PaperBackSwap Blog


Archive for the ‘Member Memories: Our Love of Books’ Category

A PBS Member Helps Out The Postal Service

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

By Pat O. (PatinKS)mailbox

 

The Northeast Kansas Local Chapter of PaperBackSwap (which meets in Topeka, KS) is small but active. We meet twice a month and do not have any set agenda, but mostly get together to talk about books, PBS, exchange books,  and anything else that ‘trips our trigger’. We meet one Sunday afternoon a month at a local donut shop and one Monday a month for lunch.

At our October luncheon one of the members, Evelyn F (bluemoon2421) mentioned that she had taken some books for mailing to one of our Post Office branches, and mentioned that she really liked PBS because she still likes the “feel” of holding a book in her hands to read. She also told them that she has a friend who is blind and who reads lots of books on tape but her preferred method of reading is still holding a Braille book in her hands to read.

Then the clerk piped up and said “You can read Braille? We need help.” Evelyn said that she did not read Braille but had someone in the car who could. They asked her to please bring her in. They needed help! They had several trays of talking books that belonged to the State Talking Books Library, with the labels written only in Braille that someone had dropped in the mailbox. Evelyn’s friend, Nancy immediately knew what to do. She called the Post Office on the following Monday with the address of the State Talking Books Library in Emporia and the books were dispatched. They were very grateful.


Pictured below are some of the PBS members of the Topeka Chapter at their November luncheon. We always welcome anyone who would like to join us.  Pictured are  DeAnnette H. (deanie) (sitting);back row to her right is Linda B., standing in the middle back is Pat O. (PatinKS) and to her left is Evelyn F. (bluemoon2421).

 

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The Northeast Kansas PBS Chapter meets twice a month. We meet on the first Sunday of each month at the Baker’s Dozen on SW 21st Street in Topeka, at 2pm – we call it Donut Sunday.
We meet on the third Monday of each month at Perkins Restaurant on Wanamaker at 11:30am for lunch.
We are always looking for new members so if you enjoy reading come join us for both meetings, if possible, and if not come when you can.

 

 

To Honor a Woman of Quiet Valor – CarolCeltic

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

PaperBackSwap lost a long-time and very special member. Most of us who participated in the Discussion Forums on the site called her friend. Matter of fact, Carol has over 250 other members on her Friends List. And many of us have a soft spot in our hearts for her.

Carol joined PaperBackSwap in 2006 and in that time swapped thousands of books and sent out many more to her friends and acquaintances on the site. She loved books! She loved to read books and to share books with other book lovers.

She also loved to share her kindness and encouraging words with her friends here. It was a rare instance when Carol didn’t respond with kind words and caring when someone posted a joy or trouble in Club Member Thoughts. It was no surprise when she was named Member of the Month in February of 2008.

sampson

Sampson

Carol had her share of difficulties in her life, but went on with it, with courage and determination. She was an example to us all of us when life slings hardships our way. She got up day after day, making the best of it. She knew what was important. The love of Family and Friends and her sweet companion, Sampson. Sampson was also kind of our dog, since we had the joy in helping to name him. We read her stories of his puppy-hood with laughter and love. We celebrated his achievements and antics with her. We love, through our love of Carol, her love for him.

Carol, we will miss your presence in the forums, in the swaps, in our lives. And we are better people for knowing and loving you.  Thank you for your example of quiet valor, your quirky sense of humor and for sharing the last 10 years of your life with us.

 

 

Fall Reflections…

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

motd pitter 6

Dear Members,

It’s that time of year again…time for us to reflect on the joys of summer as we enter into the Fall season. The leaves are starting to turn, and there is color in the hills.  

I like to sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet that this time of year offers, to be able to take stock of things and really think. Then I remember a good book that I have read, and want to read it again.

My favorite book of all time is Tolstoy’s War and Peace. To read it and understand the hardships that people went through in that era, and to try to fathom the depth of the characters in a war-torn foreign country. It comes across to me as more of a philosophical piece that really makes you think. About yourself, your loved ones, acquaintances and also those people we don’t care for or want in our lives.

