From the minute I learned about books, I have loved to read, and to write. I still remember getting my first library card. I was 7 years old, we had moved from Los Angele to Canton, Ohio, and there was a public library on the route that I walked to my new school. My mother took me to get my own library card, and I would take home stacks of books in my Snoopy bookbag (we didn’t use backpacks back then) that was stretching at the seams. I’d read every book, and return them to the library for a new stack.
We only lived in that house for a few months, while our new home was being built. There was no library near our new home in the little Amish town outside of Canton, but the bookmobile came to our school from the Canton library every two weeks. I would borrow as many books as they would allow me to take every time they came. I read voraciously, and the bookmobile librarians knew what I liked to read, and would put aside special books to bring for me. That is when I first learned to make friends with the librarians.
Summers were difficult because there was no book mobile, and in the early 70’s, my mother didn’t have her own car. I read every printed word I could find. Any book my parents left laying around was fair game, Carl Sandburg’s Lincoln, a few different versions of The Bible, a very old dictionary that my father had, even the phone book.
I remember the first book I ever bought with my own money. It was a large green book of Anderson’s Fairy Tales…..I read this several times. My mom admonished me for wasting my money on a book, when I could get them for free from the library. I however, was hooked. I wanted to own as many books as I could, and slowly began collecting.
Some are antiques, some are actually autographed by my favorite authors, such as Erma Bombeck, Ray Bradbury, Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, and romance writer’s Charlotte Maclay and Jill Marie Landis among others.
I don’t just read fiction, as I said I’ll read anything, and at one point when I was writing two food columns, one for a newspaper, and one for a magazine, I had a collection of more than 300 cookbooks.
Over the years, and after having to move heavy boxes of books, too many times to talk about, I have culled my collection. It’s always difficult to get rid of a book, but I make myself donate them to the library booksale, or offer them to friends and family that I know love to read every now and then.
When my boys were learning to read, I filled their rooms with books. They still read. My oldest loves Greek mythology, and classic horror such as Edgar Allen Poe, my middle and younger sons are into science fantasy. The youngest occasionally volunteers at our library, and recently started bringing home boxes of books from the Friends of the Library Booksale. It really is getting out of hand, but I don’t know how to tell him he has to let go of some of the books!!
We really need to have a library in our home, but I don’t think that will happen until the last two boys move out. I dream of a room with walls of books, an old fashioned book shelf ladder, and a window seat filled with comfy cushions where I will sit and read.
I don’t have a Nook or a Kindle yet, although the possibilities there are very exciting, and I’m thinking of asking for one for Christmas this year…..however, I doubt if that will replace the feel of a book in my hand, the feel of turning the paper pages as I read each page…each chapter….and how do you get one autographed anyway???