I want to start this off by saying almost everything I know that’s important to me I learned by reading. Yes, I went to school. I went to college. I got a degree. I took courses post B.A., but never finished another degree. It just wasn’t important to my career. I had a child, husband, friends, family, and worked full time. A degree I didn’t need wasn’t in my cards.
But I read books. I was that bookworm kid, but no one laughed at me. Actually, most of them wanted to know what I was reading and I think, looking back, I probably prodded many people to start reading who would never have done it without a push. I didn’t do it on purpose. I was a monumentally enthusiastic reader and I always wanted to tell people the stories I was reading. Many of them decided maybe they should give it a whirl too.
My mother was a nonstop reader. Really, everyone in the family read, but my mother and I read more than most people. Even my mother sometimes pulled the books from hands and told me to “Go out and get some fresh air!” We played school and talked about books. No kidding. We turned it into a game.
We had books everywhere. We eventually built an extra room full of bookcases and my best job ever was working as a writer/editor at Doubleday Books in Garden City. As a bonus, every time you wrote about a book — and books were the only thing we wrote about — they gave us a brand new copy of the book, carefully wrapped in tissue paper. If you worked there for a few years, books became furniture. Stacks of them with glass on top? A coffee table. Worse? Garry grew up the same way, so he has books. When we moved here, we gave away every book for which we could find a home until everyone said “STOP! WE HAVE NO MORE ROOM!”
We still have far too many books and no one wants them. I can’t throw them away. You can’t throw books in the trash. It’s just not done. Or not done by us.
Questions – but not all of them. Some questions overlapped.
Who were the readers in your family?
Me and my mom.
Did your family subscribe to the newspaper? If you did get the paper, was your Sunday newspaper special? What part did you enjoy?
We got two newspapers. The NY Times and the NY Post back when it was really newspaper. The Sunday paper had comics in color and sections about (sigh) books.
Did your home have books strewn around? Hardbacks or paperbacks?
Mostly hardbacks, but eventually everything. Books were everywhere.
Did you frequent the library at school?
We didn’t have a school library. Overcrowding. We did have a local library, but by the time I was in junior high, I’d read most of it. My mother started buying books from private lending libraries in bulk.
What was the first book you remember reading?
No idea. That was 70 years ago.
Did you have a collection of books (Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Happy Hollisters, etc?)
The Black Stallion. All those Walter Farley books.
Did you read comic books? If so, what titles?
I was definitely a DC fan. I thought Marvel characters were weird.
Did you end up a bookworm, a casual reader, or someone who read only when required?
I have never stopped reading although now, as often as not listen rather than reading. My eyes scream “thank you”!
What book or books have been extremely meaningful or influential in your life?
Angelique by Anne Golon.
What book(s) do you frequently gift to others? Why?
I used to give people books, but anyone who reads has too many books. We are all overbooked. People look pained when you give them books. I can read their minds, think “Where am I going to PUT this?” I share their pain.