Reading Joys: My Beginning

Welcome friends. I’ve thought long and hard about what stories I would want to share with the world, outside of my novels. At first I thought about making it a game, where people from my community would share three random words, from which I would write a short story – I enjoy this practice and thought it would be fun. But then I wondered if my readers would even find that interesting – I want to share more than a parlor game.

Which leads me to: Reading.

Pinky with Book Image Courtesy of Sarah Brabazon WANA Commons


I think we all remember those first books of childhood that touched us, that changed us somehow. In my early-teens, I’ll admit it: I loved reading Goosebumps, Lurlene McDaniel and oddly, anything about Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia I could get my hands on. (Weird, I know).

And then, I clearly remember one book that changed everything. One book that catapulted me into a different level of reading. One book that I will read over and over the rest of my life. And that book is: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi (1990).

You may wonder why a proud tomboy would ever even TOUCH, much less continue reading a book with such a girly title and cover. Well, it all started because a librarian recommended I read all the Newberry award-winning books. (Yes, I was always hanging out with the librarians…). I went out gleefully with my little bookmark, fully intending to start at the beginning, and work my way through. The first Newbery winner – the tome of The Story of Mankind (1921) was way too dry and boring for my younger teen self. Several others also looked too dull for my ADHD mind. It was looking like I wasn’t going to achieve my goal (which, I never have, by the way).

And then, I came upon this book. Sitting innocently on the shelf. I read the back. A ship – that seemed intriguing. And it had a Newbery honor award. That counted, right?

I still remember racing through to the end and the feeling of breathlessness when I read the final words. Just thinking of the feeling makes me want to pick up my copy and read the book all over again. Someone here, and I’m not going to say who, may or may not have had the author sign her copy three times over the course of 15 years. 

Is this a review for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle? No. I would say this is a shout-out to all the books that have so innocently touched our lives. The authors out there merely penning a story from their hearts that reached out and grabbed ours. I think that is what all authors strive for, to touch at least one person with their storytelling.

And where is the synchronicity in this, you may ask? Well, I had always enjoyed writing stories. But it was after finishing The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle that I felt more invigorated and inspired in my dream. A few years later, I finished my first ‘novel’: 72-handwritten pages. Looking back, it doesn’t seem like much, but it was my start. The beginning of my journey to being a storyteller.

I hope some of you will enjoy this journey with me, as I share in the journeys of my own friends. Here, I will be exploring the synchronicities in life.

What experiences have you had that touched you and changed the course of your life? Were there any books you read that touched you so deeply, you still cherish them years later? Do you remember an item or moment that launched you towards your dreams?

9 thoughts on “Reading Joys: My Beginning

  1. Yay! I love the new site. 🙂

    To answer your question, I’ve re-read The Chronicles of Narnia more times than I can count (and I have an opinion about the order of the books–LOL!). Those books were some of the first to really make a conscious impression on me. Until recently, I tried to reread them every year. 🙂

    1. Thank you! Surprisingly, I haven’t finished that series yet. I’ll have to move it to the top of my list. 🙂
      I have books I like to re-read every year too. Particularly, the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix comes to mind. 🙂

  2. You’ve got a gorgeous site, here, Jennifer. Love the header pic. 😀 Wonderfully written blog post too. I think everyone remembers “that book,” the one that changed everything for them.

    For me, the game changer was reading Nancy Drew as a kid. I know, if you look at them now, they’re badly written, but at the time, they were great. I couldn’t get enough. I read my first one at 10, and as soon as I did, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to do what the writer of Nancy Drew had done for so many for so long. Those books also made me fall in love with reading, and I’ve been a book hound since.

    Thanks for sharing!

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