|April 28, 2016||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Like most of you here, I read a LOT of books growing up.
One of my clearest early memories (besides making my mother shoo the cat off the porch so I could safely go outside without the threat of Mr. Kitty being ANYWHERE in the same vicinity) is me sitting on the lawn in Davis in the summer while boxes were being moved into our new apartment, reading a paperback copy of “The Black Stallion”. As I read the last page of the last chapter, I turned to the first page of the first chapter as if it was the next chapter in the book. I would enter first grade that fall.
It’s interesting because as an adult I rarely read books twice. As a child there were a handful of books I read over and over…and over again.
Although I read all the “standards” growing up – Black Beauty, Misty, King of the Wind, National Velvet – there are only 4 books that captured my heart and imagination enough to practically sear themselves into my soul.
The Black Stallion
OF COURSE one of these books is the Black Stallion. I can’t actually recall when my mom gave me that first copy, or where she got it, but I read it over and over and over. To date I’ve never seen the movie (the only horse movie I’ve ever really liked was National Velvet that I saw as an adult in my 20’s so always figured that movie versions of my horse books were best left well alone). I didn’t own my own copies of this book until my 20’s when my mom gave me (almost) the entire series for my birthday. They aren’t the same covers as the old library versions or ones we owned as a kid, but they are almost as good ;). I still reread them to this day.
If you asked me whether I read this book or The Black Stallion more times, I’d be hard pressed to choose. I adore this book and was absolutely tickled when the real life “Old Bones” horse was featured in an Equus article a couple years ago. As a kid I didn’t spend time dwelling on whether Old Bones was truly a work of fiction or fact – it was a good story, almost as good as The Black Stallion. I was actually a little surprised to see as an adult how true to the “real” story this book was. I know everyone has their “real life horse heroes” like Man-o-war or SeaBiscuit that make them literally tear up – Old Bones is mine.
The last 2 are non-fiction books.
How to be your own vet
This is an EXCELLENT book and still available today – or at least copies can be found fairly easily. It’s surprisingly up to date and practical. Before I was a vet and before there was internet, this was my go to manual as I dreamed of having a horse, and later begin my first forays into horse ownership.
A random horsemanship/horse management book…
that I know longer own :(.
I vaguely remember a yellowish themed color, a drawn horse on the front, and it was bound/sized like the vet book. I can’t believe I don’t have it anymore and didn’t realize that I didn’t until I went to look for it. I tried doing some Google image searches to see if I could get it to come up, but no luck.
It was a general horse book that covered types of bits and how they worked, the riding aids etc. It was as complete an encyclopedia of horsemanship and horse management that you could imagine and i absolutely devoured it.
If visualization is integral to learning a skill, then I had it in spades because of this book. No, you can’t learn everything from a book, but now that we know how important visualization and the mind is to acquiring a skill, I wonder if all the hours spent in this book made a difference many years later when I actually got my hands on a real live horse.
I hesitate to name all the horse books I read the covers off of (many were library books, I tried to check out different copies of the same title so my name didn’t appear as the only reader for 10 consecutive checkouts, sigh). The number is a large one: if there was a horse or a dog or a cat (or hell, a parrot or a shark!) on the cover, I’d read it.
Biggest disappointments were always books with a horse or dog on the cover but the story was about PEOPLE (Jim Kjelgaard’s publisher, I’m looking at you).
If we were expanding this conversation to include other favorite series beyond strictly horse, I would have to add terhume’s dog books (o own chip but NONE of the others and I believe they are out of print?), Dr. Doolittle series and of course the James Harriet books which fortunately we owned and I did not have to check out :). Oh and jack London. And….
I was also really into mysteries and sci fi in addition to dogs and horses. I was seriously blessed with a mom who consistently took us to the library every couple weeks and didn’t blink an eye at the piles of books me and my sisters brought home. I’m trying to remember – I think we were limited to 12? And we had to check out two non fiction books I think?
I really hope that faggot ends up being a reader like me. My husband is not much of a reader at all. I don’t even know what a childhood looks like without libraries and books! I look at the precious few shelves of books from my childhood that I ended up with (because most came from the library) and imagine reading them to her having her read them to her self and it brings me so much joy.
My mum is a clever boots: I could check out as many books as I wanted but *I* had to carry them to the car, which was (coincidentally) parked several blocks away. 🙂
Umm.. Faggot=fig. Stupid autocorrect.
Smart mum! That’s actually very clever…..am filing away for future reference.
I so hear you on the PEOPLE! Lol beaky human character development…
That last one wasn’t CW Anderson’s Complete Book of Horses and Horsemanship, was it? I’m only able to pull up the hardcover image, which has just the horse head, but my softcover one sounds a lot like what you’re describing.
I just google imaged it and I don’t think so. I’ll have to email my mom and see if she remembers (or maybe by some miracle has???) it.
OLD BONES OH MY GOD YES.
I thought no one else had ever heard of that book! I have a paperback copy that I read to absolute pieces. Same illustrations.
If you ever feel the urge, The Black Stallion movie is one of the exceptions to “horse movies are mostly terrible.”
Both those books, yes! My copy of Old Bones had a drawing of his racing head, pretty chestnut with star. And I remember the parts with his companion pony, Peanut, and later Peanut II I think?
Every couple years I drag out my “old horse books” box and re-read for a few weeks. Old friends. My always favorite is King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. Still cry at the end every time. I’ll have to do that this summer and note some of my other favorites.
Black Stallion movie is worth it.
I found old bones at a garage sale a few years ago and it was really cool to read it again! I loved that one as a kid.
Oh my goodness, Old Bones! I used to love that book, and I had forgotten it. I’ll have to look it up. Mel, could the unknown book be one by Margaret Cabel Self, such as The Complete Book of Horses and Ponies or The Horsemans Encyclopedia? I am dating myself here, but I lived and breathed these books as a pre-teen.
I might have better luck going to the library and looking through their horse book section – I have a library with lots of older books there and I remember seeing it in libraries…I know I would recognize it if I saw it. From google searching those books doesn’t look like it’s either of those. UGH! It’s driving me nuts!