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What Makes For a Memorable Bookish Experience?

Life experiences that stay in your memory for a long while are ones that somehow made a powerful impact when you first went through them. They linger in the channels of your brain long after other things have been erased from memory. They pop up unexpectedly, randomly and you find yourself smiling or your eyes glisten with tears while others around wonder ‘why?’ While I thankfully and definitely have a treasure chest full of cherished memories because of my life experiences, I am sharing one such memorable bookish experience today.

Almost everything bookish — be it books themselves, reading, writing, places, things, and events — has somehow stayed in some corner of my brain. And I recall that past moment, pretty much always with a smile. Even for those memories that remind me of a long lost friend, aka, book, I also recall the joy associated with that, and tada – smile! And then there are those which are the first ones you always remember (or are they at the forefront anyways?)

A Memorable Bookish Experience

Jack London Square

I recall reading Jack London’s books as a young girl; curled up on my bed reading Call of the Wild in comic form, and later reading it again along with White Fang as novels.

On the one hand, I don’t think I read any others of London’s books growing up (but I don’t recall seeing any others in my little town too) but on the other, both these books had a profound impact on me enough to admire and appreciate Jack London.

Which was why my visit to Jack London Square in Oakland (and I wonder why it took two decades for me to find out about and visit this place) was a memorable bookish experience.

Note: You can read more about Jack London Square here.

Jack London’s Statue

The square (named after him) has a statue of Jack London. Here I am posing with London! I recall my kids wondering if all is right with their mom seeing me so giddy with delight and posing with statues joyously!

Memorable Bookish Experience
Pic taken Nov 2019

Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon

And then there was Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon!!! London made notes for future books while sitting at the tables of this saloon; it was built in 1883 from the timbers of a whaling ship. When I walked into this cozy space, it was like stepping back in time. It enthralled me enough that all the others faded into the background as I explored every detail; and that tiny space was at full capacity that evening. I could have spent hours there despite the fact I don’t drink alcohol (unless you count a total of a dozen glasses of wine!)

The fact that Jack London worked on his books in that very space drew me in; the saloon’s surreal, suspended-in-a-bygone-era atmosphere made the experience memorable. I have asked my kids to go explore this quaint historic spot when they turn 21 🙂

It is now a National Literary Landmark (rightly so); you can read more about its fascinating history here.

Memorable Bookish Experience

And the rest

Of course, it helped that the whole of Jack London Square lends itself to memories with everything it is. I will let these photos speak for themselves.

Memorable Bookish Experience

Previous Posts Related to Memorable Bookish Experience (s)

Of course, there are more memorable experiences I can add here; like the visit to NYPL last summer or the one to the quaint little Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Solvang a couple of years ago. And then I loved reading about others sharing their most powerful reading experiences in this article over at the Howlarium (don’t you love this name?)

And Now, the End of This Post

I invite you, dear reader, to share your experiences as well. You can choose to share that in the comments below; or feel free to write a whole post like this one if you want and just drop a comment here to let me know.

12 thoughts on “What Makes For a Memorable Bookish Experience?

  1. I truly loved Jack London’s books when I was a teenager. They were so exciting and adventurous, and I could experience that sort of adventure vicariously. Now, as we have lockdowns and pandemics and social distancing, once again, I need books so that I can experience adventure vicariously. What a great thing to have books. They have such magic between their covers.

  2. I remember a book I read at least once a year for several years, starting in junior high and going on into high school. It was about a boy who had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is still memorable. But I am not sure there have been others like it, that have stayed with me so long. It’s a neat idea, though. Oh, wait, I just thought of two book series that stayed with me.

  3. This was definitely a very interesting post.A bookish memory I have is,I couldn’t stop reading or crying while going through the last chapters of a thousand splendid suns!

  4. I’m really impressed with your writing talents and also with the layout to your weblog. Is this a paid subject or did you customize it your self?
    Either way keep up the nice high quality writing, it’s rare to peer a nice blog like this one nowadays..

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