Day Six of 365 Days of Silver ~~ I Am Grateful for Books

“Seeing someone reading a book you love is seeing a book recommending a person.”
~~ Unknown

I’ve been a reader all my life. I took to Dick and Jane like a duck to water, and then got bored in seconds. Soon I was reading Green Eggs and Ham and a host of I Can Read Books.

In grade school we used to get these catalogs in school called something like Scholastics. You could order books and I did so. Legions of books (thank you Mom!). Around that same time I discovered Charlotte’s Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and that just let to more books. I loved to read!

In junior high school I was forced to read a few books—like The Contender by Robert Lipstyle and The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton—that I wound up loving and that led me to new books and writers. Soon after that I found the Star Trek books by James Blish and they led me to many other wonderful writers, like David Gerrold (The Man Who Folded Himself is still my favorite time travel book ever), Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Block, and many more. Reading took me to other places and other worlds. I might be trapped in a class room or my own bedroom at home, but reading could take me anywhere and any time. Oh, how I loved to read.

It was through reading that I came to discover my sexuality—when I stumbled on the Gordon Merrick books or Patricia Neal Warren’s The Front Runner. How could anyone not want to make discoveries?

Once I was sitting in the break room, reading, and this lady came up to me and said, “I didn’t know you were going to school.”

“I’m not,” I replied.

“Then why are you reading?”

I didn’t even know what to say. How do you respond to that? “Because I love to read,” I finally answerd.

“Well!” she stated. “I’m proud to say I haven’t read a book since I was in high school!”

And again, what could I say to that?

There are so many books I’m forgetting. Books that have taught me, shaped me, changed me, made me a better man, made me more spiritual…. I feel sorry for that lady and for so many people that don’t read. To me, they are one of life’s greatest blessings connecting us to so of the oldest and greatest epics of all, and taking us into a future we can’t imagine!

And even better? Now I’m writing stories myself! And who knows what those words are doing for other lives?

B.G. Thomas

PS: What’s some of your favorite books?


22 thoughts on “Day Six of 365 Days of Silver ~~ I Am Grateful for Books

  1. I love “The Daughter of Time” by Josephine Tey. It’s a wonderful blend of mystery and history and just draws me right in. I don’t often re-read books, but this is one I enjoy enough to do so.

    “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It’s a Victorian novella about a woman who may be going insane, but it’s also about how little standing women had during that time.

    “The Secret Sharer” by Joseph Conrad. He uses words is magical ways. I remember reading in dispair that even though English is not his first language he uses it far better than I ever could.

    Last is a book that had a huge influence on me as a writer, even though I read it long before I started writing seriously. “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” by Solzhenitsyn. I read it for an English class in high school, but it was the first book that made me feel what the protagonist was feeling, down to freezing fingers and toes. I’d always looked at the story a book was telling and now HOW the story was told.


  2. Children’s classics: “Alice in Wonderland”, “The Wizard of Oz”, “James and the Giant Peach”, “The Jungle Book”
    Stephen King: “The Shining”, “Misery”, “Carrie”, “It”
    Saw the movie first then read the book: “Metropolis”, “A Clockwork Orange”, “Sideways”


  3. My favorite books…hmmm…
    Well, when I was a kid I loved anything by Enid Blyton. The Pucki series by Magda Trott, all the Asterix comics. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Little Prince, Little Women. Then, as a young adult, The Mists Of Avalon, Anne Frank’s Diary, Forever by Judy Blume, Momo by Michael Ende, The Princess Bride, Schindler’s List. More recently, Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga. The latter is partly responsibly for my finding M/M romance. Some that stayed with me for a long time were Omorphi by C. Kennedy, Nor Iron Bars A Cage by Kaje Harper, and a little book called Summer Lover by someone named B.G. Thomas (lol). The last book I read and couldn’t put down was Then The Stars Fall by Brandon Witt.

    I guess over time, my favorites have evolved, but there certain books I can’t forget. Like Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. Made my cry ugly tears, and to this day remains the only book I’ve ever thrown across the room. Or Into This River I Drown by Tj Klune.

    Reading keeps me sane. My skin itches when I can’t read for a while, and with the invention of e-readers and e-books, I thankfully can read whenever and wherever I want. Books have shaped me, my mind and the way I look at things and people. I hope to inspire my children to become voracious readers too.

    Thanks for this post, Ben. ❤


  4. Heh. I told Ben on FB that he’d set me an impossible task. A few of my favorite books? Um, how many hours and pages do you have? Books got me though an awkward childhood, a shy adolescence, and pretty much the rest of my life too. Both reading and writing them. The thought that someone is PROUD not to be reading boggles the mind (and is a really sad reflection of the value parts of our society place on information, on seeing through another’s eyes, on learning and the joy of words…) But that’s a whole different soapbox.

    My favorite books… in kindergarten I devoured the classics – A Secret Garden, Heidi, Little House on the Paririe – I read them over and over (ant the teachers just let me be :); Later it was fantasy – Lord of the Rings – man, I think I reread that every summer for at least ten years. The Door Into Fire – the first book that made being bisexual seem natural, and lovely. The Persian Boy started me on a lifetime writing M/M with HAPPY endings and The Front Runner cemented that a few years later.

