The Joy of Reading

Samuel Clemens

Source
Group photo portrait of author and humorist Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel L. Clemens; middle), noted American Civil War correspondent and author George Alfred Townsend (left), and David Gray, editor of the Buffalo Courier (right).
Group photo portrait of author and humorist Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel L. Clemens; middle), noted American Civil War correspondent and author George Alfred Townsend (left), and David Gray, editor of the Buffalo Courier (right). | Source

Mark Twain and Other Authors

Mark Twain was a big part of my tweens. I read Huckleberry Finn with a flashlight after the rest of the family were in bed. It was a frightening experience. The vivid description is something I recall to this day. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) made wonderful commentaries on the world he lived in.

Many people want to ban books like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer by Mark Train (Samuel Clemens) but they introduced me to life in a world I could never know. I was young when I read these books and did not know anyone who wanted to slant them for me. I read them with an open mind and a youthful point of view. They were an early influence that shaped my view of race relations and how things should not be done just as Charles Dickens gave me a window into the life of the poor during the Industrial Revolution in London, England during the 1860’s. I have to say honestly that I hated Great Expectations because it was dark and I really never got into it. However, I absorbed A Tale of Two Cities, and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is a wonderful historical novel that was not quite a romance in the style we have today but it was wonderful. I loved Czardas, the epic tale of a Hungarian family before WWI by Diane Pearson.

Jiminy Cricket

1956 cast photo. Front row; L–R: Annette Funicello, Karen Pendleton, Cubby O'Brien, Sherry Alberoni, Dennis Day. Row two: Charley Laney, Sharon Baird, Darlene Gillespie, Jay-Jay Solari. Row three: Tommy Cole, Cheryl Holdridge, Larry Larsen, Eileen Di
1956 cast photo. Front row; L–R: Annette Funicello, Karen Pendleton, Cubby O'Brien, Sherry Alberoni, Dennis Day. Row two: Charley Laney, Sharon Baird, Darlene Gillespie, Jay-Jay Solari. Row three: Tommy Cole, Cheryl Holdridge, Larry Larsen, Eileen Di | Source
Jiminy Cricket taught me to read in his Encyclopedia segment on the Mickey Mouse Club during the early 1950s,
Jiminy Cricket taught me to read in his Encyclopedia segment on the Mickey Mouse Club during the early 1950s, | Source
Fun With Dick and Jane was one of the first readers I used in elementary school when I was taught to read. I actually cannot remember a time when I could not read.
Fun With Dick and Jane was one of the first readers I used in elementary school when I was taught to read. I actually cannot remember a time when I could not read. | Source
Tip and Mitten is another first reader that established family values and taught me to read. Of course it is nostalgia.
Tip and Mitten is another first reader that established family values and taught me to read. Of course it is nostalgia. | Source

Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain

Which Mark Twain Book is Your Favorite

  • Tom Sawyer
  • Huckleberry Finn
  • Roughing It
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
  • Pudd'n'head Wilson
  • LIfe on the Mississippi
See results without voting

Reading is One of the Joys of My Life

Reading is one of the great joys of my life. I was a child during the 1950’s when television first appeared and LOVED the Mickey Mouse Show. I was four or five years old and I watched Jiminy Cricket every day. I believe that the time I spent watching this program assisted me and got me started on a life time love affair with words.


Books Are Movies In My Head

By the time I started to school in the first grade I was ready to read. My first readers were titled, Tip, Tip and Mitten, and Fun with Dick and Jane. Tip was a puppy and Mitten was a kitten. Dick and Jane were the children of a family who lived with these pets.

From the moment I was able to put letters into words, movies played in my head. I have always visualized the words I read. When I read the words are assimilated in my mind in a visual medium. I do not know how it happens but I literally see the image the word projects. Literally, I have movies in my head. I have always had movies in my head. Some of the most memorable movies I ever saw were created in my mind while I was reading.

