Although my December 8 post (above) got just one online comment, as has been the case many times, the offline comments & conversations have been rich. Recently a good friend dug so deep for answers to the questions I asked in that particular post that I began reflecting on other important gifts I've received.
I can't imagine my life without books. If you've read even a few of my posts since last March you know that. Who was the first person in your life whose love of books was a gift to you? Unquestionably for me it was my older sister. I clearly recall how she would devour book after book when we were young. I didn't get the bug as early as she did; music got me first. But when I started college, I remembered her example and wasn't at all surprised when my freshman English professor (Mr. Larsen, Kean College, 1967) described his rapture when he was in a library touching the books. Some of my fellow students probably thought he was deranged; I was inspired - I had my sister in my head. Gift giver #2: Thanks, Mr. Larsen.
Who else gave you this gift? I'll never forget the first apartment I walked into (I'm now a young adult) where several full bookshelves were about the only furniture. As I browsed, many author names were unfamiliar to me. I asked my friend (happened to be the other guitar player in my band at the time) how many he'd read. When he said "...almost all of them...", I was intimidated a little but energized more. I asked him for a list of titles and authors he'd recommend. I remember many I subsequently finished including Peter Matthiessen's "At Play In The Fields of the Lord" which remains a favorite almost 40 years later. Thanks, Kenny.
I've got others who have since given me this gift but I want to hear your stories. Online, offline, e-mail, snail mail, phone calls, smoke signals, Pony Express, doesn't matter. Can you imagine your life without books?