What book has inspired you? Made you think? Please share your opinions, ideas and inspirations with us by adding your comments below.

As we head into Fall, I hope that you are finding peace and joy in the love of reading as much as I do.

Happy Reading!

Richard and
The PaperBackSwap Teamleaves-1380638850kYZ

 

 

My Father, My Grandfather and Our Love of Books

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

By Mary S. (kilchurn)

 

 

I think my love of reading started with my father and grandfather.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen either of them without a book (or two) in progress. 

 

If you walk into my Papa’s house, one of the first things you’ll notice is bookshelves; lots and lots of bookshelves.  Each shelf is overflowing with thick memoirs of World War II, leather-bound tomes documenting the “War of Northern Aggression”, biographies of some of the world’s most influential political figures and a few fiction novels just for fun.  Papa has read them all; every single one-most more than once.  At 86, he can quote his favorite lines, rattle off battle statistics and talk about military strategy like a four star general.  The man still reads several newspapers every day. 

 

 

I remember Papa telling stories at the breakfast table.  More often than not, I ended up with a cold breakfast because I was so focused on the stories.  I loved hearing about Ringo and Sambo and their adventures with the Poopampareno.   Later I found that some of Papa’s stories were adapted from “A Treasury of Southern Folklore” by B.A. Botkin.  Papa gave Dad a copy for Christmas in 1982, his own copy had been a gift in 1951 – it sits on my keeper shelf.

 

Cross the creek and head to my dad’s house and the first thing you encounter when you walk in the door is an overflowing bookshelf in the foyer.  It is full of stories of cowboys, lawmen, and big game hunters. 

 

 

My dad has always had a love of the outdoors and all things nature (except for snakes).  Death in the Long Grass by Peter H. Capstick stared out at me from our bookshelf as a child.  The title alone scared me.  Our copy had a pair of eyes peering out through tall grass.  I used to think the book was watching me.  As an adult, the book became a primer on African animals.  I bet you didn’t know that the deadliest animal in Africa is a hippo.  I remember sneaking and reading Man-Eaters of Tsavo by Lt. Colonel J. H. Patterson and loving it, despite its rather gruesome contents.  Later, I don’t know who was more surprised; me or Dad when we watched Ghost in the Darkness together and he realized I had read the story from which the movie was adapted. 

 

As I’ve grown older, one of the greatest joys for me has been giving them books that I know they will love.  I have to admit that it has become quite a challenge to find a book that they haven’t already read. 

 

Maybe your dad would love a new book for Father’s Day, I’m sure mine will!

 

 

 

 

8 Years, 8 Members, 8 Books

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

 

For PaperBackSwap’s 8 year anniversary, we asked 8 members

to tell us about 8 books that have mattered to them.

Today we feature Linda (Angeleyes)

 

Books I love

 

Pick 8 books that are special to me. Are they crazy? Just 8. How in the world am I supposed to do that? I’ve read THOUSANDS of books and many, many, many have left some sort of internal “mark” on me. Many of which I can’t even tell you why. So I sat and pondered. Over the last 40 years which books have really “packed a punch” so to speak that maybe aren’t your normal books everyone has heard about. Well here are my 8. I hope you give them a read and enjoy them as much as I did.

 

Scuffy the Tug Boat and his Adventures Down the River by Tibor Gergely & Gertrude Crampton

This is the book that started it all for me.  The very first book I remember and as a child my absolute favorite.  I made my mom read it to me every day and when I learned to read I read it to her.  When my son was born 19 years ago I passed my well-worn copy on to him.  If only Scuffy knew what he started..lol  I’m sure he would be proud.  Scuffy also taught me that it’s natural to want to go out and explore the world but you don’t have to get lost while you do it.

 

The Secret of the Old Clock – Nancy Drew, No 1 by Carolyn Keene

By the time I was 8 years old a book was a natural extension of my hand.  Everywhere I went I had a book.  The local librarian knew me by name.  One day she suggested I venture out of the children’s area into the “big kid” room and pointed me in the direction of the Nancy Drew books.  I had never before read a series book and felt so adult-like.  I found book 1 – The Secret of the Old Clock and promptly found a seat and began reading.

