Confessions of an Eclectic Reader

I grew up surrounded by books. I can remember climbing the built-in bookshelves my father constructed when my parents turned the basement bedrooms into a playroom. Those shelves were full to capacity with everything from the collected works of George Bernard Shaw to pulp fiction spy thrillers.

One of my early independent book reports was on Alex Hailey’s Airport, a book that had caught my eye when climbing the shelves. (That worried my Grade 5 teacher a little.*) I was the kind of kid that would haunt the library for more adventures of Freddy the Pig and then pick up And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I loved Alice in Wonderland and Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances in equal measure. The day I discovered Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series in a London bookstore, I was looking to fill in the gaps in my Paddington Bear books.

I have always been able to get lost in books. I was off school a lot because of ear infections. Although we were allowed to watch TV when we were home sick, there wasn’t much to watch besides soap operas and game shows until after school. Reading was my distraction. At age nine I had an ear operation that cut down the infections but made me completely deaf in one ear. When it got too hard to make out what people were saying, I’d tune them out and either read or daydream.  When the daydreams got too complicated to keep straight, I started writing them out, first as a synopsis with a few scenes, then as stories.

No matter where I went, I had a book to read and a clipboard to write on. Things haven’t changed much except my clipboard and half of my to-be-read pile fit on my tablet.

*Footnote: The same teacher that was concerned with my reading Airport also called my mother to find out if I really was going to an obstetrician. (I meant optician.)  He was also the one who called my mother to ask if I was depressed. I had shared with him a short story about the end of the world. Knowing I could evoke that kind of response was the point I knew I wanted to be an author when I grew up. For that, and introducing me to the books of Roald Dahl and Michael Bond, I will always be grateful to Mister...what was his name?

Hey! I'm going to try to keep a regular schedule again: biweekly on Mondays. I even have a calendar and someone to nag me. 

Next post will be Monday 29 October and the topic (of course) will be Halloween.

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