Reading Makes a Difference

Reading Makes a Difference

My mother hid in her books and unless you were my mother reading was taboo in our house.  Of course we could read for our homework but heaven forbid we should be caught reading something for fun. My father just knew there was bound to be something else we were suppose to be doing, like cleaning house.

I think it affected how I learned, or didn’t learn, to read.

Book Spine Poetry
Book Spine Poetry (Photo by Morgan Dragonwillow)

In the third grade I had to leave my class every day to go to a special tutor to teach me how to read. You’d think I would have tried harder since I was already one of those kids that was singled out for special tortures on a weekly, if not daily, basis both at school and at home. Is it really a prerequisite for being creative to have a hellacious childhood?

I may have been slow to read but reading books became my lifeline into a world I craved from deep inside. Yet it still took me into the ninth grade before I succumbed to my love of books and reading. Even then I had to say it was for school or I would get into trouble.

Because of that and so much more, I didn’t think I was very smart growing up. I never did well in school and it seemed I was always getting into trouble. Of course following in the path of my parents, I was pregnant at 16 and married at 17.

I didn’t finish high school but I did take the GED when I was 21.  I was quite surprised when the teacher said I didn’t need to take the classes. I was shocked and told her I thought I did. She asked me if I read a lot. Surprised I said I did now. She told me that my scores on the pre-exam showed that I could easily pass the test. I still didn’t believe her. How could that be when I was considered stupid in school and rarely had good grades. Of course I studied because I wanted to make sure I would pass, especially math; I was never very good at that.

I was surprised that I not only passed all five tests but I received three out of the five tests with higher scores than my boyfriend at the time. He did well in school and had high SAT scores, he just decided to goof around and not graduate high school. Of course he was quite depressed when all of his scores weren’t higher than mine.

That still didn’t convince me I was smart. I took an English class because I wanted to learn to write stories. I ended up helping other students to understand the assignments. I argued with the teacher when I didn’t agree with his answers, in fact I discovered he had taken a book like ours and wrote his own answers into them instead of having a teacher’s manual. I argued even harder after that. When I excitedly mentioned to my grandmother that the other students asked for my help she said, “They’re that stupid?” Is it any wonder I didn’t believe in myself or thought I wasn’t smart?

How much further along would I be now if I was encouraged to read? I know it doesn’t do any good to look back and say what if, or if only, but it is something I am doing a lot of at this time in my life.

I love reading books now and I passed that down to at least one of my daughters, the other one likes to write and draw and paint. They are both very talented and I am so glad they didn’t grow up in a household where they had to worry about getting into trouble for reading.

