I do not ever remember a time I did not like to read or be read to. I have always loved books. My mama took me to the library the first time when I was less than 3 years old and it’s been a love affair with books ever since. Probably before that. Mama always read to me and my little brother. Just last week, in fact, Jeff and I were discussing this. Mama would hold him on her lap and tuck me into her side and read Bible stories and fairy tales to us nearly every single night. She bought us a Little Golden Book each week at the grocery store, too. I still have many of them, as you can see from the photo above. She also bought us little books with 45 rpm records with them so that we could follow along as the narrator read the book. My brother can still quote entire passages of some!
When I started to school, Mama got me a subscription to the Weekly Reader and then the Weekly Reader Book Club. I thought I was the stuff! I remember pulling the Weekly Reader from the mail box after I got off the school bus and just dragging my feet all the way up the dirt road to our house because I HAD to begin reading! And I got a new book every month! When I learned to read my first Dick and Jane book, everyone who visited our home had to listen to me read. I have a very vivid memory of sitting in the window, well, near the window, reading that book over and over and being filled with joy at the words on the page!
Reading only became more of a love in my life the older I got, too. In fourth grade, all my library visits to the school library had me checking out a series of biographies of famous Americans. I read every single one they had. I loved learning about Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Clara Barton, etc. I have always had a very vivid imagination and I pictured myself there in the story with them. I read so much that my mama would say, “If you’re looking for Susie, she’s somewhere with her nose stuck in a book.” My mama, in fact, started me reading Christian fiction with Janette Oke’s ‘Love Comes Softly’. I read that book numerous times and was blessed each time I read it. I still have Mama’s original copy as well as the entire series.
When Tom and I married in 1978, we had only two new things of our own to start our married life: a 19 inch black and white tv and a metal bookcase. Everything else was bought second hand from relatives. But I had a regular date with the library. I would check out whole big bags of books at a time. We didn’t have much of a budget for books, so I didn’t own a huge amount back then. When income tax refund time came, I got books! I could have lived in a book store! In fact, as a girl, my dream was to be locked in the library overnight. All those treasures! All mine for hours and hours!
Gradually I build my library. Then, after six years of infertility, we were expecting a baby! At the time, my mother lived with us. We had 3 bedrooms but the third was taken up by books. We had to put that baby somewhere, so I donated 268 hardcovers to our local one-room library. Ouch, that hurt. But I could go check them out again if I wanted. Then I started building my library up again, but storing them other places, like in boxes under beds, etc. I could not live life without books!
The photos here are just some of my books that I have room for in my home. And there is another book case in my bedroom! I also have a storage building with many bookcases in it. I donate books to our local library, but it’s hard to part with a book.
I don’t remember exactly how I got started in influencing for Christian fiction. I do remember author Mike Dellosso starting a group named The Darlington Society after a book of his. I made his group and I guess it started from there. That was in 2010. I began reviewing and it just took off from there. I am doing what I love most doing.
I now influence for a great many authors of Christian fiction. I love this genre most. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been going through a trial and the book I was reading ministered to me. It’s so amazing to me that the very same God who spoke this entire universe into existence knew that on that day I’d be going through that trial, so He created an author and gave them the words to write in that book and allowed me to read it to minister to my spirit!~
So, to all the writers for whom I influence, if you read this, please know beyond a shadow of a doubt how much I appreciate you. The fact that you trust me with your hard work is a blessing that I will never, ever take for granted! Not once. Your writing has blessed me beyond measure and I consider it a total blessing from God to be able to do this, read and review and influence for such wonderful books. Books that honor Him and bring glory to the name of Christ Jesus!
So there it is: a bit of my reading story. I hope that I will always have clarity of mind to continue reading and influencing as long as God allows me life on this earth. Blessings!!