Books: What was the first book you ever read? What was your favorite book(s)? Who are your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Growing up in Ridgewood, New York in the 1960’s-‘70’s, long before the age of the internet and cable TV, going to the library was one of the delights of my youth – right up there with going to the candy store, toy store, hobby shop and movie theater!
I vividly remember my very first trip to the library, mostly because it led to reading my very first book. It was in August, 1976, right before I started 8th grade. Kids in a neighborhood like Ridgewood really start getting bored around August. The novelty of the summer has long worn off by then, being replaced with hot, wet heat – too hot to play any sports at the park or even hang out on the street corner. August in old neighborhoods is all about finding something to do, preferably in a cool environment. Well, guess what – the local library wasn’t air conditioned back then, but it had a high ceiling with high windows, which were kept opened and they had these wonderfully massive fans that seemed to suck the hot air out of the building and toss it out of those windows. So, the library was literally a “cool” place to go!
My friend Jimmy Donovan and I were the first two (and sadly about the only two) to be brave enough (and could barely afford) to board a bus and travel to the library. It was Jimmy’s idea. He told me that his Dad had taken him there once before so he had already read his first book, The Call of the Wild, by Jack London. The way he described the plot to me, I was hooked and so excited to go get a library card and rent it myself. As it would sometimes happen, someone else had rented the book out – I was so disappointed – until I started looking at the other books that Mr. London had penned. That’s when I came across the first novel I ever read, White Fang!
I couldn’t wait to get home and read it! I will always remember the excitement I felt – just a kid from an inner-city neighborhood – but when I was reading White Fang, I was transported to the wilderness of Canada with wolves! What more could a boy want!
I have read countless novels since the summer of 1976 and I can tell you that I still feel the same excitement, every time I read a great novel!
Now, let’s see my favorite books… too many to count, maybe I should just mention my favorite authors – Jack London, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Tom Clancy, W.E.B. Griffin …to name a few!
As for what I’m reading now - I’m about to start Griffin’s The Honor of Spies.
Hey, do me a favor …leave a comment answering one or more of the title questions! For one, I’m sincerely interested and for another …I’m a writer locked in a room all day …alone …scared …did I mention alone? 9-)
Hope to hear from you! Peace, g
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Dean Wesley Smith