I have appreciated the benefit of an excellent book since very early childhood. My favorite thing then was to go to the library and take my canvas bag and leave with it stuffed full of books to read for the next two weeks. I was reading for readings sake and nothing more.
Then, in ninth grade I got an English teacher...not just a regular teacher mind you....this lady was a legend. She was notorious for picking favorites. If she liked you, good grades, no problems. If you were unfortunate enough to fall into the other category, well, you were doomed. So first day in I was a wreck, I wanted this woman to love me. Add to that the rumors of her "coffee" thermos that she took with her everywhere and her wobbly stance in fourth period and I was terrified.
You got 5 grades in that class, and four of them were from book reports. She had a book list we could choose from...no easy readers either. This woman was a literature connoisseur. She introduced us to all kinds of books and poetry. Not only did we read them, we learned to dissect them. We would discuss symbolism, man versus machine, allegory, and a host of other writing techniques. When she required an essay, the more elaborate your musings, the better. She loved a good descriptive sentence. Now I was reading for more that just readings sake. I found out that there is an artistry and a form to an author's work.
We would laugh at her slurry speech, and whisper about that darn thermos, but I learned love all kinds of literature that year and I still have my reading list. I hope to read through all of them one day.