The Tattle team is at Book Expo America this week, but we have a couple of light-hearted posts planned for you.

I love this cartoon series from Lynda Barry, The 20 Stages of Reading!

It brought back so many memories. I was at a dinner party in the early days of eReaders where one of the well read guests said she didn’t mind the idea of eReaders, but how was she supposed to judge potential husbands if she couldn’t discreetly peruse their bookshelves? If you can tell a lot about a person by what’s on her shelves at any particular point in her life, the books that we each remember throughout our lives must speak volumes about us.

Here’s my list, with the first 5 tied to my son’s experiences since I can actually remember them for him.

1. First Book:

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. It was the first gift I bought for him, shortly after I found out I was pregnant.

2. First book needed read to us a lot:

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet by Dr. Seuss. It was nice … the first few dozen times.

3. First book we scribbled in:

Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman. This was particularly painful for me since this was the first book I ever read by myself, so it has a very special place in my heart (and on my bookcase). Fortunately, I had the foresight to buy him his own copy first, since I didn’t trust his little 1-year-old hands with my beloved copy.

4. First book from the library:

Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia. I can still picture the illustrations perfectly.

5. Returning them:

Serious meltdown over Captain Raptor and the Space Pirates by Kevin O’Malley and Patrick O’Brien. I, on the other hand, was only too happy to see it go.

6. First author we went crazy over:

Mary Downing Hahn. I read them all, but my favorite was Wait Till Helen Comes. I checked it out of the school library 16 times. After I finished my master’s degree and finally had time to read for fun again, I checked out a bunch of my childhood favorites, including WTHC and The Spanish Kidnapping Disaster. They were still just as much fun.

7. First series we finished:

The Indian in the Cupboard series by Lynne Reid Banks. I just re-read the first book with my son, but we haven’t been able to move on to book 2 because somehow I ended up with Books 1 & 4, while my brother got Books 2 & 3, a division that I can only assume was designed to make both parties equally unhappy.

8. First genre devotion:

Definitely mystery, probably starting with the aforementioned Mary Downing Hahn.

9. First book group:

Actually, my first book group was when I was pregnant, and I discovered that I was the only one who had read the book, and also the only one who couldn’t drink the wine. It was a long night.

10. First young adult novel:

Probably a Christopher Pike or R.L. Stine (before he started writing for younger kids). I went through a big Christopher Pike phase.

11. Second book group (“Y.A. books are so stupid.”):

Actually, I was probably the arrogant kid saying this.

12. First adult book with parts underlined:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Man, I thought I was so cool for reading it.

13. First book you didn’t get at all:

I never got past the third page of Ulysses.

14 & 15. First book you lied about liking in order to seem cool & first book you lied about reading for the same reason:

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done either of these, although I have played the hipster card of dismissing classics as unworthy precisely because I haven’t gotten around to reading them: “The Brontës were just the trashy romance novelists of their time.”

The last 5 don’t really fit my personal reading story, so I made up my own.

16. Beloved series sold to finance your cool new junior-high-worthy wardrobe

The Babysitter’s Club. My massive collection lay unclaimed on the garage sale table all day until my elementary school librarian came and bought them all just as we were packing up. I like to think that some of them still survive in my old school library.

17. Book most often given as a gift or that you most look forward to gifting

The Anastasia Krupnik series, by Lois Lowry. This was the first time I was introduced to the name Anastasia, which I later chose for my daughter. I am so looking forward to giving her the whole series for a future birthday!

18. Series you outgrew before the author finished writing it

Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children series. I loved the first 4 books and read them several times in high school, eagerly awaiting her completion of the 5th. I finally got around to listening to it this past summer but stopped partway through. Goodness, Jondalar and Ayla are so annoyingly perfect, aren’t they?

19. Book you most love to read to your children

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld. There is just something so sweet about the story and the illustrations.

20. Contraband books

Stephen King. My friend’s parents wouldn’t let her read him, so I used to smuggle them to her at school. This is what rebellion by a future English major looks like.

We’d love to hear your book memories. Share your own stages in the comments!