Some people can remember when they learned to read. Not me. You might as well ask me when I learned to breathe. Reading has been a part of my life for so long I can’t remember not being able to. I can remember the morning I learned to tie my shoes. I remember learning to whistle with a piece of grass between my thumbs. I remember losing teeth, my first kitten and a whole horde of other events. But not when I learned to read.
When I was very small, my mother said I would drag books to my brothers and sit down in their laps, uninvited, and wait for them to read to me. When I was three years I old, I impressed my parents’ dinner guests by reading them “The Three Little Kittens” from beginning to end. Little did they know that I was not reading, but repeating what I had memorized by the hundreds of times it had been read to me…including when to turn the pages.
I can remember my mother, when I was still young enough to ride in the shopping cart, handing me a “Little Golden Book” at the beginning of most shopping trips to keep me occupied as she made her way through the store. I still have all of the books.
My mother didn’t care what we read, within reason, as long as we read. She knew what a value this would be to us in our lives and I can never thank her enough by setting me on the right course that way. After I was too old for a nap, my brothers and I still had quite time in the afternoons during the summer or anytime we weren’t at school. This usually meant grabbing a book and sitting down for a half hour or so. Sometimes we would doze off doing this (isn’t my mother clever?) but more often than not, when the half hour was up, we were still reading and happy to be doing so.
As I got older and started school, homework and chores took up a lot of my time. But I always found time to read, even if it meant giving up other things, such as television or playing at a friend’s house. My allowance was usually spent on The Bobbsey Twins’ Adventures books when I was in first grade. I managed to collect them all. Soon after I discovered Louisa May Alcott. Most people know her for Little Women but my favorite was Eight Cousins and the sequel Rose in Bloom. Then I discovered C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Hans Christian Anderson, Rudyard Kipling, E. B. White, Roald Dahl…oh sorry…this list could go on and on.
I discovered a whole world outside of the one I was living in. I discovered the past and future, fantasy and history. All the books I ever read helped make me the person I am today.
I still prefer a book to a movie version of it. No matter how talented an actor, they are limited by time and space and their own interpretation of the characters. Nothing bothers me more than to read a book and fall in love with it, and then watch the movie and wonder, “what in the world happened to that great story?”
I love old books…the ones with worn pages, so delicate from years of use. Now that is the mark of a truly good book! I have some books that I have read so often that I have two or more copies in my possession. Books I read each and every year. They are like old friends that you bump into at the grocery store. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been…there’s just something so familiar that you pick right up where you left off. The Bronte’ Sisters, Jane Austen, Dickens, Tolstoy, Steinbeck, Twain…again…the list never ends.
I love discovering new authors. I must say I’m a huge Jodi Picoult fan. I also enjoy historical fiction, like Jeff Sharra or Ken Follett. I love Richard Paul Evans and Phillipa Gregory. I also enjoy Wanda Brunstetter and Beverly Lewis who write Amish fiction.
I passed the love of reading to my boys and I can’t wait to buy books for my grandchildren. I hope they will find years of excitement, adventure, knowledge and just plain fun they way that I have done with my favorites.
I haven’t mentions my favorite book. The one book that contains all of the things I’ve mentioned and then some…my Bible. Some of my favorite things to read are the Psalms, the book of Esther and the Gospels. I can always find something to fit any mood I’m in, anything I’m experiencing or anytime I’m in need of encouragement right in those worn pages.
If you have a favorite author, leave me a comment and tell me their name, the book(s) you like and why. I’m always looking for a new author to try out.
A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend. ~Author Unknown