I would have lost what is left of my sanity long ago were it not for books. I remember when I got in trouble as a child I would secretly giggle when I was sent to my room as punishment because that meant spending time helping the Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, and other fictional characters solve mysteries.
It was while reading one novel that I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up: a best-selling novelist. But, after thinking and reading, I realized there were probably lots of other people hoping to sell millions of books and maybe that was not the best career plan.
So, I developed Plan B: I’d be a full-time book reviewer. I would be paid to sit around all day and do what comes naturally — read good books.
No such luck. But I still read, or listen to a book on CD, at least four books a month. I can often be found at Borders or Port City Java reading books and newspapers.
My favorite book of all time is The Phantom Tollbooth, a wonderful, brilliant, silly book. It showed me how much fun reading — and writing — can be. It demonstrates that a book can be silly, weird, fantastic, engaging, and brilliant all at the same time. I read it first as a child. I wrote a review of the book for a newspaper I worked for in Sun City, California.
A man who was a grandfather came in a few days after the review was published and told me he had been moved by my review to buy the book for his grandson and read it to him. Of course, they both loved it.
Sharing the joy of a great book is surely one of life’s thrills. And sharing that joy with a stranger, knowing the book will probably be passed on and treasured by future generations is an even more gratifying experience.