The smell of apple pie always takes me back to a summer night at Mamaw's house, watching The Carol Burnett Show while eating the tart pastry and a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.
Studies show that certain aromas conjure detailed memories from our childhood. Scents are linked to the first time you experience them.
In a round about way, this relates to books. My most beloved books are those I read as a child—discovering new places, ways of life, role models, and imagination companions. No matter how many incredible stories I’ve read, I’ve yet to find one that's made a greater impact than those I read in my younger years.
5. "B" IS FOR BETSY
This was my first chapter book, and I remember how proud I was to complete a big girl's book. I was painfully shy as a child, and like Betsy, was fearful of going to a new school. I was a military brat (Air Force) and went to six different elementary schools, so Betsy was a much loved and needed companion of mine.
4. LITTLE HOUSE BOOKS
I got my first Little House book when I was seven. To say I was obsessed would be underplaying my involvement with the Ingalls family. Especially Laura. She made it okay to be short and to have freckles and an overbite. I even wore my hair in braids and was given the nickname half-pint by my favorite teacher.
3. TRIXIE BELDEN MYSTERIES
I inherited many of the Trixie Belden books from my big sister when I was nine. This series had me exploring for secret treasures and solving mysteries with my girl's only club friends. I'm glad I lived in a time where play time was filled by our imaginations, rather than video games.
2. GONE WITH THE WIND
At sixteen, I asked Mom, "What's that incredibly-thick-and-boring-covered book about?"
"What? You don't know about Gone With the Wind?"
"Read the first chapter. If you don't like it, you don't have to finish it," she said in a you-don't-have-a-choice-in-the-matter kind of way.
Frankly, my dear, I loved it.
1. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
This book makes me sigh. It started out as a dreaded required book in high school. Yes, another reluctant-teen-not-wanting-to-read-what-they're-told books. But, once again, I fell in love. I was moved me to tears and awakened to the harsh realities of the civil-rights era. I wanted to be as brave as Jem, as spunky as Scout, and to marry a man as good, fair, and kind as Atticus. (And I did.)
So what books do you hold dearest to your heart?
Cheryl Hart creates tender, evocative stories--often with a spiritual, southern, and nostalgic flair. She writes in varying genres and voices, but each story has an underlying theme of hope. Her heroines learn (the hard way--of course) to overcome internal and external struggles, and anticipate a better tomorrow.