Lots of books have stayed with me after reading and re-reading them. These are books I’ve realized something new or have an ah-ha with each reading. While I wouldn’t say any particular book has changed my life, I will concede that two books had immense influence on my desire to read. I encountered the first book in first Grade (c. 1961) and the second book in fourth grade (c. 1965).
My mom, dad, maternal grandfather, and paternal grandmother read to me daily from books, newspapers, and magazines. No one at home attempted to teach me to read, and I was perfectly happy with that. I didn’t need to learn to read, because someone read stories to me just about any time I asked.
I was a country kid, so kindergarten wasn’t available to me. It was in first grade that I encountered this book (or a similar title), which opened up a world of words for me. I learned to read with the Dick and Jane.
In second grade, I was introduced to the SRA Reading Method. I liked it well enough. It was short, sweet, and to-the-point reading. My teacher also read stories aloud. I recall not liking two of the series she read. That’s probably not quite true. I loathed them entirely, and I still feel that way. The Black Beauty series and The Wizard of Oz books just about ruined me for reading.
Third grade was much the same as second grade for reading. Reading on my own was okay, but nothing to write home about, and I don’t remember any of the books the teacher read aloud.
My ho-hum attitude toward reading changed in fourth grade. My teacher read aloud during the last ten minutes or so of class as we gathered up to go home. The day she started reading Little House in the Big Woods was the day I started traveling along an independent reading road, and I’m still traveling that road today. My mom bought the entire set for me, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read these books since then.
If catching my interest and creating a lifelong love of reading is a life-changing event caused by a book, then the Little House books qualify. The Little House books were the gateway books that led me to westerns by Louis L’Amour, who, as an author, is the number one influence on the western romance stories I write.
Until next time,
writing through history one romance upon a time