Books. There cannot possibly be too many books!

I love to read. I always have. My mother started me young, sitting around a camp fire reading “This Ever Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti. Now this isn’t kid fiction, it’s actually Christian propaganda. It seems an odd choice in retrospect for children ages eight to twelve, but my mother chose it for the explicit christian meaning. It is also enrapturing (pun intended). The three novels cover an epic saga of the heavenly battle for Earth set in the ‘battleground’ itself (Earth) and the reader is aware of the angelic and demonic influences as well as the actions of the regular human characters. While in retrospect I find it unable to hold my interest due to my total lack of tolerance for Christian fiction, at the time it was a grand adventure, one revealed a chapter at a time on the knee of my beloved mother. We had a large, emerald green lazy boy style chair and I used to sit on her lap and try to keep up with her. After that we moved on to the Chronicles of Narnia, then to a series written by a Spokane author: the Belgariad, which would fast become my favorite. I read all twelve of the books some dozen times over the years. My brother and I lived for that one chapter every night. Sometimes, for special occasions (or if we begged hard enough) we got two. I will forever blame her for igniting a fire in me for reading, and thank her until the end of time.

After a while the tradition of the bedtime chapter fell off. I began reading voraciously on my own, first fantasy, then Science Fiction. I went through the usual tween reading: Brian Jaques’ tales of Redwall Abbey, forest creatures participating in grand adventures with a clear line between evil and good and conflicts in which good always wins. I dove into Anne McCaffrey’s fantasy novels which I later discovered were technically SciFi, but the dragons and their riders, the evil black threat from the red moon, the heroic characters overcoming the odds to save themselves and their world from disaster were all hallmarks of the grand epic.

As I got older, I started on more complex books and began to think and write about them. Orson Scott Card’s series of books examines how humanity might behave should we encounter a species we don’t understand. The author, perceptive to human nature, explores a unique and barbaric solution to a problem that need never have been. A battle with a species we don’t understand starts a lifetime of propaganda, preparation for war, and battles of will between adults and children as they race to defeat an enemy they don’t understand. It is both a personal and a galactic epic and the author guides the reader through until the great reveal at the end, a twist that had me gasping out loud in surprise. I read Nancy Drew and Lewis Carrol. In college I started on Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Jane Austen, Victor Hugo, Dostoyevsky. I discovered Mary Roach, Steve Martin, Sallie Tisdale, Robert Heinlein, Joe Haldeman, and many more. I won’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of these authors, but if you pick up only one, choose Mrs. Roach. She is one of the best nonfiction writers I have come across, writing in a hilarious, intelligent, conversational tone about things that are actually fucking awesome. Seriously. Start with ‘Bonk’ and you will never go back.

I read in bed. I read on the bus. I read while I eat. I read for fun and for interest. I read for school and for work and to pass the time. I love it. I cannot imagine anything greater than a good book, a cup of hot cocoa laced with home made khalua, a crackling fire, and a warm kitty lying next to me.