I'll read anything that comes my way. Fiction, nonfiction, any genre, cereal boxes and toilet paper wrappers; makes me no never mind. I get panicky when there's no new book waiting, as if I were to open the cupboard and find it bare. Great teachers fostered my love of books and good writing, beginning, of course, with my mother. I thought it was punishment of the worst sort when she demanded I take Mrs. Doeppner's Latin class my first year of high school, but learning prefixes, roots, and suffixes has enhanced my understanding and appreciation of words and their origins. Is Latin still offered in school, I wonder? Mr. Savage taught freshman English. He drove a convertible, wore snappy clothes, and had an eye on the lovely young Spanish teacher. I can still see him standing in front of his big oak desk, reading The Telltale Heart (Edgar Allen Poe), his unseen hand behind him beginning the thump of the heart as the story went on, ending by pounding loudly at the end as the character went mad. He knew how to keep us enthralled. Professorial Mr. McGuigan with his bow ties and horn-rimmed glasses had second-year English and made George Eliot's Silas Marner come alive and gave an introduction to Shakespeare with Julius Caesar. Sister Marie Antoinette (junior and senior years) had her quirks. She was claustrophobic and had all classroom windows open wide, even in winter. In addition to being a wonderful English teacher, she was also an artist and decorated the blackboard (which was green) with beautiful drawings in pastels. Chaucer was one of her favorites and we struggled through Canterbury Tales. All plays presented at school were by Shakespeare. Having one of the few alto voices in an all-girl school, I got to play Petruchio (Taming of the Shrew) and other male leads; a great way to learn the cadence of The Bard's English.
I have a treasure trove of unread books awaiting. During summer heat, picking up a book puts me almost immediately to sleep. We're getting a break in temperature just now. I picked up Stephen King's new novel, Joyland, yesterday and finished it one sitting. It felt so good to have a book in my hands again.