If the measure of a person can be assessed by the company he/she keeps, I imagine it must be equally true of the books he/she reads. For most devoted readers, books are friends - true blue, life-long friends. In today's blog, I'd like to share some of my literary memories and milestones.
As far back as I can remember, I have always been surrounded by books. The leap from reading picture books to chapter books happened the summer between first and second grade with HEIDI, by Johanna Spyri. Oh, the wonder and power of being able to read that magnificent story all by myself! I was hooked!
In grade school, I lived in the world of fantasy and ploughed through stacks of children's books, bouncing between the classics, contemporary fiction, and crap. At that time, non-fiction books were synonymous with school projects, thus were considered elements of torture. I didn't venture into the other half of the library until the middle grades when I had a burning question about Napoleon Bonaparte's absent hand. (Call to mind his portraits and how he always had one hand resting inside the front of his jacket. Why? Missing fingers? Indigestion? No one claimed it was a good question....) I devoured biography after biography about him - including some that were rather risqué and clearly meant for more mature readers. (Did you know that Napoleon demanded Josephine not bathe for two weeks before their rendezvous because he liked her natural fragrance? Or that she dampened her chemises and let them dry on her body so they would cling more provocatively?) Finding these fascinating details gave me a life-long love of research.
DAVID COPPERFIELD, by Charles Dickens, slapped me upside the head with its very first line: "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anyone else (these pages must show.)" Good question. Who will be the hero of my life?
I pilfered my first adult novel from my mother's bedside pile in my early teens. THE FLOWER AND THE FLAME, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. She's not known as The Woodiwiss for nothing! My, oh my, what an education that book was! It's seared into my brain and heart forevermore. Important to note: the hero called the heroine Tory. It just doesn't get any better than that.
Over the years, my love of books has never dwindled. Through good times and bad, they have been my staunchest friends. They entertain and educate me. To this day, I still read whatever classic, contemporary fiction, or crap catches my fancy. I love it all. Even <gasp> non-fiction.
Tory LeBlanc reads, writes, and researches in Nova Scotia. As far as she knows, Napoleon stood that way for effect.