Biographical Non-Fiction posted April 6, 2020

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How my love affair with books began

The Keys to the Kingdom

by Earl Corp

When I was a kid my mother read to us kids. She started with Uncle Wiggly and as we got older she would read more advanced books like The Bobbsey Twins. The running joke we had was each book was the same: the kids would get lost, start a fire, and miraculously one of them would have chocolate bars so they’d melt snow and make cocoa then they’d be saved.

One year I won a book of Bible stories for learning the most Bible verses at Vacation Bible School. The book started with In the Beginning and went through to Revelations. My mother read from this book for an entire summer.
I think my mother reading to us instilled the love of books that I carry to this day. My preferred genre when I started going to the library in school was biographies. I read every biography book in the East End Elementary Library.
When I was 11 I was introduced to Louis L'amour novels. His writing style appealed to me because he claimed when he wrote about a stream or a canyon he was at it and the water was good to drink. I try to use this same style as a newspaper writer and in my works on Fanstory.

I may have outgrown this but I was a cowboy snob. When I picked up a western if a car entered the story I was done reading that book. I think this is why I couldn’t get into Zane Grey.

One thing that really appealed to me about the books I read was the authors had the ability to take a trip and never leave the farm.
One of the best examples of this I can give is during my sophomore year in high school.

One day in study hall I was reading Battle Cry by Leon Uris. It’s a fictional story of the Marines in World War II. It was February in PA and snow was falling, but Uris took me to an island in the Pacific. I was so engrossed in the book I imagined I had flies buzzing my ears and I swatted at the phantom flies.

I wasn’t a fan of assigned reading in school, but there were some good stories such as Shane and When the Legends Die. Both are good reads I use for teaching to this day.

As a teacher I try to make books appealing to kids. I think when you get a kid to like and enjoy reading you have handed them the keys to the kingdom.

One of my favorite books when I was a kid was the Book of Lists. There was a way to submit some but I never did. I actually tried doing that on here and had great audience participation.

One of the lists I would have submitted back the was the Five Books You Would Take to a Deserted Island.

The first one I’d take is that Bible Story book. I could read that one over and over. The second one I’d take is Centennial by James Michener, another book I’ve read over and over.

Third would be Battle Cry, I explained this up above.

Next would be Sackett’s Land by L'amour. The only problem with this one is it would leave me wanting to read the rest of them.

The last one I’d take is Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. Another western which I could read over and over.
I’ll always appreciate my mother passing on the love of reading. She honestly handed me the keys to the kingdom, which I use every day.

I probably could have written the appeal of books to me in one paragraph, but that wouldn’t have offered you a trip and never leaving the farm


The Appeal of Books contest entry


I wanted to name this Take a Trip But Never Leave the Farm but it wouldn't fit. Thanks for reading this.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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