The first book that made an impact on me that I remember, was a book about the first female doctor in the United States. I’m not sure if I looked for the book because I already wanted to be a doctor or I stumbled on the book and felt a calling to medicine because of the power of that book. Either way it goes to show how books can impact a life and even reinforce what ideas are already there. I spent my childhood dreaming of being a doctor, I didn’t lose sight of that dream until I was an older teenager and suffered through chemistry. I came to the belief that I didn’t have the scientific or mathematical chops to cut it in a medical academic program. Was I correct? I don’t know but I do know that I still feel to calling when my children are sick.
“Little House on the Prairie” was another book that had an impact on me. I was 6 or 7 when I read it and reread it quite a few more times. I was in enthralled by the Ingles family and their way of life. I always wanted to pour hot maple syrup on cold snow like Laura’s mother did for her and the other children. Stuffing pockets with hot potatoes to keep your hands warm when going for a sleigh ride intrigued me too no end.
Another important book “Watership Down” was assigned to my seventh grade class and it was about a Warren of rabbits and their odyssey to another home. It spoke to trust, loyalty and leadership. It was one of the first more mature books I was reading as a school requirement with a paper to be written about the book. I did well and it gave me pride in my writing.
Around the same time, I received one of my all time favorite books of all time “D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths” as a birthday present from my mother’s good friend Elizabeth. I immediately fell in love with Greek mythology. I loved the stories, the drama, the tragedies, the inherent lessons provided by the myths. I came to understand that the myths gave the Greeks solace in their uncertain world.There was an explanation for the beautiful plumage of the peacock, after the god Hermes bored the giant Argus whose was covered by 100 eyes making him the perfect guard, the goddess Hera took his eyes and affixed them on the feathers of the peacock. The peacock being so proud of the plumage and the stares the peacock received became the most vain animal in the world. All very logical and many of the Greek myths mirrored the stories that we have in the bible which I found to be very fascinating. I spent many evenings reading this book to my children and they too share my love of Greek mythology as young adults. This book is much-loved in this family.
My mother’s best friend, a few years later, gave me “Prince of the Renaissance” by Desmond Seward, as a birthday present. The book was about the life and reign of Francois the first, King of France. This introduction into the history of France through all the intrigues of the life at the royal court of France became a passion of mine. The King was elegant, educated, a huntsman, a romantic a contemporary of Henry VIII. Those were very tumultuous times on the continent and across the English Channel. More than just political and economic statesmanship were covered in this book, the whole importation of the Renaissance from Italy is distinctly documented throughout King Francois’ reign. His strong appreciation for the arts started my own appreciation for the classics in painting and sculpture.
All these books have expanded my world in what I view as important ways. My horizons were expanded through my book reading. I love books, all books, they are wonderful friends who keep you company and teach you things. I love my books.