…With a Man Named Rex Stout
I love books. I can, and have spent hours in a book store browsing. When I am ready to buy books I arm myself with a list of my favorite authors and I scan every shelf and every title to see what new treasures I can find waiting for me. Blame my love for a good book on my mother. To keep her five young children quiet, if even for a short time, she would make trips to the local library where we were allowed three books each to take home every week. How I loved those excursions to the local library and as I carried my treasure trove of books to the car I wondered what worlds would open to me that week.
I know this is where my love of travel began. These books that gave me visions and glimpses into parts of the world I had never been too but thought I would like to see one day. Books that took me to Africa on a safari, to Norway to see the Northern Lights, to China to see the great wall, to Greece to see the Parthenon, to Rome to see where gladiators fought, and to learn the mysteries of the great pyramids in Egypt. Books can take you anywhere.
The only book I have read more than once is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is still true today that this has been the only book I have read more than once. I stand in a book store or a library and I’m overwhelmed with the options of the books around me and I just don’t want to spend my time reading the same books over again. The Secret Garden therefore was as special to me then as it is today.
My reading tastes haven’t really changed all that much from the time I was a kid. I have always loved a good mystery. Be it a murder mystery, a good ghost story or even a good historical whodunit. Yes, as a child I read every Nancy Drew story available and was engrossed. As the years went by I branched out and picked up my first novel written by a man named Rex Stout and I was enthralled with a brainy detective named Nero Wolfe. How I wanted to be that smart about all things. I read every Lawrence Sanders novel and cheered his character Archie McNally. I cried over the first Carol O’Connell novel I read, Judas’ Child, and I keep up with every book she releases to learn more about what Kathy Mallory has in store for us and when will she finally show us her vulnerable side.
I read a lot of true crime novels as well but more than anything I love a good biography including the autobiographical. I have read some great biographies on people as diverse as Frida Kahlo to Ann Boleyn, Harry Houdini to Cary Grant; Genghis Khan to Lee Harvey Oswald; Henry Ford to Edward G. Robinson and Winston Churchill and Ethel Barrymore.
Many of my favorite authors have sadly passed away, some long ago, and they took their most famous characters with them. What they didn’t take with them however was their words, they left those behind for generations to enjoy, for people to dream, for those around the world to wonder if things are as they seem and to hopefully want to explore this world for themselves to see the great treasures left behind.
I read to my youngest niece when she was little. I wanted her to see the far away lands and have the words to inspire her to want to look beyond her own little world and wonder what was out there past her safe haven borders. I guess I had an impact. When she was the ripe old age of 5 she told her Mother that she wanted to get a passport and travel the world. To calm her Mother, who looked shocked that her only child would contemplate leaving her, she told her not to worry, that she would be back, and I can’t wait to hear the stories she’ll tell…