As a small child living on the farm in the pre-television days I had a few books and on rare occasions, if my dad had a nickel to spare, a new Little Lulu comic.
The only book I remember clearly is Little Black Sambo. I loved how smart he was to outwit the tigers. I still have and cherish that book along with two Christmas books I spent hours poring over. I don’t know where the other books went or the comics, but I wish I still had them.
The one-room country schoolhouse I attended had a little storage area filled with books—all the way to the ceiling. Many were textbooks, but a couple of shelves had real books. When I’d read them all, I re-read them, and then again.
We moved to the city when I was ten years old. Imagine my joy discovering the Bookmobile that came to our corner every three weeks. Joy tinged with despair. “I can only take three books? Only three?” The driver nodded. I sighed, set my pile down, and went through the books one by one trying to decide which would be best. Anything with horses, for sure.
The Bookmobile was replaced with a library, but, still, I could only take out three books. My nose was always buried in a book. Christmas Eve we were allowed to open one present. I always knew which package had a book in it and I finished it before I went to bed. But that was okay because I could read it again Christmas Day.
At some point in my teens, I realized that there was no law saying I had to read a book just because I took it out of the library. If, before, I was at the library every week, with that realization I went every few days to exchange books.
Now? I still read—voraciously. I also write. Perversely writing has spoiled my joy of reading. Spoiled in the sense that I take home five books and discard four as not worth my time. But, my super critical reading expectations have enhanced my joy in the sense that when I find a book that captures my head and my heart, I’m transported to another plane—one of pure pleasure. And I still re-read books I really like.
My first novel will be published soon. I hope it will provide some of the same pleasures to my readers as other authors have given me.
PS An all time favorite, laugh-out-loud book, is Mixed Marriage by Elizabeth Cadell.