The first book I remember
plucking from my parents' shelves as a young girl is John Saul's "Suffer the Children." It was filled with creepiness,
mild sexiness and psychological horror — perhaps not the best choice for
someone so young (I think I may have been in late elementary school or early
junior high). But in my eyes, it was a natural transition from all those Nancy
Drew and Hardy Boys books I had already gobbled up.
From there, I went on to read
every other John Saul book my dad owned. Then all of Mary Higgins Clark Clark
and V.C. Andrews and Dean Koontz. I read "The
Martian Chronicles" and "Lord of the
Flies" multiple times, reveling in the sinister stories. By the time high
school hit, it was all Stephen King, all the time (much to my English teachers'
My parents sometimes worried
aloud that my tastes trended a bit too much toward the morbid. But they let it
go, because I was reading, and reading voraciously.
In fact sometimes, when I was
supposed to be doing homework in my bedroom, I would actually read for fun. And then I'd hear someone
coming up the stairs and I'd have to frantically fling my book underneath the
bed and pretend to be absorbed in whatever textbook I was supposed to be
God I hope my daughter loves
reading half as much.
(E-books and print books) are both only vehicles for the words that are inside.
Because, though there are many
opportunities online to find
amazing, new books to read, my baby obviously isn't there yet. First, she
will be subject to my whims, captive in my arms as I read her board book
versions of "Are You My Mother?" and "Sherlock Holmes." Then, she will be old
enough to crawl or toddle over to her bookshelf, pulling books at random and
either gumming them to death or demanding I read them to her. And finally, she
will be old enough to start exploring my shelves, her attention drawn to titles
on spines and colors on covers.
This is how she will develop her
reading preferences — with what is already in plain sight, with what is begging
to be plucked from the shelves and devoured. This is how she will develop her
love of reading.