About

 

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“Let me show you,” said one of my college professors many years ago, “how difficult it is to learn to read.” She assigned every letter in the alphabet a random symbol, an arbitrary shape that replaced the shape of the letter we knew. And then she showed us short words of these symbols.

“Dad,” someone in the audience read. “Cat,” another said as the next word appeared.

When she put up a whole sentence, I read it perfectly, and unknowingly, out loud. “Very good,” she said from her podium, peering over her glasses at me in the back.

But, it wasn’t very good. It was completely natural. I have never known a day when I could not read.

I have never known a time that I didn’t seek a book for enjoyment, for comfort, for meaning. When I was in Europe as a child in the summer of 1969, I had only one book with me. It was Charlotte’s Web, and I read it over and over from June to August.

When I was dragged to a frat party in 1983 so my roommate could see the guy she wanted to date, I found a copy of Anna Karenina and read it behind a closed door until a man (whom I would later marry) came in and found me.

I am not a professor. I am not a professional reviewer. I am a lover of books.

I share that love with you here.