"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Love of Reading

Good question posed over on Book Lust. I thought I'd post my comments here and expand on them a bit: "And so my question this time is ... is there anyone in your life who had a strong influence on you and your love of books?"

I can't say I was influenced, exactly. I just seemed to grow up thinking reading was akin to breathing or eating, something you did. I don't remember not being around books. My mother was a big reader and my father is a big reader and they didn't really care what I read. My mother took me to the library and picked books for me that she'd liked when she was a kid. And I read the books we had in the house. I was reading adult books by the time I was 10, James Bond at 11. They didn't even mind that I read comics. They'd been comic book fans, too, back in the '30s. :)

I was a quiet kid, the kind who could amuse herself with toys or a book, a comic, anything with words. I read the cereal boxes during breakfast. We always had magazines in the bathroom (when I'd finish with those and no new ones appeared, I'd read the toothpaste tube): National Geographic and Reader's Digest, usually. Now I keep Newsweek in the bathroom. The best light for reading is in there.

Books were places to go, stories about things and people so unlike me, though sometimes similar. But I came to prefer the ones that were different, the stories that took me out of my life. As long as reading could take me places, show me the wonders of the universe, make me feel sad or happy, enrich my life, then by golly, I was going to read. The love affair is still going strong, even though now I write my own stories, too.