Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reader's Poll: Name That Book

Last week on the Books & Such blog we were asked what authors we most wanted to emulate and why, or for what quality. Wendy pushed us to identify our literary heroes, and it made me think...

I’d love to be as winsome with words and story crafting as Laura Frantz. I’d be satisfied publishing just one book if its heroine were as captivating as L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, or as amazing as Catherine Marshall’s Christy. I would feel successful about shining a light in the darkness if I could entice the lost to hope like Francine Rivers did through Redeeming Love.

But it's the last one I named that has lingered in my mind this week:

I’d be thrilled if I could bring the smoldering fires of difficulty reading to a blaze that surpasses the challenge like Janette Oke did for me, and J.K. Rowling has done for my children.

I never read well as a child, and I know there are many others out there like me.

I pronounced every word, touching it with my finger, and even then sometimes my brain didn't process it right. In first grade I plummeted from the top reading group to the bottom while everyone whizzed past me. I knew the right answers in reading group but couldn't get it across my lips faster than anyone else--and got precious little candy rewards while the others in my group were getting cavities.

By the end of first grade I had to take summer school to help me with my reading. It did help and I slowly progressed--ever aware that I was different than other kids. I hated Sunday afternoons. My mom would be deep in a Leon Uris book the size of the last Harry Potter book. My dad would be buzzing through Louis L'Amour books. My brother was buried in Star Trek, Encyclopedia Brown, or Tolkien.

Me? I read nothing for fun. Big. Fat. Zero. Reading was simply not fun for me. We visited the library often, yet nothing much held my interest, and I was soon embarrassed to take home the little kids books with pictures that I had enjoyed more easily.

By the time I was in freshman English, I had a near panic attack when the teacher announced that after Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, we would have nine weeks of speed reading! It did push me to improve, but I still felt intensely aware of the loud noise of my peer group whizzing past me. I was able to read some required books for book reports, but I'd resigned myself to believe that I was never going to be a reader. I would never devour words.

However, mid way through that freshman year, my grandmother gave me Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly. I can still see the pink spine, the image on the cover. It was a six hour drive home from grandma's northern Michigan home--and I was hooked before we were south of Petosky. I soon combed the church library and begged to go to the book store at the mall. Finally, I was devouring George MacDonald books and I realized it had happened.

I was finally a reader. 

by permission: freedigitalphotos.net

It was as if I'd graduated, been allowed entrance to an exclusive club. And the first time my college English teacher pulled me aside and pronounced that I had a way with words, I nearly dissolved into a puddle of tears on the spot--there was hope for me and words after all! 

So here's the question: What book pushed you into becoming a reader, never to return again? 

My husband and children had similar stories of difficulty learning to read. For my daughter it was Samantha in the American Girl series, when she came downstairs long after bedtime, book in hand, eyes twinkling, saying "Mama, I couldn't help it, it just sucked me in." For my son it was Harry Potter. 

Tell us about your love for reading. Tell us if your children ever suffered with reading difficulties.


Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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  1. Thank you for sharing this! I was never a reader in grade school either. I do remember one book stood out, the title was something like Goodbye Pink Pig or close to that. I have no clue who the author is or even remember the story anymore. Just the love of books after reading it. (for all I know, I could read it today and be totally embarrassed I liked it!! lol) Even then, I never clicked with reading big, series type ones until about 11th grade. Now I am a voracious reader!! One of the reasons I homeschool is so my kids won't have "peer pressure" about learning skills like you felt. My oldest devours books, my boy, not so much. He's definitely struggling, but that's ok - it will click when it is meant to. :) Great post!

  2. Thanks Susan. I knew I wasn't the only one! Blessings on your kids' reading journeys!

  3. What a touching story, Anne! I identify with your feelings in school, I never had problems reading, but was painfully shy, slightly over-weight, & made fun of.

    I have always loved to read, don't remember the first books I read - but do remember reading Janette Oke, as my grandmother belonged to a book club, & had a tiny book case full of books (which I now have) - of which, many were Janette Oke. My children (boys) never had any problems reading, but aren't voracious book lovers - like me.

    Bless your grandmother for giving you that book. She is, undoubtedly, responsible for your desire to be a writer. And - we will thank her, also, when we have your published book to read.


    1. Oh Bonnie, we all do have our own little stumbling blocks don't we. But together, this sisterhood will rise above. :)

  4. I've always loved reading from Ralph S. Mouse, to Ramona, to Nancy Drew but I think what made the most impact on loving to read was yes, (I say this often) the Sweet Valley High books. All 5 billion of them. It definitely gave me the love for reading romance (and it was clean back then too!)

    1. I loved the Hardy Boys, but mainly watched the T.V. show--it was easier than reading. I've never heard of the Sweet Valley High books. Will have to check them out. :)

  5. Nope, no reading difficulties. I've always loved reading. There wasn't much else to do in my area. I wasn't involved in any sports or extra-curricular activities during my elementary school years. Reading fiction books has always swept me away into another world. I can't recall if it was a particular book that held my interest and caused me to be a reader. The first book I remember reading were the Adventures of Dick and Jane - but, I did not find that book exciting. I can name tons of books that I loved as a child, but, can't point to one that paved the way to my love of reading.
    ~Cecelia Dowdy~

    1. I happy for others who've never had to struggle, please remember to count it among your many blessings! I too remember reading Dick and Jane! Nope, not to enthralling, LOL.

    2. Dick and Jane had way too much "telling" and not enough "showing".
      "See Dick run. Run Jane run!."


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