There is nothing like a good book as far as I'm concerned. Books can take us to worlds only imagined, can introduce us to characters that we would love to have as friends in real life, and can remove us from our own possibly humdrum lives for a little while as we immerse ourselves into the story we're reading. Science fiction, romance, thriller, mystery, biography - it doesn't matter what the book is if it's a good story and well written.
Growing up on military bases as an Air Force brat, one of the constants in my life was the library. I had a library card at every base we lived on and made full use of it. I can still remember going to the library at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona as a second-grader and reading books like The Wizard of Oz, Charlotte's Web, My Friend Flicka, and any other horse story that I could get my hands on. Like most little girls I dreamed of having my own horse but there are definite regulations against having them in base housing so I would go to the library and "borrow" one for awhile!
I had a collection of Nancy Drew mysteries that would grow by several volumes each year at Christmas and it was easy to put myself right there with Nancy and her good friend Helen Corning as they cruised the countryside in her snappy little roadster looking for clues. Several of my favorites were The Secret of the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase, and The Bungalow Mystery though I loved them all and couldn't wait to expand my collection - which I wish I had still had but, alas, it probably got left somewhere between New Mexico and Florida as when you moved all the time in the military more than just friends got left behind sometimes.
When I missed close to three months of work last year with a pinched, twisted nerve being compressed by not one but two ~ ouch! ~ herniated disks my cousin sent over a pile of books to keep me occupied while I was confined to the couch. Reading Angels and Demons, The DaVinci Code, and probably a dozen or more books kept my mind off the pain that was constantly with me. What Vicodin couldn't touch, Dan Brown and other authors took care of with their mesmerizing stories!
Being an avid reader, I tried to instill that trait into my own children and succeeded moderately with Michael, not at all with Jamie, and quite successfully with Amanda who seems to have been bitten by the same reading bug that I was. While she was in Kentucky and attending South Oldham County Middle School she had hundreds of points in the Accelerated Reading program as she read constantly. Of course she's an avid Harry Potter fan and is anxiously awaiting the release of the last book in the series along with most of the rest of the world but she's read so much more than J.K. Rowling's books.
Lately I have been trying to get her interested in the writings of Stephen King, one of my favorite authors. The Stephen King I'd like her to read is his earlier stuff - books like The Shining, Salem's Lot, The Dead Zone, Cujo, Pet Sematary - the stories that could really make you stay awake at night with all of the lights in the house blazing! And from there she should move on to books like Misery, Desperation, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and one of his scariest ever - It - the book that made me vow once and for all that I would never ever step foot in Maine again! Perhaps I've not mentioned how much I dislike clowns??
I figure that Stephen King is perfect reading material for my oldest daughter who likes to think of herself as "different". She wants to wear black clothes and too much eyeliner and dye her hair in odd colors; she wants me to let her have a snake for a pet (not on your life, kiddo!); and when she grows up she wants to live in Japan and draw anime. Who better for her to read than the Master of the Macabre? Oh, and Edgar Allan Poe, too - the man who perfected the psychological thriller long before Stephen King scared the beejeebers out of anyone!
I think it's time we take a trip to the local library and make some use of that library card I made sure she had! Reading suggestions anyone??
Author's Note: Despite the fact that my cousin is the Head Librarian in Andover and also on the library staff at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, she in no way influenced my writing of this post! Did you, Amy?