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The Power of a Book

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The Call of the Wild and Never Cry Wolf were the first two books I fell in love with.  They weren’t the first books I read or the first books I enjoyed but they were the first books I truly loved.

One of my fondest memories growing up was of my Dad always reading.  He would get so absorbed in a book he would lose sight of where he was.  We often teased him that we could ask him anything when he was reading and he’d say yes just so we’d leave him alone so he could finish his book.  It is that example that piqued my curiosity about stories, for certainly if he couldn’t put a book down, there must be something wonderful inside them.  So I started to read with a vengeance.

As a young girl, one of the first books I remember enjoying was Pippi Longstocking.  I connected with the story because Pippi was odd, and well, different than the other kids, and she owned that.  I have always felt out of place with other people so reading a book where the main character was different than everyone else gave me courage that it was okay.  It was empowering!  This may have been when I realized the power in a story.

For a while I read a lot of Judy Blume books.  Back in the seventies she wrote young adult books aimed mostly towards girls.  I believe I likely read them all, but the one I remember the most was Starring Sally J. Freedman.  Once again I gravitated to a book where the girl was a bit odd.  She made up stories in her head about a neighbor who looked like Adolf Hitler.  The book broadened my view of the world.  I was only 10 at the time.  It touched on social issues going on in the world in the 40’s and opened my eyes to what the world had been like during that time.  The power of a book.

I’m back to the beginning of this blog post, The Call of the Wild and Never Cry Wolf.  In middle school I read animal books constantly.  I have always had a passion for nature and animals and reading anything related to them only increases that passion.  I read Black Beauty and The Black Stallion and so many other animal related books, but The Call of the Wild and Never Cry Wolf, which were my brother’s books, changed my feelings about reading and for whatever reason they still resonate with me today.  I loved them so much that I read them over and over again.  They are different stories with one more based in fiction following the life of a collie mix and the other showcasing the study of wolves in Canada.  They broadened my view of the world which any good book does.  But most of all they made me fall in love with the process of writing.  They are one of the main reasons I became a writer.  The power of a book.

I went on to love countless books after that and some of whose stories have stayed with me forever.  Helen Keller, Little Women, Old Yeller, Just about every Agatha Christie book ever written as well as almost all of Stephen King novels, The Legacy, First Blood, Trail of Tears, The Hobbit, Watership Down, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Redwall books, The Harry Potter books,  A Little Life, The Lilac Girls, The Name of The Wind and countless others.  The Power of the words in these books educated me, entertained me and changed my life.  And it all started with a man, a father, who loved reading, and by his actions passed that love down to me, opening up a whole new world.

The Power of a Book!

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