Monday, August 24, 2015

Books and Reading Part 1 by Douglas Gardham, author of The Drive In

Title: The Drive In
Author: Douglas Gardham
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 130
Genre: Short Stories
Format: Kindle/Paperback

 Have you ever been intrigued by what mysteries lie behind the doors and windows of the places you pass by on your drive into work everyday? The Drive In takes you on Tom Johnson‘s commute. Unlike Tom, you’ll get to peek behind some of those closed doors. Remember going to the “Drive-In” theatre? Each story reveals what goes on like watching the “dusk ‘til dawn” features through your car’s windshield. Meet the people at the places Tom only passes by each day. Then discover how his drive in ends like no other.  

Books and Reading - Part 1

I don’t think I started reading early but my love for books did. As family booklore has it, at four years old I was found in bed one night under my blankets with a flashlight and a copy of Winston Churchill’s memoirs in my hands. I was looking at the pictures but who knew it was the beginning of a life long love of books and the written word.
My first memories of books are from my mother. She often read to me from a vast selection that included classics like Beatrice Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar’s Stories and of course favorites from the Dr. Seuss catalogue like Horton Hears A Who!, The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. I can recall the anxiousness of our weekly trips to the library excited by the shelves-upon-shelves of books to choose from. But most of all what I remember from those early days was the monthly anticipation of what book would come in the mail from the “Beginner Books” series. Many of the titles remain indelibly marked in my memory: Come Over to My House, Sam and The Firefly, A Fish Out of Water, Stop That Ball! and You Will Go to the Moon to name but a few. They all captured my imagination and took me to that “other place” for a while.
My first memories of reading come in early elementary school with Fun with Dick and Jane and led me back to reading the many titles my mother had already introduced and read to me. I read all of the books many times over in those first years of reading. It was my “other” world, though I don’t remember recognizing it as such. The pictures made the stories come to life and the words I could now read made the pictures even more real. Reading and books were wonderful fun.
But then, like life, things changed.
In retrospect, it’s hard to discern exactly what took place. More words and fewer pictures were the trend in school. I began reading only for school. The fun of reading replaced by what looked a lot like work. And most of my reading was from textbooks. Oddly, I don’t remember much from that time.
And I don’t remember how long it lasted—but things changed again.
It was Leslie MacFarlane’s (aka Franklin W. Dixon) Hardy Boys series that flipped my world upside down. My first Hardy Boy book was a birthday present. Reluctant to pick it up—anticipating more work—it wasn’t long before I couldn’t get enough of Frank and Joe’s adventures. There were many: The Tower Treasure, The House on the Cliff and The Shore Road Mystery being amongst my favorite. I read dozens of them. No doubt, Dixon’s ability to suspend my disbelief eventually finding it’s way into my own work.
What happened next, rocked my world and is Part 2 of Books and Reading.

 Douglas Gardham is the author of the STARbook-awarded novel The Actor. He lives near Toronto, Canada with his wife, dog and cat. He loves books, music and movies. This is his second published novel.

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