Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Memories






Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is reading memories. It’s story time! Grab your cookies and your juice box. I’m going to tell you about all the places I’ve read books. (You’re excited, I can tell.)







Reading Memories










I read The Tommyknockers in a trailer . . .




A lot of my schooling wasn’t done in actual school buildings. Our classrooms were doublewide trailers dumped in fields. I read my first Stephen King book in one of these trailers. I was eleven years old when I snuck The Tommyknockers out of my parents’ bedroom and brought it to school with me for silent reading time. I fell in love with Stephen King in a hot, dimly lit trailer that always smelled like string cheese for mysterious reasons.










I read Life of Pi outside . . .




When I was younger, my family camped a lot. One summer, Life of Pi was my “camping book.” I dragged it all over the wilderness with me. I remember finishing it in some random botanical garden and being completely shocked by the ending.


Me, camping and reading. The book in that photo is The Handmaid's Tale, but you get the idea.











I read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at driving school . . .




Half-Blood Prince came out when I was a teenager. I brought the book to driving school with me so that I could read on my breaks instead of socializing with the other kids like a reasonable person. Our driving instructor saw me reading it, and we ended up spending our breaks talking about Harry Potter. He was just as obsessed with the series as I was.

(Oh, this reminds me of a tangent: My driving instructor was a strange dude. When we got to the actual driving part of school, he treated our driving lessons like therapy sessions. He told me about his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s angry daughter. The daughter was the same age as me. Her mother had an affair with my driving instructor. (Yuck.) The daughter blamed my instructor for ruining her parents’ marriage. He kept asking me for advice on getting the daughter to forgive him. I don’t know, dude! If you keep blathering about your love life, I’m steering this car off a cliff.)













I read “On the Rainy River” in a college commons . . .




This is an excellent short story by Tim O’Brien. It’s about a young man who gets drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. At the end of the story, he’s in a boat on the Rainy River, staring at Canada and wondering if he should run. I rarely get anxious while reading, but this story made me so anxious that I had to put it down. I was completely freaking out while everyone around me was eating, sleeping, studying, goofing around, being college people.











I read Jane Eyre while almost dying . . .




This was my first solo camping trip. Actually, it wasn’t really solo because my dog, Kota, was with me. We were high up in the Rocky Mountains, and there was a massive lightning storm in the middle of the night. I had never been that close to lightning before. It kept hitting the mountaintops around us. I was close enough to see where it was striking the ground. I was trying to read Jane Eyre with a flashlight while hugging Kota and thinking Kota, if we die in this place, please don’t hate me in the afterlife.


I took this photo the morning after the storm. You can tell that we got tons of quality sleep.










I remember what was on my nightstand when my dogs died . . .




We didn’t die in the lightning storm (spoiler alert), but Kota died from a stroke a few years later. When he died, the book on my nightstand was The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (which is morbidly appropriate, now that I think about it). When my other dog, Cheyenne, died from cancer earlier this year, the book on my nightstand was The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami.


Kota (left) and Cheyenne (right).










I read Fifty Shades of Grey in the world’s most disgusting dorm room . . .




The cringe-worthy book matched my cringe-worthy setting! Like Fifty Shades, my dorm was seriously gross. It had no heat or air conditioning. It was always really loud. And it was infested with swallow bugs. Before I got in bed to read, I had to shake my sheets and shake my book to knock the bugs out.


The University posted these notes when people were like, "Um, why is this place gross?"
 









I read The House of the Scorpion in a sandstorm . . .




While hiking in Death Valley, California, we got caught in a sandstorm and had to hurry back to the hotel. The sand was blowing so hard that it stung my skin. I still have scratches on my glasses from that storm. The sand got inside my camera and killed it. It almost killed our rental car, too. The sandstorm is one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced, but being out in it was quite unpleasant. That’s how I ended up reading The House of the Scorpion while watching a sandstorm through the window of a hotel.


To the hotel! Quickly!



Selfie. This is when I learned that my hair can be used as a storage space for 10 pounds of sand.










I failed to read The Stepford Wives in an airport . . .




Why are there so many friendly old people in airports? It was early in the morning, and I was waiting for my flight from Kentucky to Colorado. I just wanted to read my book and drink my caffeine. A friendly southern gentleman sat next to me and gave me a long lecture on how the weather in Kentucky differs from the weather in Colorado. I didn’t get any reading done, but I probably learned something about weather patterns. Maybe. I was mostly asleep, to be honest.


Photo I took in Kentucky.










Have you read a book in an interesting place?









62 comments:

  1. I loved reading your tales and thanks for sharing your camping story with Kota. Once again, sorry for the loss of your pups. I always associate my dogs with Winnie-the-Pooh because when our first boxer got sick with leukemia, I would sit and read him Winnie-the-Pooh stories. It sort of stuck and now all our pups hear the tales of Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet. Dorm life, boy I don't miss that. I call my Freshman year the year I lived in a box. It was across from the laundry room and we always had the hugest dust bunnies coming in beneath our door!