This book was different than anything I had read before.  This time I felt like I was right there in the story.  Nancy, her friend Helen, housekeeper Hannah and even her dad were my friends.  My imagination was on fire.  Navigating the twists and turns with Nancy, I reveled in how independent, mature and headstrong she was.

The story finds Nancy involved in a search for a missing will. She is assisted by her father, who is a noted attorney, and her friend Helen.. As her investigation progresses she not only finds herself at odds with unworthy heirs, but confronting furniture thieves as well.

2 hours later I was finished.  I was so proud of myself and a lifelong passion for mysteries was ignited.  Excited I pulled off as many Nancy Drew books as I could carry, checked them out and strutted on home.  My dad saw me walking up the street towards the house and asked if I had cleaned out the library…lol.  For years after that I could be found every Saturday walking to and from the library with my backpack and my arms filled with Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and The Bobbsey Twins books.

 

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Cruise &, Bob Mayer

I stumbled onto Paperbackswap in September 2007 with a very small repertoire of authors read under my belt.  After exploring the site for a day or two I came across a book that looked kind of interesting and was different than anything I had read before.  Excited to use my newly obtained credits, I ordered “Agnes and the Hitman” and within a few days it arrived.  I jumped right in and read it while my teenage son played video games.  I finished the book before he finished the game.  I loved it !  The plot, the characters and the laugh-out-loud dialogue were perfect.

I am told I can be somewhat cranky and/or sarcastic so I felt Agnes was a kindred spirit of sorts. I mean when I read “… your ass is grass and I am a John Deere super-classic riding lawn mower with a V6 engine and a double cutting blade, do I make myself clear?”  I laughed out loud. This is SO something I would say.  My son asked me what was so funny and when I read it to him he asked if I wrote the book..lol

The premise of the story is things turn south for Agnes Crandall’s wedding catering business when a dognapper invades her kitchen holding a gun. Agnes wallops him upside the head with a cast iron skillet, knocking him thru a hidden door in her kitchen and killing him. An unexpected hero – Shane – arrives through a window to rescue her, only he turns out to be a professional hit man who was hired by his retired gangster uncle to protect Agnes. Shane’s uncle sort of forgets to mention that $5 million dollars is hidden somewhere in the house – thus the need for protecting Agnes. This leads to a string of hit men, gangsters, crazies and wedding guests searching for the money. And then there are the flamingos, the flamingo-themed wedding, and the flamingo-colored dresses. Not to mention the stripper with flamingo pasties.  Oh and did I mention Agnes has anger issues?

There were twists and turns and every time I thought I had figured out WHODUNIT, the authors threw a monkey wrench in the mix and The HUMOR plus Agnes and Shane’s HOT relationship kept me plowing through the book to see how it ended.

I strongly urge you to give this book a try but make sure you keep a fan close and the liquids far (or you’ll be sure to spit them out all over the book from laughing..)

 

 

Every Woman Needs a Wife by Naleighna-Kai

Hey I want a wife too ! I ordered this book simply because of the title and it had me laughing out loud.  I felt proud to be female when I went along on this ingenuously crafted novel with Kai.

When Brandi Spencer catches her husband (Vernon) of more than a decade with his mistress (Tanya), she decides to forgo the crying, kicking and screaming and to attack her husband where it will hurt him the most – by going after and taking his mistress! What woman does not need someone to take up the slack with cooking, laundry, taking care of the children, extracurricular activities, but what wife goes so far as to actually hire the mistress-with contract to boot-and moves the other woman into her home?!

In the midst of it all, both women realize that they have both been used and that Vernon deserves to be taught a lesson. As Brandi and Tanya scheme and plan how to get even with Vernon, they bond and a friendship is formed. Each woman also reclaims her self-worth and self-importance as she sheds baggage and horrible memories and experiences of the past.

