A Reading Memories, The One-In-A-Million Boy, & the “Buzz”

August 25, 2017

Today’s format is a bit different as Reading Ladies gives a “shout out” to two women who cultivated my love of reading, revisits a favorite from last year, and notes two books that are receiving some buzz.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

How Did You Grow to Love Reading?

a diagram of a growing flower (flower, leaves, stem, soil, roots, air, sun)


Similar to many of you, my love for reading began when I was very young, Mom read to me, modeled reading, and took me to the library, and Dad read also.  I remember reading everything including cereal boxes during breakfast. The first book I remember loving was an illustrated book of children’s poetry. Learning to read independently, I was enchanted by a beautifully illustrated simple poem about a gate (a wide country gate that swung across a rural driveway….there must have been a house at the end of that driveway but I don’t remember it being in the illustration). I read that poem over and over and over and imagined myself sitting on that country gate, and I made up stories about an imaginary life around that gate.

Mom and me (age 2 0r 3) reclining on the couch reading a picture book. I'm holding a doll. Black and white photo.

Today at 90, my mom remains an avid reader and we share many titles back and forth. She got me hooked on Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, and I got her hooked on Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series.

Aunt Myla

The next memorable event in my reading history is the day my family sold everything on our farm in South Dakota and set out for new adventures in California.

My little sister (age 5?) and I (age 9 or 10) standing beside an old model (new at the time!) Chrysler (?) that is parked by the side of a highway in the desert and is pulling a trailer filled with our worldly posessions. We are on our way to California from the Midwest.

Penny Nichols and the Black Imp by JoanClark (cover)As we climbed into our car for the journey, my Aunt Myla presented me with the gift of a book, Penny Nicholas and the Black Imp. Because that book is connected to the emotion of that day of leaving the farm, friends, and family, I’ve always recalled that title and my aunt’s memorable gift. Aunt Myla is also a reader and knew just what would please and occupy me on the long drive. I reread the book multiple times and kept that book for years and years, into my adult life and though many moves.

Aunt Myla is a lifelong and avid reader. Last year, we see her pictured here reading by candlelight when the farm lost power and heat for days due to a severe midwest blizzard.

My Aunt Myla reading at her kitchen by candlelight during a power outage

Childhood Favorites

My childhood favorites are probably the same as many of yours and include The Bobbsey Twins, The Triplets Take Over, Little Women, Heidi, and of course, Nancy Drew (I kept the entire set for years and years into my adult life). What were your childhood favorites?

a picture of my old (antique) copy of The Bobbsey Twins at School by Laura Lee Hope

This is my copy of The Bobbsey Twins at School which has miraculously survived multiple moves! Copyright: 1913! (it was old when I received it! Lol!) Its original cost is listed as 40 cents.

As an older teen Gone With the Wind captivated me. Young adulthood brought titles such as Michener’s Hawaii into my life.

Books Have Been My Best Friends

I owe my lifelong love of reading to my mom and aunt. Who are your reading mentors?

I love reading for many reasons but most importantly it builds empathy for others and allows me to see the world and other cultures from different perspectives (embracing diversity). In addition, I love that reading bridges generation gaps (in fact, age is not a deterrent among readers). Multiple ages reading the same selection adds to the depth and richness of the discussion and discoveries! One of my favorite reads this year was a Young Adult selection, and I’m far from that demographic! Why do you love reading?

A Quick Review of a Favorite From Last Year:

The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood

The One-In-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood (cover)

Genre/category: fiction, family

My Summary:

A unique 11-year-old boy is sent to help 104-year-old Ona every Saturday morning as part of a community service project. As he refills the bird feeders and helps with other odd jobs, he and Ona share cookies and milk and Ona tells him about her long life. He records her responses as part of a school interview project.

One Saturday, the boy doesn’t show up. Ona starts to think he’s not so special after all, but then his father arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son’s good deed.
Amazon Rating (August): 4.6 Stars

My Thoughts:

This is a character-driven, unique, sad, memorable, quirky, heartwarming, and amusing story with important themes such as the unlikely friendship between generations, loneliness, grief, and second chances. It earned a spot as one of my favorites of 2016, and I’m urging you not to miss this memorable story! My rating: 4 Stars

The One-In-a Million Boy by Monica Wood (cover)

One-In-A-Million Boy Information Here

Meet the Author, Monica Wood

Author, Monica Wood

I was born in Mexico, Maine, to a family of devout Irish Catholics, a family of paper mill workers. My father and my mother’s parents came from Prince Edward Island in Canada, and brought with them the island tradition of storytelling. Although my sisters and I were the first generation in the family to go to college, I think of my background as a literary one. My father had a lilting island brogue and beautiful grammar; the notion that stories had to be told in a certain way was something I learned early. My grandfather used to sing long, melodramatic, novelistic ballads, another island tradition. I am not one of those writers who claim to have been weaned on  Proust, but I did read a lot, a happy habit for a child, I think, no matter what the material.  http://www.monicawood.com/

The Buzz

I have NOT read the following two books (***see update) and I hesitate to bring them to your attention except to mention that I’ve heard a lot of buzz about them both in case you’re looking for a new release to read. These are definitely on my radar for the future.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give Information Here
***Update: My Review Here

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

Castle of Water Information Here
***Update: My Review Here


Please share your reading story. Who inspired you to read? What were your early favorites or childhood memories of reading? Do you have any really old books or special collections? Have you read One-in-a-Million Boy? What are you currently reading?

Happy Reading Everyone!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Looking Forward:

Next week, I’ll review Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate if you’d like to “buddy read.” In two weeks, I’ll review Glass Houses, a new installment in the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny (release date 8/29).

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (cover)

Information Here
***Update: My Review Here

Glass Houses

Information Here
***Update: My Review Here

Let’s Get Social!

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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com


  1. I just loved everything about this post and it made my heart ‘n mind start buzzing with delightful ‘n happy memories of reading and readers I have known and loved—in the past and present! <3 Fond memories seeing my mom who is long deceased always with a book in her hands—also just laying around with my twin as young little girls–with books in our hands! Love having a Godly man who always has a book in his hands. Marvelous memories of reading to my own children, and them both growing up, still big time readers, reading to their own children who now always have a book in their hands–and not just electronic readers, either! What goes around comes around, and "ain't" it grand! Amazed at God's grace putting me in groups of hundreds of authors and readers in my life who encouraged me to put my own pen and heart to writing and opened that entire wonderful world to me. In the beginning was the WORD—yep. Very, very good!

    • Thanks for your heartfelt response Patti! I’m happy to know that reading is connected with so many happy memories for you! Thank you for taking a few moments to share!

  2. Thank you Carol for sharing this beautiful picturesque writing about your childhood! I’m captivated by the precious photo of you reading with your mom. I love it!! After reading your blog I’m fully inspired to read more and create more! Thank you for inviting us in!! 🌸💕

  3. How wonderful! My mother was a really fast reader (just falling short of being a speed reader), and she used to devour all those horrible Harlequin romance books! Because of my dyslexia, she made it her mission to make me love reading (which wasn’t too hard, to be honest), and keep me from getting discouraged because of how slow I read. Thanks, Mom!

    • Yay for moms! A young mom in our family just took her one year old to the dr for a 1 year check up and the dr told her…you must start reading 10 books every day with her! Wow! Yay doctors! Now this little 13 mo cherub hops up the couch with her board book and “reads” her book aloud (Jabbering) while carefully turning and looking at each page! Literacy starts young! Thanks for sharing Davida!

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