I have always loved books. Always. I just cannot remember not reading. In 3rd grade, I found a tattered copy of Gone With the Wind in the neighbor's trash and read it with fascination. My grandparents presented me with my own hardback edition the next year. Nancy Drew, Ramona, Black Beauty, dog stories ... I devoured them.
Like many kids, I used books to escape the cruddy stuff in life (growing up in a steelworking family in the 1980s generated lots of cruddy stuff). The downside to this was my concept of womanhood was shaped by a lot of throwback references. I wasn't smart like Nancy or keen like George or pretty like Bess. No one invaded West Mifflin in my lifetime, forcing me to survive on my wits and dig for root vegetables. The girls in the juvenile fiction books wore cashmere sweaters and pearl necklaces on their dates. I didn't even know what cashmere was. And none of the boys ever picked me to dance. (Don't feel bad - Ledcat always picks me to dance now.)
But, there were always books to be read. And, eventually, I met real live feminists in grad school and learned a whole new concept of being female. And read more books, minus the cashmere and quarterbacks.
I'm a big fan of the library and usually check out far more than I can read in the allotted time. I always wished for a "queue" like Netflix offers for videos. Ta da! My friend and fellow Society member, Ehrrin, turned me onto this site ...Goodreads.com
What books shaped your girlhood? Actually, recognizing that not everyone in this group had a girlhood, what books first shaped your idea of being female?