Friday, April 22, 2011

That Reminds Me

Lately, I've been having spontaneous memories of a family vacation we took in 2007. It was one of those "back east" trips, which is the way Utahns describe any place east of the Mississippi. We spent a couple days at Rehoboth Beach, we saw a Mets game and a Broadway show in NYC, and we saw the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. We were in NYC when a tornado hit Manhattan. I still have the TWISTER! headline I cut out of a local paper.

It was a really terrific vacation, don't get me wrong, but I think it's weird that these memories have been randomly popping into my mind. Earlier this week I realized that maybe they aren't so random.

You know how sometimes a scent can take you back to a moment in your life? To this day, a whiff of Chanel Coco perfume (I haven't smelled it in a long time) will take me back to my childhood and my grandmother's house. It was the only perfume she wore. I love that connection to the past.

Well, it seems that I do the same thing with books. The book I took with me on that vacation was WATER FOR ELEPHANTS. I read it on the beach and in hotel rooms. Chances are pretty good that I pulled it out when we rode the train out to the Mets game or traveled to Philadelphia. I probably didn't spend long stretches reading, but here and there and in between other things. That book was part of the entire trip. Yesterday, I realized that every time I see an advertisement (they're everywhere!) for the upcoming movie version of the book, a flash of that wonderful vacation pops into my mind.

I don't think my book-induced memories spring up with every book I've read. Something else had to have been happening - a vacation or some other "different than normal" situation. My son and I picked up the last Harry Potter book on a Laura Ingalls Wilder road trip I forced him to take with me. Now, the Little House books are tied in my mind to the Harry Potter books. Weird maybe, but appealing to me.

Really, what a great way to remember special moments - by tying memorable moments to books you've read.

And speaking of books - great books, in fact:

I read Laura Hillenbrand's UNBROKEN on the cruise my husband and I recently took. What an amazing story - heartbreaking, hopeful, shocking, sad, uplifting. Check it out if you haven't yet. I suppose that every time I see an advertisement for a cruise line, now UNBROKEN will come to my mind. I love that.

Happy Reading!



  1. Loved the book Water For Elephants. I think my mom and I are going to try to see the movie soon. The problem I have when I read books, is that my imagination wants more. I want the books to go on forever, it is like a movie in my brain. I am going to have to make time to read for recreation once I start school.

  2. Ooh. You have a good imagination, Astrid! Isn't it wonderful when you're reading a book and it becomes "real?"

  3. I love this post! I'm the same way. I can see a book on my shelf, and I'm instantly transported to a certain day or hour or moment. And, speaking of weird, please tell me that I'm not the only person on the planet whose senses respond to the different scents of books. No, I don't go around sniffing books. But, occasionally, I'll open a book and there will be a quick wiff of beach (probably sunscreen, haha), or bacon, or the perfume or handlotion of a friend I lent the book to, or the home of a relative I inherited a book from. IDK, maybe I'm the only person irreverent enough to cook bacon with my book open on the counter? Anyway, books transport me, too. Yet another plausible explanation for my addiction. ;)

  4. No, you're not the only one. I love it when I open a book on my shelf and catch a scent, a grain of sand, or find something I used as a bookmark. I think you summed it up best - "books transport me."

  5. This is why I don't like kindles much. I love to write notes and comments in my books. The color of ink and the markings I use end up triggering emotions later, much like the smells you've mentioned do. I can look at what I've written and remember exactly what I was thinking and feeling when I wrote it. This doesn't work with something typed on a screen on a page I can't feel. I would never remember the depth of the reading experience the same way.

  6. Ooh, I've done that before, English Teacher. It is very cool to pick up a book you haven't looked at for a long time and find notes. Memories are time travel. Well, kind of.