A thought provoking read that made me laugh, cry, and say YOU GO GIRL ! at the same time, I kept thinking to myself,  “I wonder if I would think of such a thing.  What a fantastic response to such a horrifying situation”.  And of course I could not put it down because every time I tried a new twist would come up that had me laughing even harder and thinking even more.  I appreciated the fact the characters weren’t bitchy or catty but were intelligent and used intellect to “fix” their problems.

This book left me with a sense that anything worth having is worth fighting for.  Of course when my BF saw me reading this and all he had to go by was the title I think he was a little concerned.  That has since passed and he seems to be less fidgety but anytime I want to get him stirred up I pull out the book and sit it on the nightstand…lol.

 

My Best Friends’ Girl by Dorothy Koomson

Boy meets girl.  Boy falls in love with girl.  Boy sleeps with girl’s best friend.  Girl finds out…..years later. And the world as they know it falls apart.

Told in first person prose, this is the story of forgiveness, redemption, motherly love and an understanding of the fragility of the human condition.  From the moment that Adele Brannon and Kamryn Matika met in college, they were best friends. They thought nothing could come between them, but then Adele did the unthinkable. She slept with Kamryn’s fiancé, Nate.  By the time Kamryn finds out, a few years have passed and Adele is the mother of a child named Tegan.

When the betrayal is revealed, Kamryn breaks up with Nate and walks out on her friendship with Adele and the goddaughter she adores

Years later, and after a series of unanswered letters from Adele, Kamryn finally responds to one that is truly a desperate cry for help, returning to London to a hospital room where Adele lies dying.

Kamryn reluctantly goes to see her and to her complete and utter shock Adele begs her to adopt her daughter, Tegan. With a job she loves, a hectic social life that does not include kids, kittens and motherhood, the last thing Kamryn needs is a five year child old tied to her designer apron strings. Especially not a child who reminds her so much of a time she would rather forget.

But upon finding a traumatised Tegan living in awful conditions with Adele’s vile stepmother and uncaring father Kamryn takes the bull by the horns and takes the child on.

The journey that ensues is emotional tale of love, friends, and the unusual forms that family can take; it was a page-turning delight that held my attention all the way through.  This story reminded me of my best friend in high school who just happened to be black to my white.  28 years, 4 children, 2 ex-husbands 2 current “husbands” and a few life changing conditions between us we have learned of love, family and friends on our own terms.  And I know that should one of us lie dying the other would “stop the world” for the other.  Because that’s what family does.

 

Obedience by Will Lavender

I am a puzzle person.  Give me a game of Tetris, or a Suduko or even a game of Freecell and I’m content.  Give me a book with an infuriating, brilliant puzzle that compels continuous, non-stop reading from beginning to end to discover how everything winds up and I’m in heaven.  Obedience is one of those books. It sticks with you for days after you finish it. Remembering what it was like to be an 18-21 year old college student, I remember how unsure everyone is at that age and how impressionable they are. This book plays on all of those uncertainties and shows just how easily manipulated we can be.  This is not your ordinary thriller. There are no assassins, spies, or detectives, this thriller invites the reader to contemplate college relationships, professor-student indiscretion, the helplessness parents feel when their children are away at college, the role of graduate assistants, academic creativity, and more.

Three students at Indiana’s Winchester University are taking a philosophy class — Logic & Reasoning 204 — and have been given their only assignment for the term – locate a hypothetical young girl named Polly. Fail and she will be murdered. The professor feeds his students information about Polly’s family and friends and provides details about her actions just prior to her disappearance. He states that “the best way to learn logic is to decode a puzzle.” By solving the “Polly puzzle,” they “will learn to think, and induce, and carve out the blight of lazy thought.”

The students begin to discover similarities the assignment has to a real case of a missing girl in a neighboring town that’s gone unsolved for several years. And their professor even wrote a book about the case. As the three of them dive deeper into the assignment, they begin to question their professor’s word and believe that the case of Polly is actually real. When some clues begin to relate directly to their real lives, things get even more disturbing.

