When I learned to read, I discovered a new world — thousands of new worlds. I read everything I could get my hands on, from milk-cartons through fairy tales to historical novels. My heart leapt at the smell of the dusty pages, or at the sight of the newest comic books in our shopping mall. One of my brothers saved his pocket money (10 Pfennig a week) until he had enough to buy a bicycle, the other one spent his on sweets — my wealth was my ever growing library. To this day, I’ve got nearly two thousand books on long shelves in my attic.
What is it that makes books irresistible to me? Of course, it’s well rounded characters, and the discovery of unknown worlds. I love themes that were as true today as when humans were splitting stones to use as tools. Stories that made reality pale in comparison. Also, reading was a chance to hide away in a noisy household where help from the kids was obligatory.
But most of all, I believe, my fascination stemmed from the amazing things I read that broadened my horizons and fueled my imagination. When I put down my book at the end of a day and closed my eyes to sleep, my imagination took me to a land of wonders. A land where I was Rainbow Girl, called upon by Mother Nature to save the world from polluters. A land where I was a princess posing as a beggar to save my family. A land where I rode dragons and talked to the wind.
It was freedom.
A freedom I still feel today when I open a new book and start reading. And I do hope that the books I write will do the same for anyone who opens them.