Recently, I attended a reading by Tom Peek, author of the novel Daughters of Fire. As he read, Tom exuded a quiet excitement, revealing the depth of his characters while drawing his listeners into the action and adventure of a world he had created.
My three fun reasons for loving to read
1. From the time I started selecting my own reading material, books have taken me to ‘another world’, that proverbial place where one is able to travel without the expense of air fare, car rental, or 20% tipping. To this day, I dream of taking a steamboat ride down the mighty Mississippi River. During my first and subsequent readings of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I smelled the fresh air while bobbing along the rippling surface of the rapidly-flowing water, heard the incessant chirping of birds under the willows, marveled at a catfish “big as a man”, watched furry-pelted creatures scurry along the river bank. The morning breeze cooled me as it tousled my short-cropped, river-washed hair.
2. In my teen years, I read my way through the Sherlock Holmes cases of Arthur Conan Doyle, Nero Wolfe’s investigations as penned by Rex Stout, and the court scenes of Perry Mason by Erle Stanley Gardner. Finally, I exhausted the local library’s supply of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Only years later did I consciously come to the realization that I loved the “mystery series.” Each story kept me reading, but I returned to the series, book after book, to read about the adventures of a particular person. Even though the word ‘protagonist’ didn’t enter my spoken vocabulary until years later, I loved revisiting my new-found friends within the pages of those novels. These friends were often eccentric, loud, or “foreign”; they were knowledgeable in their field of expertise; at times, they were confused or befuddled or even angry; but always, they were exciting to read about and fun to know.
3. Robert Ludlum’s novels changed my outlook on reading. Now my time was often spent reading for sheer pleasure and entertainment. I settled back while the story flowed over me, excited, tantalized, mesmerized, enlightened, and enthralled me. Through the decades, I devoured: all of Stephen King’s novels, stories painted exquisitely with descriptive phrases, especially his Dark Tower series with Roland Deschain; Sue Grafton’s ABC mysteries; John Sandford’s Prey series; Tess Gerittson’s medical thrillers; all of the works by Michael Connelly, Mary Higgins Clark, Clive Cussler, Janet Evanovich, and JK Rowlings. (Raise your hand if you enjoyed the parallels between the Lord of the Rings, Dark Tower, and Harry Potter series.)