Reading has saved my life a number of times and kept me safe while growing up. As the only child of a single parent, I was frequently alone and we moved a lot, perpetually making me “the new kid”. So I turned to books.
My brilliant mom read voraciously. She left all kinds of books laying around, so I read them. In second grade I found Han Ruesch’s Top of the World, thus I wrote my “Indian” report on Eskimos. It was the 1970’s.
My first mystery was Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. I think I was eight. From that point forward the mystery became my favorite genre. I worked backwards from Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple to Nancy Drew to Trixie Belden. I have read every Mary Higgins Clark mystery, most of Anne Perry’s, and Patricia Cornwell up to 2009, among others.
My mother’s Christian interests lead me to Hannah Hurnard’s Hind’s Feet on High Places and C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters. This was by the age of ten.
Around this time, my mom began to notice my consumption of her book sets, so she directed me towards more age appropriate material, thus The Chronicles of Narnia. I loved those books and a tragedy of my life was losing them in 2001.
Judy Blume was among the authors of my friends, however, precocious as I was, my first J.B. was the infamous Forever. Again, I worked backwards so to speak, reading Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, Deenie, and Super Fudge. Even in adulthood I love Judy Blume, reading Forever and Wifey every ten years. (Skipping ahead, I also read Erma Bombeck’s A Marriage Made in Heaven or Too Tired for an Affair once a decade.) Judy Blume helped me grow-up. She was my guide through adolescence and a validator through my twenties. Today, I follow her on Facebook.
Interestingly, I read the Love Comes Softly series by Jannette Oke after Judy Blume. I came to understand love and sex through Forever and Loves Comes Softly. Important information for an eleven year old.
By twelve, I wanted bodice rippers, but my Christian reading teacher was having none of that, so my mom and I visited the Christian bookstore. The lady at the store gave me a wink and sold my mom and I on Eugenia Price’s Savannah. It took me ten years to read all her historical fiction romances. I read them even while fishing with my ex-husband, much to his dismay.
To date, I have read about a third of Barnes and Noble’s self-help section, a good number off the best sellers’ list, and most recently I am into memoirs. Besides books, I read newsletters, newspapers, and magazines. For Christmas my mom gave me a subscription to Vanity Fair, thank you Mr. Trump! I read blogs and write daily.
I believe nearly every problem can be solved by books and reading, or maybe it’s just literacy. Either way, they can save lives, they certainly saved mime.