Sunday, October 17, 2010

1980 Gold Medalist in Reading Olymics! Honest!

I've always been a voracious reader.

For instance, as the title suggests, I entered the Reading Olympics along with my sister and a friend. The goal was to read twenty books in a month for the Gold medal; fifteen for the Silver; and ten for the Bronze.

My sister read ten.

K managed sixteen.

I read forty-five.

We had to have a parent's signature, and at first, my mother made me give her a brief summary of the book I had listed before she would sign off on it. But by the third book, she realized I was retaining the plot, characters, etc, and told me to just bring my sheet at the end of each day; she believed me.

I learned to read in Kindergarten. My favorite book was Spaghetti Eddie from the school library. I also loved my Disney Read-Al0ud books, with the record and 'Turn the page when Tinkerbell waves her little wand like this...(sound of tinkling bells)".

By the second grade, I was devouring biographies. My mother had given me her Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mary Mapes Dodge, Sagajawea, and Julia Ward Howe. I took one of them to school one day, and my teacher realized I was reading above my level. She took me to the 'big' library and let me check out more biographies on her card. I fell in love with the First Ladies, Virginia Dare, and Jane Addams.

Third grade, my teacher restricted me back to the 'baby' library. Thankfully, my mom was our Brownie Scout snack lady, so once a week while she was conferring with our Scout leader, I slipped down to the 'big' library and read to my heart's content.

I was introduced to Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames by the 5th grade; Vicki Barr and the Dana Girls by the 6th grade, and Mom let me read The Flame and the Flower by the end of my 6th grade year (I had my first boyfriend, and I decided I was 'grown up enough' to read Mom's romance books).

Judy Blume was rising in popularity, so I also devoured Are You There God, It's Me Margaret; Deenie; Blubber; Then Again Maybe I Won't, and First Love. I also haunted the jr. high library for new fiction and fell in love with books such as 'I Was A Teenage Alcoholic/Drug Addict/Teenage Mom'. I also read Dunesbury Comic books.

By high school, I was into the teenage 'First Love' from Silhouette Books, and other teenage romances. A friend introduced me to VC Andrews. And while on vacation, I ran out of reading material and purchased 'Dakota' by Dana Fuller Ross, beginning a twenty-year love-fest with Wagon's West. I also read Gone With The Wind, and was thrilled when I was finally allowed to watch the movie on TV.

I think the Thornbirds came out while I was in college; it might have been my senior year of high school. Dad also got me interested in John Jakes, and I read North and South before it bacame a mini-series. I had also eagerly watched 'Centennial', and while I didn't read the book all the way through until the 1990's, I did enjoy reading certain scenes I'd seen on TV. I didn't even watch every episode until TNT aired it in the early '90's. Somewhere, I have the last episode on tape.

Danielle Steele and Wagon's West was a staple in college; after I married, my mother introduced me to Nora Roberts and Catherine Coulter. Other friends introduced me to Lavyrle Spencer and W.E.B. Griffin. James Patterson. Michael Palmer. The list goes on.

In 2003, I read my first e-book and erotic romance, Water Lust by Mary Winter. It was an experiment to see if I was comfortable reading books on the computer. Surprise; I loved it! And in 2007, when I started communicating with several authors, I started purchasing their e-books. Finally last year, my hubby bought me a Sony Pocket E-reader, and it stays in my purse. I try to purchase anywhere from three to twelve books a month, and read anywhere I have to wait.

Some friends recently opened a new/used book store, and while my funds are limited for the e-book-buying, I have a pile of print ones on loan to me from the bookstore. I get paid in reading material, so I usually have four or five books tucked away. And I have several books on the shelves earmarked for 'next to be read'.

On my Recommend shelf, I've listed Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones (teen romance I loved!); Life Goes On (Christian Fiction); The First Patient (Medical Thriller by Michael Palmer); The Runaway Jury (Thriller by John Grisham); and The Dutchess (my favorite Jude Deveraux romance).

So yes, the genres have changed, and the amount of free time to read, plus the method has changed. But my love of the printed word will always remain the same.

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