My love of reading began at the age of four on my mother’s knee. It is my mother who taught me to read and write, and I can still recall the look of mutual astonishment on our faces when it was evident that I was not only understanding and repeating but ultimately reading the words of the primary colours illustrated in bright circles in a pre-school reader. We were never so pleased with ourselves and one another than at that moment.
Fast forward to Grade 1, and I still remember a story we read in class about a lonely little fir tree in the forest that always got passed over at Xmas time but was finally chosen one year by a child who understood that small is beautiful too! I have searched for a copy of the book, the title of which still eludes me, but if anyone knows the answer, I’m all ears!
At the age of 8, my father returned from a trip visiting relatives in Cape Cod with his usual armfuls of presents, including salt water taffy and a book for me, a hardcover copy of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. I was initially dismayed to receive a book with nothing but girls in long skirts and petticoats on the cover, but my mother urged me to give it a whirl, and it paid off. It’s a book I still cherish.
Our school librarian turned me on to reading via the Hardy Boys series. One morning, I plotted a “Ferris Buehler” day off by feigning illness, only so that I could finish the novel I fell asleep reading from the night before. Around the same time, we began reading short stories in French in high school, and at first it was tough slogging, since I found myself circling slews of words I’d need to look up in the dictionary, but the effort paid off in the long run.
My first real challenge in writing about what I’d read were high school book reviews. Ever the procrastinator, I stayed up late one Sunday night after a day of downhill skiing writing out (by hand – it was the early '70s) a review of A Tale of Two Cities. Another time, I was rushing to complete an overdue review of Shane but the family dog, so frustrated by my devotion to the task and ignoring his pleas for attention, grabbed the paper I’d been working on and chewed it to bits. Yes, it’s true, the dog actually ATE MY HOMEWORK and I had to go back to the drawing board! #FacesOfFrontier