MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Augusten Burroughs is the author of "Running With Scissors" and "A Wolf At The Table." Both are memoirs of his childhood. For our series Three Books, he recommends three books to take you back to childhood.
Mr. AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS (Author): Probably, you remember some of the things you did as a child, but can you remember how it felt to be a child? I have three books that will make you feel like a kid again.
I don't mean to imply that these are light, carefree books that will carry you down memory lane. No, these are complex, fascinating, beautiful, sometimes painful, but always utterly magnificent books that have one thing in common: Each will fully consume you and lift you entirely free of that most adult invention, time.
The first book is one you may have already read, perhaps even as a child, but you need to read it again because this book should never be an assignment. It should only be the reward. It is "The Diary of Anne Frank."
The girl is alive inside the book. It nearly trembles in your hands. It is so full of feeling. She whispers in your ear. She tells you what she has told nobody else. She grabs you by the shoulders and makes you sit, sit, sit to help her figure out the boy. The girl lived in the center of the worst world there would ever be, but inside the girl was a mind so busy and green and fun and funny and bold and hungry and brave. To read this memoir is to be this girl. It is to love her deeply.
Next, there is "Other Voices, Other Rooms" by Truman Capote. He was 21 when he wrote it, which is really all you need to know about the book. It was written from the rear-exit door of childhood.
It's like he was able to take this melancholy, drifting, timeless summer feeling and place it beneath a glass bell. If you submit to the book and ask no questions as you read, you will essentially be 13 again, though as a different person than you were and with an entirely different life.
The last book I'm going to suggest has nothing to do with childhood so at first, it may seem an odd choice. But if childhood is the single time in life when it seemed our nerves were new, and we could feel life itself against our skin, and there was no dividing the day into segments - there was only one long right now - then this is exactly the book to take you back.
It is called "The Pull of the Moon" by Elizabeth Berg, and it is about a woman in her 50s who runs away from home. And the present tucked inside the book is the realization that the child you once were, you still are. You just never take your watch off anymore.
So if you suddenly find yourself feeling altogether entirely too grown up, you do this: Take one of these three books, open it up, and begin reading while you suck on a red hot Atomic Fireball - which, by the way, you should always have in your pocket.
BLOCK: Augusten Burroughs - he is the author of the memoirs "Running with Scissors" and "A Wolf at the Table." You can find his and other recommendations for our series Three Books at npr.org.
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