When Well Worn Pages began, the only people reading it were my family and a few friends. Over the last year, some new readers have been added along the way. This seems like a good time to officially introduce myself.
If you have read the “About” section of this blog, then you know the essentials. I am the wife of a fantastic college professor and the mother of four children (three girls and one boy, ranging in ages from ten to four) who has a librarian complex. If you have read a few of my posts over the year, then you may have picked up on the fact that I am a walking contradiction: equal parts sarcastic and sentimental, impulsive and cautious, rebellious and rule monger-y. I truly love books, reading, and almost anything related to those two things. These are the well documented facts.
Here is the back story. I grew up in the beautiful country of Nigeria in West Africa. My life there was, in many ways, ideal. I am grateful for everyday that I was there. While I can never claim it as home the way I wish I could, Nigeria shaped me in ways my “country of origin” (the United States) never could.
I spent the majority of my youth on a soccer field or basketball court. To say that I was a reluctant reader would be an extreme understatement. I can pinpoint the teacher and the moment that overwhelming reluctance took hold, as well as the teacher and the moment that reluctance began to abate. Those are stories for another day.
Had I known myself at all at 18, I would have immediately started a course of study that ended in my becoming a librarian. Instead, I did the second best thing for me and became a teacher. Before making the decision to stay at home with my own kids, I worked with elementary school age children for six years. Some of those years were teaching in a classroom, others were teaching P.E. or directing an after-school program. Now, I spend my days working with children in an entirely different capacity.
Aside from telling my story, likely the best way for me to introduce myself to you is through the books that have influenced me the most. To that end, I give you:
The books that I enjoyed most as a child:
- Amelia Bedelia (Peggy Parish) – The Amelia Bedelia books are the first books I remember scouring the library shelves for.
- The Yellow Boat (Margaret Hillert) – This is the first book I remember getting from Scholastic. I still have it.
- Frog and Toad (Arnold Lobel) – These treasured friends were my childhood favorites.
- A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle) – This is the first book I remember my grandmother reading to me. It was the first spark that would ignite an interest in fantasy fiction.
- The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster) – Here is my all time favorite children’s book. This is the first book I remember laughing out loud with.
The most significant books of my young adulthood:
- The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint Exupery) – The poetry and beauty of the writing in the this book blew me away.
- Cry, the Beloved Country (Alan Paton) – I have read this book more times than I can count and I learn more every time. This story affected me deeply and put words to an injustice in the world that I will spend my whole life trying to bring light to.
- Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe) – I think this may be the first book that ever changed me. It gave me a perspective no one else would tell me. I needed to hear it.
- Poems of West Africa (edited by Wole Soyinka) – Wole Soyinka deeply impacted my love of reading and writing. The poems in this book have been a constant source of solace in my life for a very long time.
- Hind’s Feet for High Places (Hannah Hurnard) – Of all the books I own, this is the book I have read most often. It is odd because allegory is not usually my “thing,” but I make an exception with this one. This would be the second book that changed me.
Favorite books from my actual adulthood:
- Americanah (Chimamanda Adichie) – I have a deep affection for African literature and am always looking for books by African, particularly Nigerian, authors. Chimamanda Adichie never disappoints. This book is my favorite of hers. Her vivid descriptions of adjusting to life in the United States are brilliant.
- The Eye of the World (Robert Jordan) – The Wheel of Time series took that spark that A Wrinkle in Time started and lit my love of fantasy fiction to full flame. I have read this series all the way through twice and will likely do so again.
- Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) – I love this book. It is the first book I read as an adult that I remember laughing out loud with.
- The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) – This book is everything that fantasy fiction should be and one of my all time favorite reads.
- Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson) – Just Mercy has become a yearly read of mine, which is highly unusual for me with non-fiction. The perspective and insight given is vital to understanding life in the United States and I recommend it to everyone.
Welcome to the broad strokes of my life,