As the students encounter more mysteries, clues, and people – a strange warning from the dean, his cheating wife, a graduate assistant with a weird tattoo, campus police phone calls after forwarding emails, photographs, and the professor’s book – they decide to travel to the town of the real life missing girl where more strange characters await.

My son recently described his reading experience of “Obedience” as “a story that traps me to the point I can no longer stop reading. My choice is gone. It’s like rolling down a hill at such a high speed that you can’t stop. You’re enjoying the thrill, but praying the ending will be a good one and this book is awesome”.  I don’t think I could have said it better myself.

 

The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

I’d been on a cozy mystery reading binge for about a month and I decided to branch out and see what else my TBR pile had to offer. “The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes”  hmmm.. I’d received this book from a swap and at the time decided to keep it on the “I’ll get to it someday” shelf.  Well, what the heck.  Today was as good day as any.  I got my drink, my snack and the book and ventured outside to soak up the sun and read for a while.  A few hours later I was as red as a lobster (oops, I forgot the sunscreen !) and my mind was blown.  This book was phenomenal!  It pulled at my heart and didn’t let up until I read the last word. The mistakes that we make when we are young haunt us into our adulthood. We pray that our children don’t make the same ones and don’t find out about ours.

16 year old Cee Cee is seduced by a handsome older man, Tim Gleason, and is manipulated into helping him and his brother with the crime. Left to guard the prisoner at a remote cabin in the woods, events transpire that force Cee Cee on the run with a newborn infant in tow. Unable to bring herself to leave the little girl with her father, Cee Cee makes a decision to raise the child as her own. Years pass. Cee Cee, now known as Eve, has created a pleasant, comfortable life for herself and thinks she has moved far beyond those days in the forest — so far that she has almost forgotten that they ever happened.

The fantastic story of a young girl who gives up her entire life to finally telling the truth to save the man who manipulated her so many years ago, it really makes you think about what choices you would really make in difficult situations.  I found myself tearing up at how her decisions affected her family and wondering if I would have the guts to make the decisions she made.  This book put a knot in my stomach but I convinced I’m a better person for it.

 

Trapped by Chris Jordan

Rarely do I read a book that leaves me with that cold shivery feeling but “Trapped”  is one of those books.  Long Island single mom Jane Hartley is frantic when her sixteen-year-old daughter, Kelly, a survivor of childhood leukemia, disappears from her bedroom one night. To Jane’s frustration, the police believe that Kelly ran off willingly with her boyfriend, Seth. Unaware that her daughter even had a boyfriend, Jane soon discovers that Seth is no boy. He is an adult—a man who, after meeting Kelly on the Internet, took the teenager on one thrill-seeking ride after another. From motorcycles to skydiving, Jane’s little girl has been hiding some dangerous secrets.

Like mother, like daughter.

Adamant that Kelly is not a runaway but, rather, is being held against her will, Jane hires ex-FBI agent Randall Shane to follow the trail of her missing child. But every step brings them closer to a cold-blooded predator lurking in the shadows… coiled around Jane’s shameful secret…waiting to strike.

An extremely fast paced, highly emotional thriller brilliantly done with enough red herrings mixed in that I was constantly second guessing myself; the connections between various players can be shocking, secrets are revealed and mysteries solved. The killer is made even more frightening in the fact he is completely insane and has some very strange ideas about kinds of magical abilities he believes he has. And we all know sometimes the most powerful weapon is in, fact, the mind.  After reading this book alone on a Saturday night, I had the overwhelming urge to go and spend some quality time with my teenage son, just to make sure he was safe.  (He of course probably thought I was nuts but what the heck, you only live once, why not embarrass the heck out of your child when you scare yourself half to death…lol)

 

 

8 Years, 8 Members, 8 Books

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

For PaperBackSwap’s 8 year anniversary, we asked 8 members

to tell us about 8 books that have mattered to them.

