Camping with Books

Barbara Vey -- February 22nd, 2011
Raven Goodwin as Becca in her LARP (live action role playing) outfit

Raven Goodwin as Becca in her LARP (live action role playing) outfit

Last night I started watching the tv show Huge on  It’s about overweight kids at camp.  There’s a lot of teen anguish, confusion and frustration on top of the crushing burden of not fitting into the acceptable weight norm.  But I found myself fascinated by the character, Becca.  She’s a shy young woman who loves to read.

Whenever she’s in a scene on her bunk, she’s reading a book.  Although I’ve seen her reading classics like Lord of the Flies (yuck) and Diary of Anne Frank, I’ve also seen her read a more current book like Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Becca is even shown checking out the meager camp library (like one shelf of very used books).

It’s so refreshing to see someone reading a book rather than playing video games or on the computer.  Of course, none of those things are allowed at camp.  Other girls are shown with magazines, mostly to take the quizzes offered inside.  (And yes, I remember giggling with my friends over the Seventeen questionnaires.)

All this brought back memories of my Girl Scout camping days.  My suitcase was always full of books.  I really couldn’t say what they were anymore, except I loved Helen McInnes and Victoria Holt at the time.  I always hated the outdoor stuff we had to do and loved to lay on  my bunk, at night with a flashlight, imagining being in far off places, meeting unusual people and doing amazing things.

Even as an adult I dragged books along on every vacation.  When the boys were young we went to Michigan and stayed in a cabin.  The guys fished and I read.  Seven books in seven days.  My idea of a perfect vacation.

So, I’ll keep watching the show, more interested in what Becca’s reading than to find out if Trent likes Amber or  Chloe better.  There are only 10 episodes since the series has already been canceled.  It’s too bad because it’s starting to grow on me.

Did you ever read books at camp?  Prefer reading to everything else as a child?

Bottom Line: I could use a couple Beccas to help read all the Young Adult books I have…she’d love my library.

26 thoughts on “Camping with Books

  1. Edie Ramer

    I hated outdoor stuff too. I’m still not crazy about camping out.

    I can’t remember if I brought books to camp. I was a huge reader, so I probably did. And I feel the same Yuck about Lord of the Flies. The Diary of Anne Frank makes me feel reverent. I’m glad young girls are still reading her book.

  2. Marilyn Baron

    Like Edie, I can’t remember if I brought books to Girl Scout Camp. I’m not a big outdoors person either. I imagine I would have brought books because I’m an avid reader. Growing up, I remember hiding under a blanket reading by flashlight till the early morning hours so I wouldn’t disturb my sister. I’ve got stacks of books in my house waiting to be read. I’d rather be reading than almost anything else.

  3. Trinity Faegen

    Love this post! Had to come out of lurk to say, I got in trouble at camp for reading Barbara Cartland novels under the covers with a flashlight. (I know – BC. Don’t laugh.) Every day, I was anxious to get all the swimming & archery & canoeing over with so I could read. I was 11. I spent all my babysitting money on books. After I read all that the library had, I bought BC books with the ink still wet.
    Somebody on Twitter – Maya Banks, maybe? – was lamenting that she’d gone back and read a few BC books and was crushingly disappointed. They were not what she remembered. I gave mine away, years ago, which is good. I’m sure I’d be horrified. LOL! But in my memory, OMG, they were delicious, and well worth the KP duty I pulled for getting caught reading at 3 am.

    1. Rebecca Delio

      I also Read Barbara Cartland novels at camp, along with many others, when Mom asked what was in my suitcase to make it so heavy I told her school books to write reports. It was books but not school books. I love reading and have several favorite authors. I loved camp because it allowed me to read to my hearts content.

  4. dee

    I watched a series last year on Style Network called “Too Fat For Fifteen, Fighting Back” about a camp for overweight teen. The kids stories drew you completely into their lives. One 17 yr old girl, Tanisia, especially caught my interest and I found myself pulling for her. She, too, was a bookworm. When she earned a chance to to visit at home for a few days, she finally went shopping with her mother and sisters…an activity she couldn’t do before. She was filling her cart with books, “cause daddy said I could”, she stated after being asked why she was getting books she already owned. She said she was buying the books as a set, in paperback, and she didn’t have those.

    I believe the show returns this summer, and I’m looking forward to her progress.

  5. Sarah B

    I fell in love with this show and was devastated to hear that ABC Family canceled the 2nd season. That said, the first season is worth watching – it’s actually based on a book but the use of books (particularly with Becca) is also important. I don’t have to spoil anything, but there’s a great scene in which Becca’s fantasy world (from books) becomes a sort of reality. That’s what books are for teenagers – they open up new worlds.

