One of the things I regretted leaving behind (and having to give away in the process) when I moved to New York in 2000 was my then rather modest library of books I had collected through the years. I leftthe paperbacks back in San Juan but I selected friends to whom I gave away the hardcover books and CDs I had decided were too cumbersome to bring with me as I moved across the oceans.
I have always loved to read. My dear Auntie Lydia had turned me on to reading fairy tales and nursery rhymes as soon as I could do my ABCs. I still remember how she introduced me to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales by gifting me with a children’s version when I turned 7. (And that book remains to be one of my most precious possessions, finally making it back to New York with me in 2010.)
She also introduced me to Reader’s Digest when I was in first grade. Then I discovered Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys sometime in grade school. I managed to read around 75% of the books on the list and to this day I regret not having completed all the Nancy Drew mysteries. My encyclopedia set at home came with an accompanying set of children’s books which I loved to peruse and read. In that series I was introduced not only to our beloved children’s fairy tales but fables and Greek mythology as well.
In high school, I read more purposefully and while reading homework took a lot of my time, I continued to try and read a wide range of books, spurned on primarily by our guidance counsellor’s advise to read and read when I asked about how I can increase my IQ. (That’s another blogpost altogether.) But who can forget Antoine de Saint- Exupery’s The Little Prince which I love to this day.
In college, I decided I would start my own collection. I discovered my now favorite authors Richard Bach (more popularly known for “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” but whose “Illusions” touched me more profoundly); friends from the service organization I joined in college, Opin and Carol (a.k.a. Beauty) introduced me to Frederick Forsyth via the The Day of the Jackal and Robert Ludlum via The Bourne Identity. My bestfriend from high school, Gina, introduced me to Leo Buscaglia whose “Living Loving and Learning” remains to be one of my favorite gifts to friends.
In this day and age of e-readers, I continue to share my love of reading, giving one of two kindles I received two Christmases ago to my sister, Ofie. And just recently, I shared the wonders of Kindle for PC with a dear friend who now has the books in my e-library to peruse and pore through. It’s such joy to find someone who loves the written word as much as I do — sifting through the stories and plots and immersing one’s self in another’s point of view.
I feel like a “Book Santa” who has opened new doors for a friend to continue reading again. As someone who loves reading and chalking up “books read” on my list, I know what getting to the end of the story feels like — and how it signals you can go to the next book on your list.
Enjoy the books, and when you read them, I hope you feel me right there beside you reading them, too. I look forward to the conversations on the common books we read — and will read together — in the coming days.