Monday, February 17, 2014

Books, Books, Books

Here we are in the middle of February already. Time is flying by even faster than last year. This year will mark my 78th birthday, and I’ve been thinking about how much the Christian fiction selections have changed through the years.

When I was eight years old in 1944, I rode the bus to Jefferson Avenue in Dallas and transferred to a streetcar to get to the library. Since I went every week at the same time of day right after school, I became friends with people on the trolley line. They took care of me, too. Imagine letting an eight year old girl do that today.

The selection for young girls was sparse. I read all of Louisa May Alcott’s books and cherished Little Women. I read Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink and books by Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A writer named Janet Lambert wrote novels about teenagers that whetted my appetite to write my own stories. As a teenager I found a shelf of books by Grace Livingston Hill at our church library and read every one of them.

I ended up reading books over and over again because there were so few of them available that my mother would allow me to read. Today, we have shelves full of Christian novels that spark the imagination. Mysteries, romance, suspense, fantasy, and young adult books give every type of personality and appetite something to read.

I am thankful for those who took a giant leap into Christian fiction and provided us with so many good books. The walls of my office are lined with books by my favorite authors, and now my Kindle and Nook are loaded with books as well. I am never at a loss for something to read. May we never lose the desire to lose ourselves in a great story of Christian faith at work.

What books do you remember reading in your childhood? Did you have a wide selection?


Debby Mayne said...

Great post, Martha!

My dad was in the Air Force, so we moved quite a bit. When we lived in Japan (early to mid 60s), there was no American TV, so I spent quite a bit of time in the base library. Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth was probably my favorite book back then. I also liked Faulker and Eudora Welty. I also loved some of the lighter comic books (not super hero).

Martha W. Rogers said...

You did a lot deeper reading than I did. :) I didn't read Buck, Dickens, or Faulkner until I was in high school and had to read "heavier" stuff and even them skimmed over a lot of it just enough to write a book report.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

A weekly visit to the library at the county seat was big when I was a child. We started with Bobbsey Twins bookd and The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, then progressed through Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. Gone with the Wind was a favorite of mine when I was a little older. I read it several times.

Debbie Moss said...

I grew up reading Grace Livingston Hill as well...along with Trixie Beldon, the Bobbsey Twins, and Five Little Peppers. I also read Heidi and ALL the Nancy Drew titles. I also loved Jane Eyre, Lorna Doone, and Jamaica Inn. And then when I started high school, I LOVED A Tale of Two Cities and Milton's Paradise Lost.

Chris Malkemes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Malkemes said...

I didn't learn to read until I was in the forth grade. We lived in the country, in shanties with no water or electricity. I was in high school the first time I entered a library. I found "christy" by Cathryn Marshall. I devoured it. I went on to read more and more and now I am a writer.

Martha W. Rogers said...

It's really weird, but I didn't read that much Nancy Drew, nor did I read much about the Bobbsey twins. I did read the Five Little Peppers and Heidi.Along with Little Women, Jane Eyre and Rebecca became favorites. So glad to see readers from childhood on. Chris, I'm glad you discovered books even though later.