WARNING! If you’re not an ‘active reader’, you might not want to continue.

“Can you believe what THAT woman did! If I had been in the room, she wouldn’t be standing. She is so cruel and has no place in that family. I feel so sorry for those two wonderful boys.” This was the conversation my husband walked into when he returned home one afternoon from a round of golf. With me, seated on the coach, were three friends indulging in homemade cookies and store bought wine. From their expressions, words and tone you could tell they were upset. Jeff looked at me with a deer in the headlights expression, apologized for interrupting and, before making a speedy retreat to anywhere but there, asked if everyone was alright and was there anything he could do. My friends laughed, got up, gave him a hug and said, “Oh no, we were just discussing the latest Dorothea Benton Frank’s book Queen Bee.” Now a look of total confusion flashed across his face followed by a shake of his head and a bee line to the liquor cabinet to find his favorite Scotch.

Readers definitely understand that my friends’ passion is not unusual. Reading has a way of grabbing your attention, pulling you in and holding you prisoner – sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. Books are an escape enabling the reader to explore the world, experience wonders and realize how wonderful their life is compared to whatever is happening to some fictional character. There are certain authors I purchase without even reading the inside flap describing the story. Patterson, Baldacci, Scottoline, Coben and a dozen others that line my bookshelf, fill my hours and blow my budget to smithereens. Their characters, especially if recurring in sequels, are my friends. I feel as if I know them, their personal concerns and their life-long dreams. Coming to the end of a book feels like a child leaving home.

My love for reading must come from my Mom. As the story goes, she was reading an Agatha Christie novel when she went into labor. As she was being wheeled down the hall to the delivery room, the nurse tried to take the book away…Mom pushed, the nurse yelled and I was born. It was a happy ending. The nurse did her duty, Mom completed her book, I was healthy and not named Agatha.

How we read books changed with the introduction of the Kindle. I bought one and found myself downloading free books and my favorite authors at a fraction of the cost of a hardback. As much as I loved the convenience of carrying 431 books in this light-weight device, something was missing. Dog-earing pages, writing in the margins but mostly, the smell, feel and texture of the printed page…an experience the Kindle couldn’t replicate. So call me old fashion, I’m back to reading hardbacks, going to libraries and spending time with friends – between the covers.

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