I’ve been a voluminous reader for my entire life. I think as soon as I had enough vocabulary to utilize in books outside of the classroom I began reading from the library. At that time the ‘children’s section’ was to the left when you entered the public library in New Philadelphia. And it was all Mine!
My first favorites were found in the Mystery Section. I buzzed through those as fast as I could read an armful and talk my mom into taking me back to trade them in for more. Then I found The Black Stallion series and engulfed those. There was another series by Farley called The Island Stallion. I read all of those, too. It was about that time I discovered The Hobbit and from there I moved into science fiction. These were all mixed in with books on History, the natural sciences, archaeology, paleontology and scatterings of other topics.
I’ve had a lot of people criticize my choices of books. They felt they were not topics a Christian should be reading. I don’t know. I do know that my faith in God has stood the test of time and my life style has been demonstrably purer than that of those who were critical. And in some cases my salvation has endured longer than theirs. Nevertheless, as Paul said to the Romans, One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. I guess it applies to our choices of reading material too.
In junior high school, or maybe high school, something prompted me to begin keeping a list of all the books I read. I started out with a 10 X 18 sheet of manila paper (I think those are the dimensions. It was one of those large sheets of manila paper they give you for drawing in art class) Now that I think of it, it must have been for a class assignment because I would not have had access to paper that big otherwise. It was probably intended by the English or Literature teacher to be for just a six week period, but I kept it current for much longer than that. I folded the page in half, making it 9X10 and began a list down the side. When that column was finished, I started a second in the middle of the page. When that column was down to the fold I started a third column on the right hand side of the paper. When that side was full untaped the paper and continued the list on the bottom half. When that half was finished, I turned the sheet over and re-folded it to start a third list on the back side. I continued until both sides of the entire sheet were filled with closely written book titles.
When I ran out of room after probably a year I counted the books I’d read. I had over six hundred titles. Three hundred and sixty five days and six hundred books provides an average of about two books a day. And these were not the one or two hundred page kid books because by this time I had graduated to the adult section of the library which had opened up wider vistas and heavier books. And in addition to that, although there were romances sprinkled among them there were none of the frivolous sticky romances that most women like to read. My favorite ‘romance’ writer was Grace Livingston Hill.
My mother introduced me to her when she allowed me access to her glass-fronted bookcase. She had two or three GLH novels there. When I’d read them I went looking for them in the library. GLH wrote wonderful romances about young men and women with high Christian values who struggled to overcome difficult situations and finally won over them to find real love. In today’s world they would be regarded as overly idealistic and sweet beyond anything, but they were exactly the thing a teenaged Christian needed to come to expect not love on the lascivious plane of modern romance, but love in the manner planned by the Lord when life on earth began. Yes, they were idealistic and sweet, but that kind of idealism is vitally needed in today’s ungodly world. Any Christian mother who has a teen who is yearning for all the things a teen aged girl longs for should seek out those old books by Grace Livingston Hill.
I don’t even know if they are in print any more. You might try Ebay or Amazon.