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    1. I used to read to my dog when I was a kid. I haven’t tried reading to my current dog. Yeah, dorms are gross. I’m glad I only had to live in one for a few weeks.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. WOW! You've been so many interesting places! Um, I don't really go anywhere, haha. The most "interesting" (read: "weird") places I've read books are floating in the pool (thank you, Kindle Oasis!) and in bars/clubs while I'm supposed to be socializing but am reading instead, haha.

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    1. I’d probably also read in bars and clubs. I’m not the most social person.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. These stories are awesome! That driving instructor sounds . . . um . . . interesting. I know I've read in places other than my house, I just can't really remember those times. Sometimes I do read in the car. Sometimes.

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    1. The driving instructor was unfortunate. I know that nobody likes awkward silence in the car, but he could have turned on the radio or something.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. That camping in a storm story is terrifying!! Lightening freaks me out and I don't think I'd be able to focus on Jane Eyre while that was happening! XD And hahahaha at 50 Shades! I still can't imagine you reading that!

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    1. The lightning was terrifying. Fifty Shades was terrifying, too . . .

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  5. I've never read Jane Eyre though I do like the film adaptations, but gosh! You're far braver than I to camp by yourself - and then to have to suffer through the lightning storm!? *shudder* Glad everything worked out in the end. :)

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    1. I’m very happy that I didn’t die. I was waiting for the lightning to hit the camper and fry us.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. This is such a creative post idea, I love it! I might have to write my own spin on one. I just got my driver's license recently, so that driving instructor story hits close to home. I can imagine how awkward it would be trying to focus on driving skills while managing love life stories, haha.

    claire @ clairefy

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    1. It was hard. I can’t be a marriage therapist and focus on not crashing the car at the same time.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  7. This is brilliant! I loved learning your book stories here and catching a glimpse of your campervan. Much of my recent reading has been on campsites and curled up in our caravan!

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    1. Thanks! My camper is smaller than most around here, but it’s better than a tent.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. I love reading your stories! Reading in a sandstorm is definitely not your everyday reading location. Just thinking about your dorm room makes me shudder--I am so not a bug person.And wow, interesting driving instructor experience, haha. Thanks for sharing all of these with us!

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    1. I’m not a bug person, either. Having to shake them out of my bed was traumatizing.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  9. These are some great stories! Love some of the unique places you read at, though not really the disgusting dorm room :)

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  10. Great Stories, I also read The Things They Carried in college. I tend to only read inside as boring as that sounds lol
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

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    1. I mostly read inside, too. Outside is too distracting.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  11. Aww I loved reading about little pieces of your life! It was so cool. And your pups were gorgeous little cuties. Sorry they're gone, sending all the love your way that is never an easy thing to go through. Hugs!! I still need to read The Graveyard Book. I'm hoping maybe this fall! Awesome stories :)

    Heather @ Heather's Reading Hideaway|My Top Ten Tuesday!

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    1. Thanks! I love my dogs. They were so sweet and happy.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  12. Great stories, and I loved being advised to grab my juice box and cookies in order to hear about your experiences with Stephen King and 50 Shades! I am also rather envious of the camper van. I was raised to believe that the only real camping was in a tent or under the stars, and as I age, that means I have less enthusiasm for camping. (My parents slept on the ground while camping well into their sixties.) So I've been daydreaming about a little camper van...

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    1. Haha, you need a lot of cookies and juice to get through my stories. We did a lot of tent camping when I was a kid. The camper is a lot more comfortable.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  13. So many great parts about your post! And, honestly, I've been laughing for a good long while about your memories re: FSOG. "The cringe-worthy book matched my cringe-worthy setting! Like Fifty Shades, my dorm was seriously gross." SLAY.

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    1. Yeah, you can probably tell that I’m not a 50 Shades fan. ;)

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  14. LOL at Fifty Shades of Grey matching your reading environment! And that driving instructor sounds like an.. interesting guy.

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  15. First you had me laughing and then I was crying for your pups. I am amazed at how everyone remembers so many details. I am terrible at that sort of thing. I remember all my school reading, but I am really fuzzy on anything distinct with any other books.

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    1. I was going to skip this topic because I didn’t think I remembered details, but when I really thought about it, I managed to come up with 10. I guess my memory is better than I thought.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  16. That camping trip in the mountains sounds so scary, although somewhat appropriately atmospheric for a book that had a mad woman locked in the attic, lol. I love all of the personal pics you included in your post too :)

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    1. Yes! I actually read the part about the mad woman during the storm. The timing did seem to work out perfectly.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  17. That is funny (kind of?) about your driving instructor. Wow, talk about awkward. You just never know with people. Oh and "we'll learn ya?" That... is all awesome.

    And wow that sandstorm sounds both amazing and scary.

