Nostalgia Nook: Stories We Remember


Eva Philips, Staff writer

As I was scrolling mindlessly through social media the other day, an image caught my attention. It was a picture of a book cover: “The Mark of Athena” by Rick Riordan. For a moment, I recalled how much I had enjoyed the book when I read it in middle school. When I paused to read the caption, though, I was overcome with shock. The caption revealed that ten years had passed since the book was released, and my immediate reaction was, “that’s not possible.” And yet it was true. A whole decade had passed since my vivid memory of preordering the book and begging my mom to take me to Barnes and Noble to pick it up as soon as it was released. It was a nostalgic moment, and it made me consider the other series I used to love.

First up is the “Magic Treehouse” series, about a pair of siblings who discovered a time-traveling treehouse that could take them to any time and place. Inevitably, they ended up at moments of historical disaster: the sinking of the Titanic, the Civil War, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and more. I discovered these books when my older sister started reading them, and I would always comb the library’s shelves for new installments that I had not read. Looking back, I credit these books for sparking my love of history.

Another classic series is the “Little House on the Prairie” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These books carry a personal connection for me, since we kept the series on the bookcase in my bedroom so that my mom could read from them to me every night. It took us a while to get through the whole series, but I can still remember hearing about the trials and excitement of life on the frontier. As I got older, my favorite book series became part of my friendships. While I do not remember anything about the plot of the “Mysterious Benedict Society” series, I remember that my childhood best friend recommended the books to me and lent me her copy. My fourth grade classroom had a “Harry Potter”-themed chess set that was the most coveted game for indoor recess. In warm weather, we made up our own version of Quidditch to play outside— minus the flying brooms. In middle school, at the height of the popularity of “The Hunger Games,” we fiercely debated whether Team Peeta or Team Gale was better.

Out of all these book series, Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series is the most nostalgic. Nearly every year from the time I was in third grade up through eighth grade brought an addition to the series and its spinoff, “The Heroes of Olympus.” My friends and I would discuss which ‘cabin’ we would be part of, with each cabin corresponding to an Olympian god, and the books sparked our interest in Greek and Roman mythology. The series gave us plenty to talk and joke about. Even though I have lost touch with most of my elementary school classmates, the memories of good times still make me smile.

As sad as it is to say, it is harder now to find the time to pick up a book and read just for fun. Usually, I can only find the time to do so during the summer or over Christmas break. Maybe one of these days I can dig out my worn copies of “Percy Jackson” or “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” letting the stresses of everyday college life slip away, even if it’s just for a few hours. It might just be exactly what we all need in the midst of a stressful semester— to feel like a kid again.