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"I believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book." - J.K. Rowling
I can't remember when my love affair with books began, I just know I was young and my love has never waned. An early memory that is still vivid is of visiting the old library in my hometown with my mother. It was an old brick building, not much to look at from the outside but when you entered the children's section your eyes were immediately drawn beyond the tall mahogany shelves to painted murals of storybook scenes. Enchanting. I recall sitting on the floor, a stack of books beside me while my mother browsed through the adult section. I could have stayed for hours.
I still remember the titles that stole my heart as a child: The Little House and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton, The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf, Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina...I never tired of these stories. As I grew older I became interested in biographies. I recall loving a series of biographies that my school library carried. Each week I would take out a different one but two that I read over and over were the ones about Dolley Madison and Helen Keller. I loved the chapter where Dolley saved the painting of George Washington from being destroyed when the British set fire to the White House during the War of 1812. I also never tired of Helen Keller's story, how she overcame her inability to see and hear and was able to communicate with others. Her story was (and still is) a profile in courage.
I was enthralled.
I continued to be drawn to stories of bravery and determination during my adolescence. My favorites were Karen, by Marie Killilea and it's sequel, With Love from Karen. Published in 1967, they told the story of Karen Killilea, who was born with Cerebral Palsy. Karen's positive outlook towards her disability made me realize that with faith and love anything was possible. It had a profound effect on me (As a side note, her mother was a co-founder of the National United Cerebral Palsy Foundation).
- Chapter 5 of Love Story. I still chuckle when I think of me and my junior high school friends passing that slim novel around the cafeteria table, intrigued by what was being inferred, so much left to our overactive imaginations.
- My brief love affair with the horror classics Frankenstein and Dracula.
- My determination to read the complete works of Shakespeare while still in junior high...and the realization years later that I really didn't absorb a fraction of all that occurred within each play.
- Sundays spent reading Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie anthologies with my mother, a lifelong mystery fan.
- The time I found The Story of O hidden in my mother's dresser (sorry, Mom!) and not knowing what intrigued me more, the prose between the covers or that my mother was reading it!
The list could go on for pages.
I am unable to enter a bookstore and leave empty handed. Just this past weekend my husband and I stopped into an independent bookstore in Brattleboro, Vermont and I left with the three books in the photograph below. Fiction, Memoir, Nonfiction, Poetry...I love just about every genre. I even recently bought a book titled Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Carlo Rovelli because I was intrigued to think that physics could be explained coherently in such a slim volume!
Books currently stacked by my nightstand:
- Rising Strong, by Brené Brown
- Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg
- My Brilliant Friend, by Elana Ferrante
- The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough
- Miller's Valley, by Anna Quindlen
- The Great Spring, by Natalie Goldberg
- The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon
Dear Books, you have enriched my life, caused me to think, to shift my attitude about so many things. You have made me laugh, brought me to tears, enthralled me to no end. You have comforted me during illness, kept me company at the beach and cozied up by a fire and connected me to like minded book lovers. You have been a faithful companion my entire life. Thank you.
What books are you currently reading? I would love some recommendations!