Okay, I admit that I’m a reader. I remember reading cowboys-and-Indians books when I was in fourth grade and stashing the books in my chest of drawers as though they were treasures…and they were! I was hooked and have been devouring books ever since. In the last thirty years my favorites have been science fiction and fantasy but, alas, I usually only have time for nonfiction, you know, stuff I have to read.
I read somewhere that good readers are healthier and live longer. Boy, I do hope so! Well, maybe that nonfiction stuff is doing me some good. I do know that I find, sometimes in retrospect, that certain authors or certain books seem to get under my skin. They find a home and I am changed by them. I see scenes and blurt out borrowed lines. (Sometimes I even give them credit, but I do like to “fake” that I’m more clever than I really am.) Anyway, I look at the world differently because of what I’ve read.
Certainly, I am a teacher because I love to read. After thirty years I still get a kick out of how uninhibited Chaucer was — I actually used his Canterbury Tales as the sole text for my on-campus English 101 class last semester. Personally, I love Shakespeare and find it kind of hard to understand how anyone cannot (once they get over the language difficulties). Joseph Conrad made me look at the sea in beautiful and terrible ways, as a savage poetry between waves, boats, and sky. J.K. Rowling reawakened within me the magic of, well, magic and childhood and heroes. Frank Herbert opened up Dune and showed me a civilization and creatures unlike anything seen on earth. The list goes on, believe me!
So my questions for you are these:
- What authors have found their way “into” you and why?
- What books have spoken to you in special ways?
- How have you been changed by what you have read?
- What beauty have you found in someone’s writing?