My All Time 50 Favorite Authors


  1. Mercedes Lackey – Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  2. Tanya Huff –  Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  3. Iris Johansen – Mystery and Romance
  4. Patricia Cornwell – Mystery and Thriller
  5. S. E. Hinton – YA (she is the first author that I enjoyed reading)
  6. Franklin W. Dixon – YA Mystery
  7. Natalie Goldberg – On Writing
  8. Nora Roberts – Romance, Fantasy, Suspence
  9. Julie Garwood – Romance and Suspence
  10. Elizabeth Gilbert – Memoir
  11. J. K. Rowling – Fantasy and children’s literature
  12. Stephenie Meyer – YA Fantasy and Paranormal Romance
  13. Sarah Ban Breathnach – Non Fiction and mind and body
  14. Gael Baudino – Sci Fi/Fantasy
  15. Kay Hooper – Mystery and Thrillers, Romance
  16. Suzanne Collins – YA Sci Fi/Fantasy
  17. Barbara Kingsolver – Literature & Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry
  18. Adrienne Rich – Poetry
  19. Wayne W. Dyer – Non Fiction, Self Help
  20. Laura Munson – Non Fiction, Memoir
  21. Anita Diamant – Literature and Fiction, Religion and Spirituality
  22. Amber Wolfe –  Non-Fiction, Spirituality
  23. Starhawk – Religion and Spirituality
  24. Sue Monk Kid – Fiction, Memoir
  25. Gary Zukav – Non-Fiction, Spirituality
  26. Julia Cameron – Non Fiction
  27. S.A.R.K. – Health, Mind and Body
  28. Marion Roach-Smith – Memoir, Non-Fiction
  29. Karen LaPuma – Non-Fiction, Spirituality
  30. Ted Andrews – Non-Fiction
  31. Scott Cunningham – Non-Fiction, Spirituality
  32. Caroline Myss – Non-Fiction, Body and Mind
  33. Rita Golden Gelman – Children’s books, Memoir
  34. Diane Stein – Non-Fiction, Spirituality
  35. Echo Bodine – Non-Fiction, Spirituality
  36. Linda A. Firestone – Non-Fiction, Spirituality
  37. Jean Shinoda Bolen – Non-Fiction, Spirituality
  38. Sanaya Roman – Non-Fiction, Spirituality
  39. Gabrielle Roth – Non-Fiction
  40. Jennifer Louden – Non-Fiction
  41. Jack Canfield – Non-Fiction
  42. Veronica Roth – YA Fantasy
  43. Lindsey Fairleigh – Fantasy Romance
  44. Julianne Maclean – Memoir
  45. C. Greenwood – YA Fantasy
  46. Maureen Murdock – Memoir
  47. Loretta Ferrier, PH.D – Non-Fiction
  48. Edgar Allan Poe – Poetry
  49. Rachael Herron – Memoir
  50. Clarissa Pinkola Estes – Non-Fiction, Folklore and Mythology

If you haven’t read some of these authors I hope you will check them out and see if you could someday love them too.

What was it like in your family?

Did you see your parents read for pleasure?

Was there any conflict around reading? 

Who are your top five authors?

Make my day, leave a comment and share with your friends and followers.

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8 thoughts on “Reading Makes a Difference

  1. I can’t imagine my parents not letting me read. I devoured books when I was younger (a reading program that gave out prizes at school helped.) Naturally, in my teenage years I had more important things to do, but I eventually got back into it.

    • Well it was a sick dynamic going on. My mother read and didn’t take care of the house which infuriated my controlling father and he took it out on us. Glad you were encouraged to read. The more people read, I believe, the more intelligent they are. I gained most of my smarts as an adult and reading more and more books. Of course sometimes I think I am about obsessive about reading more and more books. =)

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing word love!

  2. How sad that you weren’t allowed to read for pleasure!

    Reading has long been a solace for me. Luckily, it was encouraged in my household, although I was such a nerd that instead of grounding me, my folks would punish me by forbidding me from going to the library.

    So glad you were able to cultivate a love of reading, to realize that you are smart, and to pass along your love of books to your children.

    • Thank you Tui, it has been quite a journey. Unfortunately my youngest daughter hates to read and has most of her life. I keep hoping that will change, even still, she is one of the smartest and talented people I know.

  3. Books were my lifeline and my escape. Words were my world when reality was too tough. They became a way to scribe what I couldn’t say, and often remain so. The idea of a childhood without books is somehow more forbidding an idea than a childhood without music, or without nature.

    I’m so glad you learned to read, and that you love it.

    • Thank you Lizzi, luckily I did have music and a little nature to help me through my childhood. I also of course had my imagination, which was quite wild when I allowed it to be. Funny that I feel like I even censored my thoughts to some degree as a child; I certainly censored my speech, or at least tried to keep my mouth from getting me in trouble but I was so naive that my mouth was quicker than my common sense or self preservation a time or two, or three, or four… 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing word love!

      • I was the opposite. I never learned to censor myself until later on, as a teenager. And I learned to use words to diffuse, to provoke or to wound, and it took a long, long time before I understood how to use words to heal, to soothe or to calm.

        My mouth was always getting me in trouble. Still happens often enough 🙂

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