    And more wow about the lightning storm. Reading that made me think of that old song Riding the Storm Out lol. Now I gotta go find it on Youtube and listen... the brain is weird. :)

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    1. I don’t think I’ve heard that song. I’ll have to look it up on YouTube.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  18. What great stories! My family also used to camp a lot, and I'm sure my mom has pictures of me that are really similar to the one you posted :-) Also, that dorm situation? DISGUSTING. I don't know if I would have made it! Here's my TTT.

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    1. I’m glad I only had to live in that dorm for a few weeks. I don’t think I could have made it much longer. The bugs, heat, and constant noise made it impossible to sleep.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  19. I don't usually do Top Ten Tuesday, but this one sounds excellent! Thanks for sharing so many stories.

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  20. I'm amused by the friendly weather man! I love your take on this week's list and I'm also amazed by the travels you've done! I've been out during a lightning storm once; it was a breath takingexperience for me. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us!

    Camillea Reads

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    1. Bored airport people are interesting. The dude did know A LOT about weather.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  21. I don't read anywhere interesting! I take books on holiday but rarely read them as I'm too tired at the end of each day shopping and sightseeing! So pretty much all of my reading is done in my house! I enjoyed your post though. The driving instructor sounds weird. I hate it when random strangers sit beside me and want to talk as I just like being left alone especially when I'm reading.

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    1. I don’t read very much when I go places, either. I’m too busy doing stuff.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  22. Love this post and all your stories behind the books!

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  23. That driving instructor though?! How terribly freaky agh. Talk about emotionally dumping on someone!! And I'm sorry about your dogs...😭When our childhood dog died I don't actually remember reading anything particular, but it was like 10+ years ago now but I still feel sad about it. Dogs are too precious and we don't deserve their goodness.😭 (Although I have a new dog but he's a brat but I still love him haha.)

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    1. I think the driving instructor needed a friend. A friend who wasn’t also a student. It’s awkward trying to drive and answer some random dude’s questions about his love life.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  24. Hahahaha these are interesting places indeed! I don't recall reading outside either a car, a house, a train, a plane or my garden.

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    1. Coming up with this list was a struggle. I mostly just read in my bed.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  25. OH wow, that dorm room where you read 50 shades of gray... well, at least it perfectly matched the book? haha. And wow, those driving lessons were probably... interesting haha, but a bit annoying, I can't imagine focusing on my driving while having to hear everything about this guy's love life haha. :)
    Lovely post :)

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    1. It was challenging. I can’t answer awkward questions and drive at the same time.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  26. I wouldn't have blamed you one bit for driving that car off the cliff.

    Check out my TTT and my current giveaway

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    1. I was tempted, and we drove up toward the mountains, so cliffs were plentiful. :)

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  27. Reading so you don't have to deal with people on breaks. I totally understand. lol

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    1. Yes. My breaks are breaks from EVERYTHING, including other people.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  28. I love all of this memories! lol you driving school instructor is ridiculous. AND omg! I'd never even heard of swallow bugs and they BITE!? ugh dorm life is the worst sometimes!

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  29. Listen, I also bring book with me to places so I don't have to socialize with other people. Very relatable. Your dogs were beautiful. I'm sure they had a really good life with you.

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  30. I'm beginning to wonder if like. Being distracting and dramatic while your stressed-out student is trying to learn to drive a car is the driving instructor way... mine often have very loud discussions on the phone while I attempted to use a motor vehicle. (Fortunately many of those weren't in a language I spoke so it was easier to tune them out than if it was in a language I was able to follow the conversation in... but still! Probably more sound in the car than I needed.)

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  31. This list is glorious and Kota, my goodness looks like he (she?) needs a good long rest! It's entirely reasonable to be reading Harry Potter on your breaks at driving school *nods*

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  32. Doesn't it freak you out reading Li of Pi while camping though? I mean, that's a bok about being lost out at sea and all...

    Well, I guess I'm just a scaredy cat (haha). Great post!

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  33. I absolutely love this post! And that you remember where you read all of these books! Especially Harry Potter! Socializing or reading?! Is that even a question HA!
    Jen @ Star-Crossed Book Blog

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  34. I love camping, but I could never do it alone. Didn't you see the movie about the guy who had to cut his own hand off? Yikes! 😱 Ha ha. You are a brave woman

    I had never heard of swallow bugs before, I had to Google. 🐞

    Your driving instructor story... funny, but also a bit creepy. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜―

    Have you ever done a blog post about your unique schooling environment? πŸ“–

    I guess the weirdest place I ever read was my carnie perch when I ran a skee-ball game one summer with a traveling midway show. Ha ha. Worst job ever. 🎑

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  35. Lol... what a very adventurous reading life you have had! Though... come to think of it - I also have read books in some odd places over the years... Perhaps I should dredge up some of those memories - if it's okay to pinch your idea, AJ?

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