Magic is Real


December, 2016


When I was a child, I loved to have books read to me. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad reading to me from a book of children’s poems. My favorite poem was called “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley.

Another favorite was “Are You My Mother” by P.D. Eastman. My mom read that to me often. When I began to learn to read, I’d read it to her, and I’d make sound effects that made her laugh. Snort!

Perhaps my all-time favorite book of my childhood was “I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sallew” by Dr. Seuss. The story is about this little guy who suddenly finds himself on the receiving end of a lot of trouble from other creatures where he lives. He hears of a place called Solla Sallew where they never have troubles, at least, very few. He has a very difficult journey, but eventually gets there, only to find he can’t get in. So, he travels back home, only he gets himself a baseball bat along the way, and he marches back into his land waving the bat, and saying, “Now my troubles are going to have trouble with me.” Hey, a baseball bat to the skull will make any troublemaker think twice about messing with you. This particular book was out of print for many years. I can’t think why.

For some reason, I fell out of love with reading around the time I began to take an interest in girls. Books didn’t have the same appeal anymore. I sometimes wonder if I might have been better off sticking with the books.

I had a wonderful English teacher in the 11th grade. We had to read a WHOLE novel and write a book report. Not just any novel, mind you. This teacher assigned us each a novel. It was like something from a Twilight Zone show, where someone knows exactly what you need and gives it to you. He selected a book for me called “Travels with Charlie: In Search of America” by John Steinbeck. The story itself wasn’t anything Earth shattering. However, you can’t read John Steinbeck and not fall in love with reading. By the time I finished this book, I was hungry to read more. I don’t recall what I read next, but eventually I read “Dune” by Frank Herbert. This was the first book that completely drew me in. I would snap out of a reading session shocked to realize I was in my bed. I had just been walking through the sands of Dune. Really. I was there! I was sure of it. That was when I fell in love with Science Fiction. I quickly read the next two books in the series (that was the entire series, at the time). From there, I was constantly at the library or the book store browsing the SciFi offerings. “The Dosadi Experiment” by Frank Herbert was wonderful.

Years later, my dad suggested I read “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. As soon as I finished, I grabbed my dad’s copy of “The Lord of the Rings” and dove in. Over the years, I’ve read LoTR more than 30 times. It’s something I come back to, like visiting an old friend. It’s been a few years since I last read it, so I guess it’s time to dig out one of my many copies and crack it open. I have to keep buying new copies because I wear them out. Pages fall out. Pages turn yellow. I accidentally dropped my best hardcover copy, and the binding was ripped to shreds. I bought another hardcover.

Someone once said, “A good book makes you want to live in the story. A great book gives you no choice.” Find those books that grab you by the soul and drag you into their world. Go there. Live there.