Saturday, December 11, 2010

Junior High Girl

17 Book Rosamond du Jardin Collection

Although I read many books between 4th grade and junior high, the written record is incomplete, because I slacked off when it came to compiling my comprehensive master list. I resumed, however, in my splayed and earnest junior high cursive, writing out the titles and authors of all the teenage girl books that my friends and I were reading. As you will no doubt observe, the "mass market paperback" is well represented, but you'll also find a sprinkling of middle-brow classics.

I was better in those days than I am now at reading a number of titles by a single author. If I liked one, then I could easily remain true through half a dozen more. These days, I've grown more fickle; if I'm not totally enamoured the first time, well, it's one strike and you're out.

Way back then when the days were long, one of my reading strategies was to pick up a volume of Readers' Digest Condensed Books -- often while babysitting for sleeping children, find a story that I liked, and read it quickly to pass the time until the parents returned. Then in the following weeks, I would go to the library or the bookmobile ~ a fortnightly treat in our neighborhood! ~ and check out or request all the additional novels I could find by whatever author I had most recently discovered.

Skimpy, sketchy, and flawed though it may be, here's the list as it has been preserved:

1968 - 73

Jane Austen: Emma
Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights

Louisa May Alcott
Little Women
Little Men
Jo's Boys
Eight Cousins
Rose in Bloom
An Old Fashioned Girl

Pearl S. Buck
The Good Earth
The New Year

Taylor Caldwell
Captains and the Kings
Dear and Glorious Physician
Great Lion of God
Prologue to Love
On Growing Up Tough
The Search for a Soul: Taylor Caldwell's Psychic Lives
(by Jess Stern)

Barbara Clayton: Decision for Sally

Lloyd C. Douglas
The Robe
The Big Fisherman
Magnificent Obsession
Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal
Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Rosamund du Jardin
Class Ring
Practically Seventeen
Senior Prom
Wait for Marcy

Dorothy Eden: Waiting for Willa

Louanne Ferris: I'm Done Crying / Lillian Roth: I'll Cry Tomorrow
[I read these two together one night]

Catherine Gaskin
Edge of Glass
Property of a Gentleman

Rumer Godden & Lydia Halverson: The Kitchen Madonna

Arthur Hailey
Hotel St. Gregory
The Final Diagnosis

Victoria Holt
The Secret Woman
The Curse of the Kings
Kirkland Revels
The Mistress of Mellyn
The Pride of the Peacock
The Shadow of the Lynx
The Queen's Confession

Hope Dahle Jordan: Take Me to My Friend

Frances Kerns: The Stinsons

Grace Gelvin Kisinger: The New Lucinda

Irma Knott: This Thing Called Love

Janet Lambert: Forever and Ever

Katie Letcher Lyle: I Will Go Barefoot All Summer for You

Norah Lofts: How Far to Bethlehem?

James Vance Marshall: A Walk to the Hills of the Dreamtime

Melisssa Mather: One Summer In Between

Marjorie McIntyre: The River Witch

Florence Crannell Means: Reach for a Star

Iris Noble: Megan

Glendon Swarthout: Bless the Beasts and the Children

Willard Temple: Too Young To Be a Grandfather

Jean Webster
Daddy Long Legs
Dear Enemy

Phyllis A. Whitney: The Highest Dream

Ruth Wolff
A Crack in the Sidewalk
I, Keturah

And a final favorite . . .
Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk

. . . also loved staying up late
to watch this movie in the summertime!
(song by Doris Day, Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster)

I always liked what Andrea Dworkin has to say about this novel
when she describes her favorite girlhood heroes
in The New Woman's Broken Heart:

" . . . sometime about the 6th grade I got into the heavy stuff. Scarlett O'Hara and Marjorie Morningstar. . . . Marjorie. the thrill of eating bacon for the first time. of course I had eaten bacon all my life. I just hadn't ever before known how dangerous it really was. Noel Airman. An Actor. soon he would be balding, that's how old and evil he was. danger. sex. I could feel his creepy decadence. I looked for it everywhere. I coudn't find it in the grammar school I went to. he would corrupt her. he would corrupt me. . . . I might even go to Hell. I would be an artist. I would be able to feel. I would know everything. I ignored the 2nd part of the book where she married that jerk. none of that for me. keeping kosher indeed" (1 -2 ).

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