I’ll tell you how it happened to me. I was about seven years, maybe eight. In those days, one set of grandparents lived a block away and the other set two blocks. I had been sent to the grandparent’s house a block away on Napoleon St. Some called the street St. Napoleon St. although my dad always doubted that man could have been a saint.
It was just me and my Grandma. Grandpa worked on the railroad and was away on a trip. There was no TV and the only electronic entertainment was a big old radio mounted on a shelf in the hall. It was perpetually tuned to NBC radio. I was out of my mind with boredom. I was on the bed in the “boys” room. Finally, I fixed on a small shelf on the opposite wall. It couldn’t have been more that eighteen inches long but it was filled with books. I got up and walked over. The books were dusty as if they had not been moved in a while. They were all hard bound but like the Readers’ Digest book of the month club binding. Nothing special.
With absolutely nothing else to do, I studied the titles and selected one. I lay back on the bed and opened the cover. At that point, I can most assuredly tell you that my life changed. Whatever it might have been, it could no longer be. I fell into that book and became a READER. I read that book cover to cover that first day. I wanted more. I found out where the library was on Laurel St and went there. I read every book that author had written. It was more than thirty books. I read pretty much every volume in the adventure and science fiction section of the library and then started on books on science.
Reading and being a READER can change your life. It changed mine. Oh, that first book? What was it? It was the original Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.