Escapist Reading

Many people denigrate escapist reading, but I knew I was reading to escape many years ago. I was a poor child in South Texas with a hunger to learn more about the world. Books were my friend. I was reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales when I was nine or ten right along side of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I graduated to Nancy Drew Mysteries, Hardy Boy Mysteries, and Noel Streatfield’s shoe books. Julie Campbell gave me many hours of pleasure with the Trixie Belden mystery series. Walter Farley blessed me with The Black Stallion, The Black Stallion and Satan, and and many more books in this series.

Historical Romance

Historical romance entered my life when I was about twenty years old. That was when I found These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. This was a love affair that lasted a lifetime. I have fifty year old copies of the Heyer historical romances that no amount of money could replace. In my opinion Georgette Heyer is equal to Jane Austin in historical romance. She filled my young life with pleasure.

I could go on and on with the loves of my life. Joan Smith, Catherine Fellows, Sylvia Thorpe, Jane Austin, Georgette Heyer...but the truth is that reading is a hobby that will educate you as well as give you pleasure. It is a learning experience and one that will last a life time.

I Am a Reader!

Reading the Bible is especially important. I love reading the Bible in the King James Version. I know that many people cannot understand the language, but it is well worth the learning. The King James Version is filled with beautiful poetry that cannot be duplicated in other more contemporary versions. Modern versions are great for establishing the exact meaning of a passage in modern English but they lack the beauty of the King James Version.

I believe I am one among many who find that words are old friends and can be trusted to stay the course. I am a reader!

Mickey Mouse Club

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Comments 9 comments

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

I can't believe that you mentioned Trixie Beldon! I haven't even thought of Trixie for years and years; loved those books when I was a kid. And the Bobbsey Twins were great!


Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas Author

I understand what you mean, James. I realized that I read most of these books many years ago. I, too, read mostly nonfiction these days for the same reason. There is only so much time and it should be spent wisely when it grows short. Thank you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Lord knows I am a voracious reader. Not much I'd rather do; though I do do many other things. This is a fine article about the importance of reading. As you say, unlike watching a movie, a book allows you to create the movie in your imagination and that is a wonderful experience. I read all the Tom Swift books when I was a boy; then graduated to Dickens and Harold Robbins. Now, I only read non-fiction, as the sands of the hourglass are shallow and there is much more knowledge I want to gain before I leave this world.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas Author

Duchess you are so right. Movies and video are useful but they do take away from the learning curve. reading opens the world to children. Thanks for commenting.


Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

A fellow reader. I find I have read all the author's you mentioned, and have to agree that for the pure enjoyment of reading, I enjoy historical romance the most. However, a wide range of authors and topics leaves a person open to new ideas, and we glean useful tidbits of information from just about everything we read.

Having been an avid reader from my pre-teens and on, I have to agree that reading is a good way to get young people to expand their imagination.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas Author

Janice, there are so many more authors I left out. J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey. I visualized the hobbits hiding in fear with the black rider tracking them thirty years ago while reading The Fellowship of the Ring. I am happy to say that Peter Jackson nailed that scene perfectly. The fear and horror suffered by the hobbits is an indelible scene on my inner movie. I loved it in the book! Thanks for the comments.


Janice Mireles 7 years ago

I love this article!!! Reading opens many worlds to children of all backgrounds. I can't wait to begin reading to my children every day and night and instilling the love of reading to a new generation!


Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas Author

Devil's Cub is the sequal to These Old Shades. An Infamous Army is another sequal. The heroine is the Great Granddaughter of the couple in These Old Shades. There is also a connection to Regency Buck in this book. I absolutely love Georgette Heyer. Thanks for your comments.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

You've got so many favourites of mine up there - and I've grown up loving Georgette Heyer too - have a hub-in-progress about her and haven't been able to post it because I feel it just doesn't do her justice. My first one was Devil's Cub and I guess I have all her books! Thanks for becoming a fan :)

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