Top Ten Tuesday-Books with Sensory Reading Memories

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic: Books with Sensory Reading Memories (These are the books that are linked to very specific memories for you: where you were, what time of year it was, who you were with, what you were eating, what you were feeling, what you were seeing, etc. Ideas include books you read while on vacation, books that you read while you were eating, books you read at work/at a family or social event/on the train or plane, books you’ve buddy read with loved ones, books you read during an emotional time in your life, books you read by the fire, etc.)

This week had a super long description, but it’s working for me. I have a lot of sensory memories that tie events together for me, and I had a lot of fun sifting through old book lists and seeing what popped into my head.


1.Just As Long As We’re Together, by Judy Blume/Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush, by Jerry Spinelli. When I was in first grade, I read these books over, and over, and over again. The first one I owned, and my sensory memory is the feel of the paperback in my hands, cover torn, spine cracked, pages constantly falling out because I loved it so much and carried it around everywhere. The second I loved just as much, and re-checked out from the library every week. My memory of this one is the plastic library binding crinkling beneath my fingertips, a small piece of the corner ripped and always cutting into my skin, and always, always wanting donuts when I read it.

2. The Thin Pink Line, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. I didn’t even like this book, and I remember next to nothing about it, but I have super clear memories of cracking it open on a ferryboat taking me from Ohio to Middle Bass Island on Lake Erie to visit my college boyfriend who spent his summers there (hey Dave, what’s up? Where did you and the rest of my old boyfriends disappear to? None of you are on social media and I can’t properly stalk A SINGLE ONE OF YOU).

3. Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer. Okay, you guys know that I have HUGE ISSUES with these books now. GIRL HE IS AN EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE CONTROLLER NOT A ROMANTIC LOVE INTEREST, but I have good memories of this book releasing. I was living in L.A. with Laura (hi again Laura, are you getting sick of this yet?), and we had both recently discovered and binged the first three books of the series. We preordered the 4th from Barnes and Noble and were there to pick it up before the store even opened. Then we went home, locked the doors, shut the blinds, and read. all. day. We paused briefly to order pizza for lunch and reheat the leftovers for dinner, but didn’t stop until we were both done and could debrief together for hours.

4. The Twisted Thread, by Charlotte Bacon. For my mother-in-law’s birthday one year, she rented a house in Lake Tahoe for a week, and the husband and I drove up from San Francisco to join her for the weekend. The house had this amazing back deck with these great benches lining the whole thing, all underneath the trees. It’s so tranquil and quiet, and Val and I spent hours out there laying on the benches reading.

5. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury. I read this book in junior high, mostly lying on my bedroom floor while listening to CDs (do you guys remember CDs? If you never listened to one, this…isn’t going to make any sense). I was at a particularly tense part of the book, so when my CD stopped, I didn’t get up to turn it off and start another one. Now, THIS BOOK IS CREEPY, or maybe it only is if you’re fourteen, but I was always scared reading it, and this time was no exception. So maybe 15 minutes later, this slow, quiet, violin music starts up and I. LOST. MY SHIT. (It was a secret track I hadn’t known about on that CD, not an evil carnival come to get me, but you can’t blame me for being concerned).


6. The Problem with Forever, by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I did not even remotely like this book, but when I read it, the husband and I were driving across the country from the east coast back to the west so he could start his medical residency. We were “car camping” (it was insane, I’ll do a whole post on it one day), and in one of the big mountain-y states (Wyoming? Colorado?) he wanted to camp for real one night. (WITH THE DIRT AND THE BUGS, YOU GUYS I MEAN HONESTLY). Anyway, the husband took Mack for a little hike, and I read this book in a hammock with Cubert and Eska. I hated the book, and they hated the hammock, but I definitely remember all of it.

7. Side Effects May Vary, by Julie Murphy. Back when my sister only had love of my life nephew (hi, Dexter!), I was flying from her house in Pensacola to my place in Maine and read this one on the plane. It was FREEZING when we landed, and I was sad to be away from my sister already.

8. The Baby-sitter’s Club Super-Special #7 Snowbound, by Ann M. Martin. Much like my bloggy bestie Bookish Geek, I got the chicken pox when I was 7 and remember reading this book while I was home sick. I spent most of my Christmas vacation with them, but I was so in love with these characters and especially these super-specials that I even brought it into all of my oatmeal baths with me.

9. The Berenstain Bears Go to Camp,  by Stan & Jan Berenstain. This was my favorite of the Berenstain Bears, because even as a kid, I was more of what you’d call an “indoor girl.” But I always like reading about camp. I was never much of an artist, and I could definitely never draw well. So my solution was to trace. I loved to set up my coloring pencils on my desk, get a fresh sheet of tracing paper, and lay it carefully over a page in of these books. While my brother and sister actually drew things or colored in coloring books, I worked on my tracing. I wonder what happened to all of those.

10. Sweet Valley Twins and Friends #68 The Middle School Gets Married, by Francine Pascal. I read this one in the backseat of my mom’s car on the way home from swim class in the fall. It was cold and getting dark outside, and I can remember how the chlorine smelled in my hair as my wet fingers got the pages all smudgey. Fun fact: Because the series I used to read, like Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins, could all be read out of order, I used to think that the numbers of any series were just to identify which books you had, not what order to read them in.

What sensory memories do you guys have with books? I’m really surprised I don’t have more with food, I’m always eating and reading at the same time.

15 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday-Books with Sensory Reading Memories

  1. Heather @ Heather's Reading Hideaway says:

    I have Side Effects May vary on my kindle. I really need to read it soon! I also actually live in Maine so that entire answer just spoke to me hahaha. Great answers overall though! Ii remember loving the Babysitter’s Club books when I was younger but I don’t remember anything specific about the stories. Maybe I should re-read them one day.

    Have a great rest of your week & Happy reading.

    Heather @ Heather’s Reading Hideaway|My Top Ten Tuesday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • pagesandpugs says:

      I’ve been listening to a podcast called The Babysitters Club Club where 2 guys read one book a week and talk about it and it’s been a good way to go over the whole series without having to read the whole thing again!


  2. Patricia @ Bookish Geek says:

    You just reminded me of this terrifying Sweet Valley book I read in elementary school where there was a ghost kid that pushed one of the twins down the stairs to the basement. It terrified me for months. I just realized how stupid it is.

    Liked by 1 person

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