A guest post by Books for Keeps Board Treasurer Joe Hill
I remember when I first learned to love to read. My father was stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC, and I was at Tabernacle Middle School in English class with our teacher Mrs. Hellmer. There we learned to diagram sentences and if we could, we used all the adjectives in our spelling list to make unnecessarily long sentences which we would then have to diagram. Mrs. Hellmer had a bookshelf full of fiction representing every genre and she would ask us to choose a book for recreational reading or a book report. We had a library I suspect, but I don’t recall going there in middle school. All I remember was her bookshelf and how because of it I discovered that reading was something that could be fun.
When it came time to choose my first book in middle school English, I remember thinking a book cover with dragons looked pretty cool. So I started with Anne McCaffrey’s The Dragonriders of Pern. I started with Dragonflight, then Dragonquest, The White Dragon, Dragonsong, Dragondrums and pored through most all of her Pern-based books. My school was a little way out in Maysville and the bus ride with all the stops was at least a half hour. The long ride to school and home provided ample time to knock out a couple chapters. I became a voracious reader in middle school due to the long bus ride and my access to that bookshelf.
These were the days of Waldenbooks and B. Dalton Booksellers, where every mall had at least one bookstore. Both the comic shop and the bookstores were within bike-riding distance for me. After a slice of [...]