favorite part of it though is By the Book, a weekly section in which authors reveal their lives as readers.

I read this section each week but this week, I found myself taking notes.

J. Courtney Sullivan sounds like someone I would like to have in my book club. Or to have over for coffee. Or lunch. Or really anything.

It all began with the first sentence…

A glimpse at my night stand gives the mostly true impression that I am a book hoarder. At present, there are three stacks taking up every inch of space: one for research, one for pleasure and one that I’ll call The Permanent Collection, made up of some of my favorites.

This nightstand sounds a lot like mine only a whole lot neater.

But then there was the list of books that had meant the most to Sullivan during her childhood…

When I was 8, I fell madly in love with Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” An only child at the time, I romanticized life among the March sisters and wished I could be one of them. I wrote stories and plays like Jo. I drew on the walls like Amy. I even memorized Beth’s death speech and performed it when my parents had dinner parties.

I also adored “The Secret Garden.”  “Anne of Green Gables.”  “Tuck Everlasting.”  “Stuart Little.” And anything by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Roald Dahl. My relationship with the “Baby-Sitters Club” series bordered on addiction, and my mom got me heavily into the Trixie Belden mysteries as well. Trixie Belden was like Nancy Drew, but without the boyfriends and cute outfits, which I think is the reason my mother preferred her.

With the exception of the Baby-Sitters Club which for some reason I never read, Sullivan’s list could well be my own.

Anyone else? Startling similarities? Any books Sullivan missed?

I don’t know about you but I’m off to start reading Sullivan’s latest, Maine. If her childhood reading list is any indication, I’m going to love my next read…


  1. Lindsey says:

    LOVED Maine and I think you will too! My list is similar though would include A Wrinkle In Time …

  2. Stacey says:

    Oh you’re right! I loved A Wrinkle in Time too which is funny because now, I really don’t like Sci Fi…

  3. Gloria says:

    Why is it that whenever I see these lists of books we read when we were young, I am the only one who read the Cherry Ames series? (She was a nurse – the series started with Nursing School, then she had several startling careers – Army nurse, cruise ship nurse, private nurse, etc). I guess my future was set in stone, Stace.

  4. Donna says:

    I’ll be in need of a new book soon, so let me know how it is. To her list I’d add my obsession: The Black Stallion books. And (showing my age) I loved Nancy Drew!

  5. Jen Robinson says:

    My list would be similar, too. Like Lindsey I would add A Wrinkle In Time. Also anything by Elizabeth Enright or Zilpha Keatley Snyder. And like you, I did not read the Babysitters Club. But still … kindred reading spirits all around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *