Of the three r's, (reading writing and arithmetic), reading was always my favorite. One of my first memories is sitting in the children's section of Hamilton, Ohio's Lane Public Library and looking at books wishing I could read the words on them.
My mother was and continues to be an avid reader and her love of reading was instilled into me at a very early age. When I finally began to learn how to read, I never wanted to stop. During the summer, the Lane Public Library had a summer reading fair and the "bookmobile" would come to various neighborhoods and the kids go borrow the books they wanted to read for the week and the next week return them and exchange for new ones. The child that read the most books over the summer holiday would be honored by having their name put on the summer reading banner.
I am sure that I have read thousands of books. From Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham" to Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" and every genre in between. I have many favorite books I have read and some I care not to read again. Like movies, some you can read over and over and others, once is enough. Some of my favorites are... "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote; "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell; and "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice. But my very first book was read in the floor of the children's section of Hamilton, Ohio's Lane Public Library, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter. The memory is so fresh and vivid in my mind, just like it was yesterday. Some of my best memories as a child came from reading and that library.
Things have changed quite a bit since then. The Lane Public Library is still there and the main building is on the Ohio Historic Registry of Historic Buildings, but it has seen some changes since then. It also has several branches throughout Butler County. Now most kids have never opened a book other than their school text books and if they read it is off the Internet or from magazines. The neighborhood library is almost a thing of the past. And I have not seen a "bookmobile" in decades. It is unfortunate that reading has taken a back seat to video games and the computer. So next time you need some quiet time, or just need to "get away" from the every day world, grab a book.