Reading in a Tree

The Trixie Belden mysteries were the first book series I became addicted to, meaning I couldn’t wait for the next volume to come out. Maggie, who was my best friend and next door neighbor, and I would read them sitting up in a tree in her back yard when we were about ten. I think what drew us in to the books was that the teen characters in them ad such a totally different life style from our urban existence. They rode around in their western US setting on horses solving mysteries, attending rodeos and county fairs in the meanwhile. Not only couldn’t we ride horses through our neighborhood, there just didn’t seem to be any mysteries to be solved. We preferred the main or detective character, Trixie, with her tom boyish, can do attitude and short sandy blond hair to the more popular Nancy Drew who was conventionally pretty and had a boyfriend perpetually away at college. Trixie did have more elegant friends, Diane and Honey, who, now that I think about it, looked quite a bit like Nancy. As I recall the typical plot, Trixie would help her friends out of jams until she got in the biggest jam of all and then solved whatever mystery had happened to come up, say, the identity of a mysterious visitor (the title of one of the books) to the area. You probably had a series that grabbed you as a kid, please tell about your experience.


Dick is bad Do you remember learning to read? I wonder if others are like me and there was a particular moment when you noticed that letters had particular patterns and the patterns added up to words. I was four years old and looking through my brother’s bookshelf. He was five years older than me and at school. I had pulled out one of these what seem today insipid Dick and Jane books, probably the first one in the series as it had to be very basic. And all that repetition–“see Dick run. Look, look, see Dick run” suddenly made sense. I pulled out other books and noticed the patterns in other books. I could read. I ran to my mother who greeted my exciting news somewhat negatively, afterall, I was only four. “You’re just memorizing the words, not really reading.” But I knew better and I knew I could now travel beyond my rather confined life at the time. And no, Dick was never as bad as he is in this picture.

I have a story to tell you.
And am eager to hear yours. A lifelong bookie, I am a living history of the changes in the book industry. When I learned to read at age four I saw my local library with its towering shelves of paper books as my window to the world and my mother soon had to persuade the librarian to give me a full privilege rather than a children’s only so I could read such scandalous books as Gone with the Wind. I mean, Rhett does get a little drunk and carries Scarlett up the stairs to do who knows what. My other bookie experiences—earning a PhD in American literature, teaching lit in high school and college, owning and managing a book store, and working in public and university libraries. Now, having taken most of my paper books that permeated my house to the public library for the fundraising sale, I’m on my second Kindle, am entering into the world of electronic publishing with this blog and am writing a book to first micropublish, then eBook publish, and then the moon, which I still see as having my book with my name it on the bookshelf at the local bookstore though I’m not sure there will be any left. Please, fellow bookies, read and contribute to my blog. I will also need help as I research THE BOOK, a true crime novel, and the other books that will follow.