In addition to unearthing my Grade 8 Home Ec notebook when I organized my home office last week, I found my Library Record Book from elementary school (Grade 4/5). The cardboard-covered 9″ x 6″ notebook contains charts with spaces to list the type of book, its title, author, number of pages, and how we would rate it.
I’m amazed at the quantity of books I consumed – more than 10 a month, up to a total of 2,100 pages. A friend of mine once said that that’s how I ended up becoming a writer, because of all the reading I did as a kid.
I don’t remember all the books, but I do remember some. Anne of Green Gables and other books by L.M. Montgomery were a staple of my reading diet – Pat of Silver Bush, Mistress Pat, Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily’s Quest are all duly recorded… and rated A+ (or ++++) to infinity!
The Secret Garden, a classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett that was made into a movie in 1993, also stands out in my mind, as does The Ship That Flew, a 1939 fantasy by Hilda Lewis.
I read a lot of biographies, too. Many of them were about nurses like Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale, but there were also books about Helen Keller, Marie Curie, Marie Antoinette, Captain James Cook, Lawrence of Arabia, and Charles Dickens.
The books – many of them decades old by the time I read them – fed my imagination and my love of reading. I rarely read 10 a month now, but I still love to get wrapped up in a good book.