The two days at the Arizona Book Festival has impacted my thinking for a much longer time than those two days! Somehow I found my self thinking of books of long ago... the books that began the trip to the reader I am today. I am pretty sure it all began with a wonderful series that can occasionally be found today, the My Book House set. I guess many of those in my age group have the same wonderful memories of those books. Then came the series age including the Honey Bunch, Nancy Drew and Patty books. But then it was time to read a different kind of book.
I recall my first experience with "grown up" books that even now I know was an incredible happening. I lived in South Shore on the south side of Chicago. A local card shop, Blackman's,had a mezzanine level rental library. I often went there with my mother. I think I must have been in my early teens when I first met Taylor Caldwell. I don't remember how it happened but I went home with Eagles Gather. I didn't know then that it was her first novel. (Note: August, 2016. I have been reading about her again. It was not her first novel. Ahh. How nice we keep on growing)It was the first of what became a three book series about the Bouchard's who were in the munitions business for generations. By the time I became a fan all three books had been published. In fact the three books, Eagles Gather, Dynasty of Death and The Final Hour were her fictionalized version of the Dupont famiy. These were the years of WWII. Her descriptions and the story had me hooked into the word of historical fiction -- still a favorite all these years later.
The other book that popped up in my musings was a book by Madeleine L'Engle called A Wrinkle in Time. My first reading was as a young teacher. It was the best! I loved the word 'tesseral'. I had no idea of it was a real word or not but I loved the sound and her definition of it being a 'wrinkle in time'. Some years later I read two of her adult books. They were both personal and meaningful. I recommend them without reservation. Each is a memoir of sorts. A Circle of Quiet(1972) is, as the fly leaf says, is her way of exploring and defining the meaning of her own life. The second, Two-Part Invention(1988) is the story of her marriage. If you are/were a follower of the soaps, L'Engle was married to Hugh Franklin. Franklin was Dr. Tyler in All My Children for many years. Franklin died in 1986 and the book was published after his death. It was nice to have this moment of recall. I guess it is time to read these last two again.