When I was eleven or twelve and fresh out of reading material, I’d stand in front of my mom’s bookshelves and search for something to read. My mom liked all sorts of books, as long as they weren’t risqué or otherwise offensive, so everything was fair game.
As I remember, her books were grouped into fiction and nonfiction. One shelf held The Book of Knowledge kids encyclopedia in twenty volumes, bound in burgundy. When we first got them, I devoured the good stuff. On subsequent passes, I read articles to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.
One thing is sure: I borrowed titles from my mom’s bookshelves I’d never have read otherwise – just because they were available and I’d finished all my library books for the week.
Others I read and re-read, such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith), Lost Horizon (James Hilton), and The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis), plus I searched the library for more works by the same authors.
My mom loved mysteries, too, and must have had some by Agatha Christie.
When I couldn’t find anything else on my mom’s bookshelves, I read the Danny Orlis (Bernard Palmer), mystery series for teens put out by Moody Press and novels by Grace Livingston Hill. My mom also owned lots of devotionals, such as My Utmost for His Highest, but I was too young to appreciate them.
One day, desperate again for a good story, I glanced over the shelves. Same old stuff. Such a let down. But then I picked up book I hadn’t seen before, Christy (Catherine Marshall) and soon lost myself in it. A historical novel set in 1912, it soared above all the Christian fiction I’d read until that time and became the standard for all the Christian novels I was to read in the future. No wonder it inspired the Christy Awards.
As you can see from its rank on Amazon, Christy continues to be popular today.
For many years, my mom and I gave each other books for gift occasions. Our tastes overlapped enough that we often talked about book we’d discovered – or rediscovered – and didn’t want the other to miss. In her later years, she enjoyed reading the Mitford series (Jan Karon).
I’m so thankful my mom let us kids borrow her books. Where did you get your love of reading?
Posted on May 3, 2016