Last week I attended “Literary Orange, a fabulous event presented by the Orange County Public Libraries and almost fifty writers speaking. I am still amazed at their diverse personalities, insightful comments, and varied books. I added so many books to my “must read NOW” list that I may never get anything done because I am reading.
One interesting comment that came up repeatedly was that these writers all started out as readers, and they continue to be readers to this day. They read fiction and non-fiction; they read to see what the competition is writing; they read to get ideas; they read to help friends; they read to get background for their own books. THEY READ.
They shared stories of being taken to the public library as children. They told of reading “adult” books when they had read all the children’s books. They mentioned “Little Women” numerous times. They described the love of syntax and rhythm in books. They learned to imagine the possibilities by reading. They developed a lifelong love of telling stories by reading the stories of others.
That motivated me to share my reading stories. My father was and still is a READER. My childhood memories include trips to the local library in our small Ohio town. In fact, I still have my library card from the Raymond library and check out e-books from my home in California.
I remember my parents reading to me, even after I could read myself. My mother read the printed page with feeling and expression, but my father created something unexpected, a story about the pictures, almost the printed-page story, but yet different, unexpected, surprising. Even those “safe” Little Golden Books were transformed into mysteries as he read them. I think I love to read mysteries because he created the unexpected when he read to me. He still does that with his grandchildren. I laugh when I hear him reading and one of the kids says, “That’s not what is in the book.” He replies that it might be.
Most of you are writers and probably readers, so now it is your turn to share. What were your early experiences with books? What books do you read now? Why do you read them?