I was going to write a big long blog on the subject and my thoughts, but you know what? Eh. It goes without saying that it is wrong. I don't do any of those things--heck, nobody in my family has even reviewed my books, and I come from a very large family!
Instead, I'm going to share an email I received from a reader a few days ago. I love checking my email and seeing a new email from a reader. I can tell right away what it is because most of the emails are titled No Good Deed, Your Books, or The Mark Taylor Series. My heart starts beating a little faster and I skip over every other email in the inbox and go right to the reader email. I've been lucky that about 97% (and by about 97%, I mean exactly-- I did the math.) of the emails have been positive.
Hi!! I felt compelled to email you on your books. My daughter started reading them. Then she told her daughter to read the first page and if she didn't want to read the book that would be fine. Well, it hooked the teen-ager!! My daughter mentioned it a couple more times to me, but I didn't pay any attention to it really. Well, yesterday I was bored. So I got your book and couldn't put it down. I loved it. My daughter is finished with all three books and my granddaughter is on the third and now i am on the second. We can't wait for more. Thank you again.
First of all, let me set up why I really loved this email. I grew up with a love of reading. I can't remember not loving it, and it boggles my mind that there are people, lots of them, who don't enjoy reading. On one level, I can understand. Some people have learning disabilities that make reading very tough and I know if I had that kind of disability, it would be like someone with gets carsick trying to have fun as a passenger in the Indy 500. (not that they allow passengers, but just roll with me here--I had a hard time coming up with that analogy.)
However, even understanding the problem, I can't help feeling a little sad for those who can't or won't enjoy reading, especially young people. So when the email talks about the teen getting hooked on my series, I was ecstatic! I don't know if she is a reluctant reader or an avid reader, but just the fact that my books, which aren't aimed at any particular age group, held a teen's interest, has me thrilled beyond belief.
My own daughter was a reluctant reader until she was ten, then the Warrior Cats series captured her imagination completely. I didn't think it would happen, but it really only takes one book to get someone hooked on reading. Just one book that completely captivates you and pulls you into that fictional world.
For me, that book was The Boxcar Children when I was about seven or eight. I was in third grade and I recall standing in the dusty school library in Forrest City, Arkansas, and pulling that book off the shelf. It on the left side of the library as you walked in. What if I would have chosen a different book that day? Would I have become a reader still? Maybe I would have, but would it have been some other book instead? I'm just glad I found my love of reading. What about you? What was the first book you loved? Do you remember it?
** I'd like to extend a big thank you to Diane, who gave me permission to share her email on my blog. Thanks again!