Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Love Affair

When I was young, my mother used to read to me. My sister and I would hurry through our nightly ritual of baths and teeth brushing, especially if there was a good book to read. We'd settle down in bed, blankets tucked around us and my mother would sit next to the bed and open the book. I can still hear her voice and cadence as she read. In moments my mind would soar, envisioning far lands and great adventure. I'd beg my mother to finish "Just one more chapter!", sometimes she would, sometimes not. She'd read books like Bed Knobs and Broomsticks (based on the movie), and Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers.

Thus, began my love affair.

I don't remember when my first visit to the library was. I do remember the feel of a book in my hands. The hard cover, the smell of the musty pages. Some picture books I loved were Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans, Curious George by H.A. Ray, and Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. At that time my adoration was instinctive.

The exhilaration of reading my first chapter book clinched it. I read, Little House On The Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Now, my mother no longer read to me, instead she took me to the library. To this day, my heart leaps when I walk into a library, the quiet atmosphere, the rustle of pages, the smell of leather, and old paper. I sense now, what I sensed then...possibilities, opportunity, and the search for the good story. I was and still am never disappointed.

As I grew, so did my taste in books. I was captivated with Dragons of Pern series by Anne MacCaffery (Especially, Dragon Song & Dragon Singer), Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. (Yes, I did read contemporary books, but as you can see these really flavored my writing path.)

As I grew and hit my adolescence, I discovered Romance. Ah, the joy. Books, I'd never would have picked up before, I found enthralling. Would you believe I read Barbara Cartland? I read a lot of Harlequin Historicals- and for awhile that's all I focused on. The more I read the more I wanted. I discovered other books by authors such as Jude Deveraux, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and Johanna Lindsey. (Can you see how my taste matured as I did?)

New authors have come on the scene for me: Charlaine Harris, Susan Sizemore, Anne Bishop, Garth Nix....I could go on and on.

My love affair of books and stories has never faltered, but only strengthened. It has never let me down. I get excited every time I open up a new book for the first time--it's like that first kiss! It is that love that has pulled me into writing to share the stories that have been inspired by a life time of reading.

Tell me, when do you remember the beginning of your own love affair with books? What were your favorite stories and authors as children? Adolescent? Adult?

What do you love the most about the books?

I love it ALL.


Angel said...

I feel the same way about entering a library! It was a magical place for me during adolescence. My mother homeschooled us, and a trip to a nearby town library was a weekly affair. The librarians would marvel at the fact that not only did my sister and I each check out the maximum (10) books, my mother reported to them that we actually read them all... and sometimes each others. :)

During that time I read a lot of Phyllis A. Whitney and Mary Stewart. When my mother finally let us start reading Harlequins (I'm not sure which line, but theywere contemporaries. Maybe Special Edition?) we devoured them too. So many wonderful memories.


M.V.Freeman said...

I forgot about Phyllis A. Whitney!

As for the library, I would do the same, I remember lugging home an arm full of books, they were heavy, but who cared..I had reading material for the week! :)

And like you, its always great to have a sister who read, twice as many books!

JoAnn said...

This is going to date me for sure, but here goes. :)

Books plus my childhood equaled mysteries. I loved them. I read Nancy Drew, Bobbsey Twins, and Trixie Belden. (Hardy Boys -- not so much. I was too girly.)

But my all-time favorite books were the Happy Hollisters series. Pete and Pam; Ricky, Holly, and little Sue. They solved wonderful not-to-scary mysteries and I could not get enough of them. I would check them out of the library, and occasionally, my parents would buy a book for my brother and me to share.

(Now, that was a serious sibling argument: Who got to read the book first? Once my mom said "Okay, you get to read one chapter, and then your brother gets to read one chapter. You have to take turns." Neither of us liked that plan!)

In fourth grade, I met a girl who had just moved to my school. When I found out she owned every single Happy Hollisters book, she became my new best friend, although I didn't much like her otherwise. :)

M.V.Freeman said...

This doesn't date you! ;) Besides, good stories are never out dated! I used to read some of the Bobsey twins, and Nancy Drew. Another story I fell in love with when I was young-- A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgsen Burnett.

Now you make me want to find out more about the Happy Hollisters series. Have you ever re-read those stories? Do you have a copy of one of the books?

That's another thing I am curious about--does anyone have one of their favorite books from childhood still? (even if its a modern version)

Karen Beeching said...

I remember begging my mother to teach me to read and write as far back as age 3. Having three older brothers, I needed the constant escape.

My love of books grew through odd circumstances. A bully in first grade decided I would be his punching bag (I had red hair, freckles, and was terribly shy--a major nerd). I would hide in the school library during lunch and recess every day and there began my true "affair" with books.

Who knew that bully would later become a drug dealer and I would become a writer. Life is so strange.

M.V.Freeman said...

Karen, I cannot imagine you a "nerd"!

As for that bully--well it seems that much of what we do when we are young manifests itself when we get older.

I also used books to escape and to cope, they never let you down! :)

What was your favorite book? Or at least one of them?

Karen Beeching said...

My favorite book (if I have to choose one) was Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett. If you look on Amazon's comments about the book, you'll see I'm not alone.

Funny, I was talking to my husband about this book just the other day. I was very much into paranormal even back in grade school.

M.V.Freeman said...

Ooooh! I remember that book! I loved it too!,I'm surprised I didn't remember it.

It is amazing what books called to us when we were young. This is why I will always LOVE books! :-)

Carla Swafford said...

I was a little tom-boyish when I was growing up. So whenever I went to the library, I looked for horses and cowboys.

I still have my copies of Black Beauty and King of the Wind.

JoAnn, I would've been your best friend. I had the whole set of the Hollisters. Sure wished I knew where the set was now.

The first true romance (happy ending) I read was BOND OF BLOOD by Roberta Gellis. I was 12 and that was a rather risque book for my age, but it had a horse and knight on the front. I had found IVANHOE and had wanted more.

M.V.Freeman said...

My daughter loves anything about horses! My mother did read us Black Beauty but we were the princesses type...my poor mom.

Ivanhoe! I have never read the complete work, but bits of it (shame on me). Still, who can resist a gallant knight?

Christine said...

My love affair with books and reading started very early. My dad used to read to us every night. And he used the Richard Scarry Books to teach us English when we immigrated to Canada.

I've inhaled most of the series you all shared: Bobbsey Twin, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Wizard of Oz, Black Beauty, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and on and on.

I also loved reading romances--and devoured all things HQN, Danielle Steele books, Phyllis A. Whitney, Jude Deveraux, and more.

My Dad and I shared a love of all things obscure and intellectual: Graham Greene, Robertson Davie come to mind. We also loved the The Cat Who... series and shared them.

Reading was, and always will be, an escape for me. As a child, I was not popular--living in a mining town and knowing big words and actually liking learning didn't lend itself to popularity. I was bullied as well. A lot.

Reading always gave me the hope that I could transcend the unbearable things in my life. And I could succeed. Love and romance and finding the HEA are part of that for me.

Thanks for the post--and your writing puts me in the library. Terrific!

M.V.Freeman said...

I was just talking a friend about reading and books. She said the exact same thing you did, books, reading was and is the way to escape and transcend those unbearable situations you find yourself in. They also show you that there is a way out and an HEA. (Granted that does vary from person to person).

Just think, each and everyone of us have moved above and beyond those things in our past. I find it amazing when I speak to those who have done well...and every one of them read.

Truly, I cannot imagine someone bullying you! But, I know it happens, I suffered from it myself. (Yes, snarky me)

Lets raise a toast to readers, writers, and Happily Ever Afters!