Our PROMPTuesday today - What was the best book you’ve ever read and why?
I 've always been a reader. My Mom says she once found me, at age two or three, sitting in my little chair with a book on my lap, gabble-gabbling the words. She was shocked - was I reading?
As it turned out, no, I had memorized the poem and was merely reciting it - but that was the beginning of my long relationship with books.
As a grade-schooler I loved being taken to the library. In my town, the library was a big two-story house made of yellow limestone, at the top of a hill rising up from the east banks of the Fox River. A modern, low-roofed wing tacked on the back of the house held the Children's Section. I would choose my books and stack them in my arms, and only go to the check out desk when the stack was too tall to carry any longer.
I loved mysteries. I loved the fantasies of Edward Eager. I loved Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Rumer Godden. If a book wasn't very good - no matter. I read it anyway, and then went on to the next. My mother says that I never did housework or chores willingly - If I wasn't outside in the woods and the grassy Illinois fields that surrounded our house, I was always in my room with my nose in a book.
The library was it for me. In those days we seldom bought books - or at least real, hardbound books. I was, however, allowed to buy mass-market childrens' series books. I saved my allowance and Christmas money to buy Nancy Drew books, and could read one from front to back in a single day.
I do remember one time a real book was bought for me. When I was about 9 I was hospitalized briefly for a minor procedure. My mother brought me a book to read while I recovered in the open children's ward I shared with three other children, purchased from the bookstore across the street from the small hospital. "Oh," I said when she presented me with it. "I've already read that." She went right back to the bookstore to choose something else.
Years later in the seventh grade I made friends with a girl who, coincidentally, had been in that children's ward that day. She remembered the spoiled little girl who had sent her mother back to the bookstore for another book.
A few years ago, I talked with a tall, slender, glamorous singer backstage, in her book-and-magazine-cluttered dressing room. We were good friends, even though the only thing we really had in common was a voracious appetite for reading. "Honey," she said, " You know you're a reader when you put off going to the toilet until you find something you can read!"
So when you ask me what's the best book I've ever read? My answer is - the one I'm reading RIGHT NOW.