Today we feature Greg (Vostromo)

 

 

In recalling eight books that have made particular impressions on me I’ve realized I’ll be repeating myself to a large extent (which won’t surprise anyone) because I’ve spoken about them in this or that Forum post through the decades — which fact only serves to confirm how much these several works have meant to me. Limiting something so important to only eight is supremely difficult — I have over twelve gigabytes of Amber Heard pics alone! — but there’s something to be said for narrowing focus so severely: I don’t know what it is, but maybe somebody will tell me.

(1) The biggest impression of all has to be granted to the unremembered and likely unidentifiable children’s novel about stock car racing which is the first book I recall selecting from a library for myself for no reason other than pleasure. Whatever caught my eye about its spine — colors, fonts, words, who knows — it started me “reading”. If I ever was able to find it again I’m sure it would prove embarrassingly old-fashioned, obvious and square, if it weren’t for the fact that I don’t care, since it was a door I stepped though into a world wider than I will ever be able to fully navigate.

 

(2) Tie: and not books but stories: Jacques Futrelle’s “The Problem of Cell 13” and Frank Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger?” These stories revolutionized my concept of “entertainment” from a one-way street to a tangled monster highway roundabout. They revealed, though I was too young to consciously grok the fact or its full ramifications, that just as you can’t step into the same river twice, you can’t read the same story, because you are part of it: what do you mean there’s something after the story ends? how can something continue after it’s over?  how can you make me the author of a story I’ve already read? how can you stop with a question mark?

 

 

(3) Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” showed me that the world within a story was sui generis and all that mattered was that it made its own kind of sense — and that the resonant poetry of the imagination was every bit as real and meaningful as the hardest fact.

 

 

4) Thomas McGuane’s “Ninety-Two in the Shade” made clear the difference between story and plot. The plot is the rivalry between charter-fishing concerns -– be still my beating heart! But the story is how love, honor, greed, choice and consequence can or can not make a world out of individual souls.

 

 

(5) Moby freakin’ Dick! Melville’s mad masterpiece taught me that the classics are classics for a reason, and that your teachers sometimes know what they’re talking about. That a single work could be read with absolutely no attention paid to its subtextual meaning, or with attention paid only to its subtextual meaning, and be fully satisfying either way, showed me just how much could be accomplished by true artistry with the written word.

 

 

(6) Studs Terkel’s “Working” because it made me feel OK to be just a tiny part of a huge planet, limitless in imagination and feeling, limited in realities and possibilities, one not of many but of all.

 

 

(7) John Updike’s “Rabbit, Run” — just that one, not the sequels — because I was intensely struck by how well it captured the timeless, eternal struggle between love and happiness, and ever-flexible, ever-changing boundaries between the two. Special mention for the more specific but still passionately felt echoes of “The Maples Stories” (a/k/a “Here Come the Maples”).

 

 

(8) Finally, a story about storytelling, about which the less known beforehand the better: William Kotzwinkle’s brilliant, chimeric “Fata Morgana“. As I said in my Amazon review: if you cannot enjoy this book, you’ve let yourself get old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Lover’s Week – How reading books might just get you a pony!

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

by Mary S. (kilchurn)

 

I honestly can’t remember the first book I encountered.  Ask my mother though, and she’ll tell you that she read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to me every night for over a year.  That’s probably why now, over 35 years later, I can recite that poem by heart.  According to mom, I made her give Peter Rabbit the same treatment (although I only remember parts of that story, not word for word).  I know that I read or had read to me, many, many books during my toddler years.  I loved the time spent with my grandmother as she read Little Black Sambo to me (over and over).

It wasn’t until I turned 8 that books took on a new life for me.  My next door neighbor got a horse and like all 8 year old little girls, I was enthralled.  I begged my mother endlessly for a horse of my own.  After what I am sure was an exhausting session of my outlining why I deserved a horse, my mother wisely (or so she thought) told me I could have a horse after I turned 10 and after I had learned everything there was to know about them.