    Now I read everything but recent favorite rereads include anything by Lois McMaster Bujold (her characters have a deep integrity under very human flaws), Patricia Briggs (fun), Tanya Huff (<3 Tony), Amy Lane because it hurts so good, KJ Charles for perfect snark, The Dresden Files – love the MC voice for Harry; S.J. Rozan's mysteries; Michael Nava; Tamara Allen; Marshall Thornton…

    Dammit, BG, see what I mean?????


  5. The first books I remember reading were The Bobbsey Twins series. Then the Wizard of Oz. Once I read Anya Seton’s ‘Green Darkness’, I was pretty much hooked to romance until the Harry Potter books. Talk about taking a journey to another place!!


    • Thanks so much for commenting on this! And that’s a lot of romance? Ever read “A Knight in Shining Armor” by Jude Deveraux? I loved that book!


  6. We are about the same age and I feel about reading the same way that you have expressed. I have read so many thousands of books that I can’t really pinpoint what my faves have been. I read my way through the children’s section of our small town library by third grade. I sailed into the adult section in fourth grade and my mom placed no restraints on what I read. We ordered those books at school, too, and I read some great ones. I have loved almost everything I’ve put my hands on, spirited away into other places and times. I have a library book by Preston and Child calling to me today. Their latest in a series with Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast as the MC. I’m also part way through a Jane Roberts “Seth” book. I read them all in the 80s and have decided to revisit them this year. I just hope there are books in the afterlife because I’ll never manage to read everything I’d like to in the here and now.

    Oh, here is a funny little story from my childhood. There was an Elvis movie playing at the local theatre and my parents were going to see it and wanted to take me too. I liked Elvis movies. I was eleven. However, I opted to stay home and finish reading “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers, by myself, instead. I remember lying on my parents bed reading it while they were at the show. 🙂 I should probably go back and read that and see whether I can see it through my eleven year old eyes.


  7. There’s no way I could choose a favourite but there are some authors who inspired me when I was a child and still do as an adult. Authors into whose works I just fell and never wanted to come out.
    Rosemary Sutcliff, who wrote the first positive depiction of a gay couple I ever read, Mary Renault, Kenneth Graham, Zane Gray, Robert Heinlein, C S Forester, Dorothy Dunnett, Georgette Heyer, Patrick o’Brien, Lois McMasters Bujold and many others. All of them have written books I adored reading and would have been delighted to emulate if I had the talent. Fantastic.


  8. From BG’s list I’ve read World According to Garp. That book was so fascinating I read it twice back to back. It just had me riveted. I also read Stranger in a Strange Land, and Childhood’s End.

    Favorite books change by decade and genre. As a kid I remember reading Charlotte’s Web, Wizard of Oz (to about book 3). I also read Swiss Family Robinson over and over and over again. I was also VERY fond of the Odyssey. I still love it. I also read the Walter Farley horse stories. The Black Stallion and all the rest.

    In my teens mom handed me some science fiction, and that cemented my reading for the next 20 years. Heinlein, Asimov (yeah I’m old…) John Varley, Larry Niven, David Brin… Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers and the short story collection Neutron Star all by Larry Niven were my favorites there. Some of my first GLBT reading was in science fiction with the Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series. She had lesbian couples, gay couples, and a trans* story, Heritage of Hastur.

    Fantasy! Tolkien. Hands down Tolkien. I found a tattered copy of Fellowship of the Ring at a used book store and wore it out further along with the other two volumes. I actually avoided fantasy for years since nothing was as good as Tolkien.

    Classics! It’s no surprise with all these books that I studied Literature in college. I had read many of the books already but found new authors. I love Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and Mark Twain.

    Mysteries! Again as a young’un I read all, and I mean ALL of Agatha Christie’s books. Every one except Curtain. (Poirot’s last case). Some other favorite authors are Arthur W. Upfield, Ellis Peters, Elizabeth Peters, Barbara Michaels, and many more.

    Urban Fantasy became a genre so there was a brief obsession with Laurel K. Hamilton’s books. From there I moved on to Dead Until Dark and other Sookie series (NOT that horrible show). Dresden is a favorite too. Love me some Harry Dresden.

    When I bought my first e-reader I found romance genre for the first time (those covers used to embarrass me so I never picked them up). I found Goodreads and some nice groups, too. I pretty much tore through many of the romance classics. I love historicals over all the rest in het romance. Favorites are Flowers From the Storm, Lord of Scoundrels, and Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie.

    Some of my Goodreads friends were reading m/m, so I read a few. (We’re up to 2010 now… 45 years later). One of my first was The Handyman which was a coming out story. I found m/m mystery and Josh Lanyon. Then read many many favorites. My favorite book from last year,which I’ve already read twice, was BG’s Spring Affair, one of the best coming out stories I’ve read in a very long time. Max’s coming out was so beautifully done. If you haven’t read it, you really, really should! Makes me want to pick it up again.


  9. I think you and I must be around the same age. I remember buying Gordon Merrick books on the sly. And Patricia Nell Warren, too — love The Fancy Dancer, too. But my first book in that genre was James Kirkwood’s P.S. Your Cat is Dead. Did you read Kirkwood? His Good Times, Bad Times was another favorite.


      • Do it. Start with P.S. He hooked me with his first sentence: Did things ever get so outlandishly rock-bottom rotten that you went around muttering, not necessarily out loud, but muttering nonetheless: I don’t believe it!


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