Biographical Non-Fiction posted April 5, 2020 Chapters:  ...4 5 -6- 7... 

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My love of books

A chapter in the book Viewing the World With Fresh Eyes

Book Worm

by BethShelby

The Appeal of Books Contest Winner 

Growing up as I did in the days before television, my earliest memories are of sitting in my mother’s lap and having stories read aloud to me. Mom was a good reader and could make the stories come to life. Dad read to me to, but his job was to read the funny paper while I looked at the pictures.

I was an only child, and I grew up around adults. The nearest playmate lived a mile away, and we seldom saw each other. Story time was the best time of the day. Some stories weren’t always to my liking. I had a tender heart, and a lot of the fairy tales were brutal, like killing giants or having Bambi’s mom die. I couldn’t wait until I learned to read for myself.

Reading came easy for me, and I was fascinated by words. The day Mom took me to the library for the first time was the day, my whole world exploded with color and adventure. From that day forward, I came home with as many books as I could carry. Reading was my life. I loved to find a tight space and curl up away from everyone, and not move for hours except to turn pages.

I went on every adventure the Bobsey Twins had. I solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I became a Nurse with Cherry Aims. I read all the Orange biography books, about all the heroes of history. By the time I reached third grade, I’d read every book the library in our town had to offer young people.

We used to sign our names on a card inside the book cover. There was one name other than mine on every card. I was not the only book worm in town. This girl was in my class in school and Jo Ann became my rival. We competed for everything; even to see who could read the most books. We always wanted to have the same part in school plays. We vied to be the one named to do the speeches for class competitions. She was the richest girl in town, but years later, she confessed at a class reunion that she always envied me. Funny thing was I’d envied her.

I graduated to the Zane Grey series, the Perry Mason series, the Emily Loring books, and everything Charles Dickens wrote. I read Robinson Crusoe and Moby Dick and Wuthering Heights. There was no subject that didn’t interest me. I read by firelight and flashlight and moonlight. I even captured a jar of fireflies hoping I could see to read by them when Dad made me turn out the lights at night. That trick didn’t work so well. I read in cars, in barns, and while lying across a limb on my favorite pine tree.
I once heard an aunt tell my mother, “I’m glad my daughter doesn’t care about books. I think it gets them interested in boys too young.” Her daughter started dating at twelve. I had no time for boys. Books were more interesting. Books had macho men for icons. Sure beat pimply faced teenagers. I had my first date at seventeen and he was twenty-five.

Now that I’m older, and have just about put my eyes out reading, I have my own library. Every room has dozens of books. One long wall of my house is floor to ceiling books. Ironically, now I prefer to read on the computer. You can usually make the type larger. I would still rather read the book than see a movie or watch TV.

Did reading make me smarter? Probably not, but it did make me want to write, and I’m a whizz at crosswords and trivia.


The Appeal of Books
Contest Winner
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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