How does someone become a dedicated book reader, or as I like to call it, a professional unpaid book reader/reviewer? It’s not genetics. I have a twin brother, and he hasn’t picked up a book unless you count old gun magazines (he’s a former cop) for years. I’ll leave this question to scientists.
However, I credit my Mom, who realized when I was a wee bairn (too much Outlander?) or a young girl that I was destined for a life dedicated to reading books. All kinds of books. My mind expanded when Mom gave my pre-teen brain the classic book, Jane Eyre. I was hooked.
I didn’t read your typical 60s Nancy Drew teenage novels. Bleh. After all, I was a rebel who liked Ringo and wouldn’t be caught dead reading kiddie books, although now I am a diehard fan of YA Fiction. I jumped feet first and started on Wuthering Heights as soon as I finished Eyre. WH is genuine Romance Fiction, and Heathcliff didn’t need Mr. Grey’s whips to get hooked on his lady love. Wuthering Heights is hard-core “love” and doesn’t require describing Heathcliff’s manly parts. But everything clicked in my head as my synapses were hardwired to the point that I still, to this very day, in my 60s, get excited about literature. All kinds of literature. I’ll argue, with passion, about Wuthering Heights being the most romantic book ever written. I’m afraid the #metoo movement may have blinded some readers to “true” romance, and I believe Catherine must have been putting off some serious pheromones while running through the English heather.
In all seriousness, I have been chasing my first two books, Jane Eyre & Wuthering Heights, my entire life because they gave me a natural “high” that I still want to experience with all the feels and all the passion. I’ll never stop until my heart stops. The Great Gatsby, Emma, To Kill A Mockingbird, Gone With The Wind (a dayum good book), The Little Prince, and So. Many. More. These great books have enriched my life and soothed my wild soul.
I am grateful to live in a time where books and booksellers are revered. Where readers have the choices of independent bookstores (shout out to Parnassus Books and E. Shaver Booksellers), coffee shops, book shops, resale bookstores, audiobooks, and most importantly, the worldly “holy of holies” which is also known as “The Public Library” like my beloved Orange County Library in Orlando (@ocls). To this day, I look forward to re-reading a solid and beloved book. You would be surprised at what I chose. Here’s looking at those Dog Stars through the eyes of Matt Haig. #genius
But I’m not a collector. I do not have dusty books sitting idly on my bookshelves. I keep a precious few because I chose to pass them on, determined to convince non-readers to catch the addiction. My books are sent by mail, passed lovingly to friends over lunch, or put in my Little Free Library. My novels soar and go forth to spread joy.
In closing, what can compare to opening a new book? The feel of the paper, the font choice, the SMELL of the new virgin book page, and a glorious cover combine to create a unique feeling that transports the reader to another time and space. Who wouldn’t want this life? It’s immortal.
PS: Grammar police. Ignore the mistakes that I KNOW are in this bio.