Friday, July 22, 2005

How I started my romance reading "habit"

I'm not exactly sure how I got started reading exactly, but I remember that my siblings (2 sisters and 1 brother) called me "bookworm". This was meant as the ultimate insult. You know how name calling between siblings is one of your best weapons. If you want to really zing them, you call them the worst thing you can think of. We were a very active bunch but being the oldest I considered them a bit childish and a bit beneath me. After all, I was a whole year older than the next in age. I'm sure I was stuck up and a snob and they probably resented my attitude. One way for me to shut them out was to climb the big sycamore tree in the backyard and read to my heart's content. But the truth I recognize today is that I am somewhat of a loner. I still get a bit overwhelmed by large groups of people and feel the need to go off by myself.

Anyway, forget the pschological analysis. I have been a voracious reader from an early age maybe initially as an escape from my rather noisy, boisterous family. My mother worked outside the home from the time I was about 5 years old onward. During the summertime we had babysitters but I think I was about 11 when Mom decided I was mature enough to be "in charge" of the rest of the bunch for the whole summer. It boggles the mind when I think about that. You couldn't do that today but we lived in a largish small town and mom and dad had no worries about our safety. I sort of bossed the rest of the bunch into getting the chores done and we rode about town on our bikes the rest of the time. We rode daily to the local swimming pool and spent hours there. My point of this long ramble is that I made sure we also rode our bikes every week to the library. I would check out a large stack (the maximum that would fit in my bike baskets) every week. I remember being absolutely thrilled when asking the librarian how many books I could check out at once and she said there was no limit! Wow, I was in heaven!! I don't remember exactly what kinds of books I checked out but I do remember finding a section of lots of doctor/nurse stories that I was particularly happy with.

When I was about 15 and in high school my friend Katie grabbed my arm while we were in the school library and dragged me over to the section of books by Mary Stewart and told me I MUST read these books. Well, I read Nine Coaches Waiting and loved it. From there I went on to read everything I could find by her. Then I discover Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and some other gothic type books. But I eventually figured out that the most appealing part of these types of books was the romance element. Finding books with romance became my primary goal from that time on.

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