17 July 2014

Throwback Thursday: ISO Catherine Marshall's Christy


I remember very stealthily absconding with my mother’s copy of Catherine Marshall's Christy when I was about age 10 or 11. I have a feeling that I was drawn to the book because I really, really liked the blue and purple colors on the cover that depicted an exuberantly happy woman standing on a mountain top. I was certainly ambitious at that age, considering I was still struggling with a bit of dyslexia, to start reading this almost 600 page paperback. The reason I could abscond with it is that my mother would read a few pages and fall asleep. I think she was on about page 50 after beginning to read it months earlier. BUT. I. JUST. HAD. TO. READ. IT.

From my recollection it took me a few weeks to finish it, summertime weeks in between swim team practice, meets, hanging out with friends. You know, normal kid stuff. But every night I'd read a chapter or more and I quickly fell in love with this story of a woman on the verge of maturity. Filled with enthusiasm and all sorts of aspirations, Christy Huddleston traveled to the Smoky Mountains and throughout the story found that instead of educating the inhabitants of this Appalachian community, she is the one who discovered a form of inner enlightenment.

There are scenes I still remember vividly to this day. When she discovered the mint with Fairchild in the small mountain stream. I could literally smell, taste, and see that scene take place. The terror on Fairchild’s face when the sun was setting. The absolute astonishment when the telephone was connected and there was instant communication between Cutter Gap and the outside world. The attraction that Christy felt for the minister, David. The support and faith she learned from the Alice, another outsider who adopted and was adopted by the community. And my first book love, the Cutter Gap's doctor, Mac MacNeil. Perhaps that’s why to this day if there is a Scottish hero in the description, the book usually ends up going from Amazon to my Kindle.

Now the interesting thing? While I’ve read and reread Christy about 10 times over the years, I haven’t read it since I began reading digitally. (I rarely, if ever dig those paperbacks out.) So it’s been at least six years or more (I’m guessing 10) since I read Christy. But as you can see, I remember the character’s names, the scenes, the fear, the love, as though I myself had experienced them - in real life. They’re that deeply embedded in my psyche.

So my Throwback Thursday wish for today is that the original unabridged version of Catherine Marshall’s Christy be reissued in its entirety as an ebook. (It is still available as a mass market paperback, published by Avon. Until then, I can visit OpenLibrary.org when I *need* to reread this classic. But that’s truly a stop-gap, as what OpenLibrary offers is a scan of a library book - and not a perfect one by any means. My other choice is to read my the paperback - all 570 pages - that is now a bit too reader unwieldy for this digitized girl.

Now, did you read Christy too? What is the singular book that captured your attention at a young age that you still pick up and reread now? And why?

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Speaking of OpenLibrary.org, don't forget to support your local library. As an admitted bookaholic, I began finding my second home in a library at a very young age. No wonder my personal library (physical and digital) has to be organized by subject, author, and title!

Truly, your library is a resource that provides a way to explore and support authors that is unparalleled. In addition to OpenLibrary.org (that anyone, anywhere can join for free), I know that I've been able to discover authors and books through my library's Overdrive collection that are truly amazing. Also, I search for favorite authors and titles and if they're not represented in the collection, I find them through the handy Overdrive tool and suggest them - and many have been added!

If your library doesn't have access to Overdrive, you might want to check with some libraries in larger cities as they might provide access mostly free of charge (with proof of residence) for state residents. Seattle Library offers fee-based access ($85 fee for all WA residents), while Brooklyn and New York Public Library (NYS residents), Free Library of Philadelphia (PA residents), and Houston Public Library (TX residents) offer access free of charge.

Some libraries also offer non-state-residents a library card for a small fee. These include: Brooklyn Public LibraryFairfax County Library (VA), Houston Public Library (TX), Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (NC), Monroe County Public Library (NY). You don't have to visit these libraries in person to sign up, but can do so either digitally or by post (see individual requirements and fees). With your library membership you will have digital access to the library's catalog, including Overdrive and, of course, if you visit the library in person most of these will honor your card for hard-copy book requests.

In addition to these options through your library, Amazon.com offers some other fabulous ways to find new authors and books. If you're an Amazon Prime member you can borrow one book from the Prime Library per month (this is in addition to Prime's free two-day shipping, videos, and music) and Amazon also has a wonderful Lend-a-Book program designed to let you lend a book to a friend from your personal library (you just can't access it for the two weeks it is lent).

So keep reading and let me know what books your ISO that might not yet have made the transition from print to digital.