04 October, 2015

The First Book

This is both easy and difficult to answer, as there is more than one answer involved.

I'll start from the very beginning and say The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber, published back in 1962. It is 48 pages of cute!

This delightful story arrived via my mother's book club and is one of the very first books I could read by myself.

I read, re-read, and then read to my children this sweet tale about a family who move into a really cool brownstone in New York and find a talented crocodile in their bathtub.

The drawings were as captivating as the story.

In the second grade, making that first-ever trip to the library was a milestone and memorable moment I will never forget. We had twenty minutes to browse, find, and check out a book, and I'll never forget walking up to the check-out counter with too many books in both hands.

After I set them down on the counter, my heart racing and my face smarting from the permanent smile, I was then saddened by the look of dismay on the nun's face.

"Are you sure you want to check out all of these books?"

I remember nodding while feeling my heart pound in my tiny chest, and the sting of unshed tears at the thought of being made to return every book but one.

She smiled, though, and to my great relief, proceeded to check out all of them for me. I had a hard time carrying them back to the classroom and even more difficulty taking them home, but I managed and felt like a princess that had been bestowed some royal privilege of library honors!

Long story short: of those first-ever selections, the only one that really stood out in my young, impressionable mind (and, still does) was a slightly difficult read with a super-fascinating story. The original publication of The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White.

And, finally, the reason for my love of, fascination with, and interest in becoming a novelist: Romance reading.

I think it was in the summer between the seventh and eighth grades that I discovered my mother's 'secret stash' that she hid in the sliding-doors bookcase headboard of my parent's bed. I'd slowly developed the courage to enter that room as I got older, and oh, the secrets that unfolded for me!

Her birth control pills, a box of Ayds diet candy that I sneaked just one of and couldn't eat anything for 48 hours!

There was a picture, too, of my father on leave during WWII at some club. He's with an enlisted buddy and two women, all seated around a small table loaded with liquor bottles and half-empty glasses.

Both couples are kissing, but his buddy gave the camera the finger, and you can believe how shocked I was to learn that it was a gesture that old!


Anyway, the bookcase headboard fascinated me most, being an unrecoverable read-a-holic even at that tender age.

It was lined with such paperbacks as Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann, The Thorn Birds
by Collen McCullough, Captive Passions by Fern Michaels, The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell.

I read them all, of course, and became forever hooked on romance.

Later, I discovered popular authors and was instantly gravitating toward Johanna Lindsey novels . . . because of the cover models!

Honestly, I never made the Fabio connection until it was pointed out to me in a magazine article, and afterward I was so ashamed of that knowledge that I stopped looking at the covers and started concentrating on the back cover synopsis instead before making any purchase.

Still, the one book that stood out most was Savage Thunder by Johanna Lindsey.

I've read just about every Lindsey novel to come along, and liked a majority of what I read, but for a few hot & heavy reasons, this story just stands out so well, and for so long, in the memorable category.

Colt had to have been the most attractive, self-assured, once-bitten half & half I'd ever had the pleasant fortune of being introduced to by way of steamy romance.

That scene in the desert, atop one horse, will stay with me forever, I'm sure.


Your comments, thoughts, suggestions, issues, and insight are always welcome. Please feel free to reply to any of my posts.

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