    On a side note, I recently re-read all the Anastasia Krupnik books by Lois Lowry and they are as funny and poignant for me today as they were in 4th grade. We should bring those back into the collective. Not that new books don’t have value but these should be considered classics and must-reads for any girl in late elementary or middle school.

  6. Barbara Vey Post author

    I just remembered what else I wanted to include about this show. The cook reads books and tears out the pages as he goes. That way he knows exactly where he is in the book. I was horrified by it! But I loved the fact that he read books anyway. Since they were his books, to do with as he pleased, I have to let it go….but it still bugs me. :)

  7. Kitti

    I didn’t go to camp, and have seldom finished a book in a day (I read slowly). But I certainly empathize with Becca, her role playing, love of imagination and reading.

    I send her all of my girl-superpower reading cosplay energies!! (telepathically, of course…)

  8. Shanda

    During the summer growing up (whether at camp or not) there was always a book nearby. Mom would often lock us outside & bring us out a picnic lunch – “You’re thirsty, drink from the hose!” I spent many hours reading in our tree house – and spent a lot of time with Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Madeline L’Engle, & L.M. Montgomery. And a copy of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ always went to camp with me every year.

  9. Bridget

    I didn’t mind being outdoors, but I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t an avid reader. We were told to “go outside and play” during the summer, so I would climb a tree and read a book while sitting in the tree!

  10. Tracey Devlyn

    I went to camp once and didn’t care for it. Even at that age there are lots of politics involved. LOL I love being outdoors, but sadly, I didn’t find books until my mid-20s, and then you couldn’t pull me away from them. Books have been one of my greatest joys.

  11. Bertrice Small

    This summer I’ll be donating a stack of my novels to my old girls camp in New England where my granddaughters now go. They are more suited, of course, to
    the counselors and senior girls. I love the fact that I’ll always have a presense
    at my camp. It will be 60 years this summer since I last stood on Campfire Hill.
    WOW! Times sure flies when you’re having fun. And even when you’re not. LOL!

  12. Dawn Chartier

    I’ve never seen the show, but you have to love the concept of it. Hmm. You need a YA to read your YA, I’ve got one of those…she’s tried to get me to read The Hunger Games, but I keep putting it off…

    Hugs to you for the show being canceled already.

  13. Liz Kreger

    It is nice to hear about kids who are reading. It seems like you don’t see that very often. I loved camping, but it never occurred to me to bring a book (even though I was an avid reader). Seems like there were so many other things to do outdoors.

  14. Dianna Love

    We didn’t get to do the camp thing, but I’ve been a reader from as far back as I can remember. We spent most of our free time saltwater fishing (which I love) since fish was the main food in our house, but I would have a book with me for any break or long boat ride and read anything I could get my hand on. I’ve always had a wide taste in books.

  15. Ruth Logan Herne

    I brought books… Such a nerd, but when else could you actually get time to just read at night????

    Loved it!

    And this blog just gave me an idea to deepen an upcoming plot so I’m totally in your debt, Barbara.

    And yes, I’ll mention you in the credits, LOL!

  16. Colleen

    I am Becca, in a nutshell. I read all summer, inside and out. I even got made fun of for bringing books to camp. I always have a book in my backpack and a spare in my locker. This post inspired me to start reading more “summer nights with a flashlight” books. So thank you, I don’t think I realized how much I hate Hemingway until now. And how sick I am of serious and dull books.

  17. Pat Moore

    As a teenager I worked on the regular staff at Shocco Springs Baptist Assembly in Talladega, Al. I loved the camp, hardwork but didn’t mind that. However, every chance I had I read. My love of books started before I was in school. The summer I went into 3rd grade I read over 40 books in 8 wks. I still devour books. I loved Shakespear but never liked Hemingway nor some of the others of his time. I was a big Edgar Alan Poe fan & Jane Austin. Now I have so many favorite authors I coouldn’t list them all. I never go anywhere without a book in my purse & an extra I keep in the car.

  18. Joanne B

    Ahhhhh, so looking forward to warmer days, to sit outside and read my books……….fresh air, sun, flowers……….pool!!!!!!!!!! YIPPIE


    Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It actually was once a entertainment account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! However, how can we keep in touch?


    I really like your writing style, wonderful info, thanks for putting up :D . “God save me from my friends. I can protect myself from my enemies.” by Claude Louis Hector de Villars.

  21. BLOG

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch! “But O the truth, the truth. The many eyes That look on it The diverse things they see.” by George Meredith.

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