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love books.

I love new books.

I love the anticipation I feel when I hold a new book in my hands. I love the look of the clean, crisp book jacket. I love the smell of ink when you open the book. I love the crinkle sound the binding on the spine of the book makes when you open it for the first time.

I love used books.

I love the dog-eared pages, the coffee stains, the notations in the margins. I love the deeply creased bindings, evidence of others who have read the book before me.

Did I mention that I love books?

I always turn first to the dedication page. It gives me insight into the author. Is the book dedicated to his/her spouse, mother, first grade teacher or dog? If, due to some huge miracle I were ever to publish, I would put much thought into the dedication page. In fact, I've already written the dedication page for two books as yet unwritten!


To my mom, who taught me the basics, including the importance of following a recipe.

To my husband, who taught me so much more, including the importance of putting the recipe away and winging it!

(Hiking Memories and Photographs)

To the three special women who shared in my first backpacking trip.

To Cathy, who innocently asked me one day "Do you want to go backpacking?"

To Leanna, who took me up the side of my first mountain, bereft of any facsimile of a trail.

To Barbara, who taught me there is such a thing as "Happy Hour" in the wilderness, even when there is no ice.

I was introduced to books at an early age. I was lucky enough to have a mother who not only read to me, but more importantly, read with passion. "Read with expression" she would tell us. She taught by example, her dramatic reading of "The Three Little Kittens" still resonates in my memory. I doubt most people have heard of "Sally in Our Ally," but in our family it was a standard. Dr. Seuss books were another favorite, the rhyming stories giving my mother an outlet for her dramatic tendencies.

I read every Nancy Drew mystery published. Friends whose fathers made more money than mine purchased a new book every month. I made do with the books my mother bought at a yard sale. Thick, purple bound books with no pictures on the cover, I was embarrased to lend them to my friends, as their books were smaller and sleeker with color pictures of Nancy on the front. I kept my Nancy Drew collection for years, rarely remembering the treasure I had stored in dusty boxes in the garage. These books made the move from California to Arizona, back to California again before I eventually gave them away, their dusty pages covered in mold.

I savored every word written by Walter Farley in his "Black Stallion" series. I longed to be Alex, clinging aboard the back of the galloping black stallion on a faraway deserted island beach.

When I was eleven, I participated in our church's effort to "Read the Bible Through in 1962." For thirty minutes every morning and evening I would sit in traction (fondly nicknamed the neck stretcher), prescribed after I injured my neck in a car accident. My Bible in my lap, I would read alternately from the Old Testament and then the New, dutifully check off the chapters as I read them. I was mesmerized, rereading the stories I had been taught in Sunday School, and discovering people and stories I hadn't yet been taught.

During my high school and college years I read book after book, some required reading, some not. I read and reread "Gone With The Wind." The runaway best seller transported me back in time to the days of the old South, to the Civil War and the subsequent restoration, into the lives of Rhett, Scarlett, Ashley and Melanie. I could imagine myself dancing next to Scarlett at one of the grand parties at Tara or Twelve Oaks, waited on by servants, oblivious to the approaching storm forming in the North. I longed for her to find happiness in Ashley's arms. I wept with her at the death of her beloved daughter Bonnie Blue. I felt her loneliness and heartache when Rhett left her for the final time.

I enjoy hanging out at It's a simple concept. You register those paperback books you no longer want into a data base. The person who requested the book gets a debit for $2.50 ($2 goes as a credit to the provider, and $ .50 goes to the "donkey" for carrots (i.e. the web site). It costs under $2 to send a paperback in the mail.

Another site I like is

n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

(added to the

Concise Oxford English Dictionary in August 2004)

Did I mention I love books?

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