 

Thus began the “reading for a reward” phase of my life.  I ended up going to the one place in my small town where I could find information.  The library.  I cannot tell you how much time I spent in the Mary Willis Library Non-Fiction section (636.1 to be exact – the HORSE section).  I know for a fact that I checked out some of those books so many times that the back and front of many of the book’s checkout cards had my name all over both sides.  I should probably also mention that our World Book Encyclopedia H volume opens to the Horse article when you pick it up.

In reading all of those horse books, I stumbled upon young adult “horse” fiction and the works of Walter Farley.  I read The Black Stallion first and Alec Ramsey became my hero – I wanted so badly to be him.  Not only did he get to travel, but he also got to keep the horse.

 

 

 

photo by Mary - Her name would have been Misty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marguerite Henry introduced me to Misty of Chincoteague.  The story of Paul and Maureen Beebee, who desperately wanted to own Phantom one of Assateague’s illusive mares resonated with me – I wanted a horse almost more than my next breath.  So much so that when my mother and sister and I visited Chincoteague during Pony Penning, I used all of my allowance to enter a drawing to win one of the foals, I was going to name her Misty.

 

These stories of children and their bonds with horses gave me hope that one day I would have a horse of my own.  I still have my original copy of Farley’s Man O’ War, one of the few “keeper” books from my childhood.  Stormy, Misty’s Foal, Sea Star: The Orphan of Chincoteague, King of the Wind, and San Domingo: The Medicine Hat Stallion also made their way into my Marguerite Henry collection.

        

 

Later, I got my first job at the library that had become my horse haven.  One of my tasks was re-shelving books that had been returned.  During the daily routine of re-shelving books, I noticed “horse” books in the grown-up section of the library.  (Keep in mind that to me at that time a “horse” book had a horse picture on it.  Bluegrass by Borden Deal and Valley of the Horses by Jean Auel taunted me from the upper shelves.  Much to my chagrin, my mother felt that the content was too grown up for me and I was told I couldn’t read those until I was older.  Like most kids, I disobeyed and ended up sneaking reads of Bluegrass during downtime at the library.  I learned a lot about adult relationships from that book as well as a lot about the horse racing business.

 

 

During the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I told my mother that I wanted to read Valley of the Horses.  I remember well the day I went to the big city library to check it out.  That night I sat curled up in my rocking chair and reading until the sun came up.  I saw myself in Ayla.  Both of us had been separated from the only life we’d ever known.  Her story inspired me to accept our move from the small town where I grew up to the big city of Atlanta.  Her story has become a touchstone for me and even today reminds me that no matter how difficult things become, that I can persevere.

 

In college, I found romance novels.  I read Johanna Lindsey almost exclusively until my junior year.  The romantic tales brought comfort to me when I was hundreds of miles from home.  They were a great escape from the realities of Composition 101 and British Literature 102.

   

After moving back to Atlanta, I became infatuated with my family history; my Scottish heritage lead me to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  Like so many other readers, I fell in love with Jamie and Claire.

 

Later, I was sucked in by Robert Jordan’s world building in his Wheel of Time series.  I had never thought to try fantasy before, but on a friend’s recommendation I bought the first book in the series, The Eye of the World, in 1998. It sat on my shelf for over two years until we entered the “time without television”.  I picked it up and didn’t come up for air until I was completely caught up with the series.

 

 

Nowadays, I read fiction for pure pleasure and escapism.  JD Robb’s futuristic homicide detective, Eve Dallas is one of my favorite characters.  I love how a little part of her changes in every book and sometimes I wish that we all could make that one step forward to become better people.

 

 

JR Ward’s stunning vampires in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series are my ultimate fantasy.  I never thought I’d want to live in a world inhabited by the undead, but if Caldwell, New York were real, I’d happily be a resident.

 

 

I guess what I am saying is that I can’t remember every being without books.  From an early age they were and have remained an integral part of my life.  While I started with every child’s dream of Christmas every day, my reading tastes have evolved over the years; but that is the wonderful thing about books – there are millions of them – with millions of different things to read about.

 

 

P.S.  I did get a horse when I was 12.  We had 5 wonderful years together before I left for college.

 

Ziggy and Mary