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Essay: Why I Read by Bev Stephans

Last winter, I posted that I would love to hear from readers, writers, bloggers about why they read, write and blog. Bev Stephans was one of the first to come forth and share her story with our community about why she reads.



I don’t have a blog and I don’t write books, but I love to read and I love to talk about what I read.

I have been reading since I first learned how in school. My Dad used to take me to the library once a week and it was a magical place. All those books and I could only choose a few each time. In time, I had read all the books at my reading level and started on the next level.

Then we moved and we had a library nearby that I could walk to all by myself. What a treat. This wonderful library not only had more books than the previous library, but they had a marvelous doll’s house that I spent hours looking at.

Then we moved again and there was no library nearby. I was devastated and started stealing my mother’s paperbacks to read. Some were romances, but most were mysteries. My mother loved Perry Mason stories and I just never cared for them. She also liked the Agatha Christie mysteries which I loved. This started me on a life-long love of Ms. Christie (or Dame Agatha).

Our next two moves brought us to towns that had decent public libraries and I was in heaven again. The last town was finally where my parents settled and my sister still lives in their house.

As you can see, I have had a good grounding in the printed word that started a long journey to where I am today. I read because I can’t imagine a life without books. I can do without television and I could even do without my computer (gulp!), but I could never do without a book.


If you would like to contribute a guest essay on why you read, why you write or why you blog, please send an email to Jane at with “Essay” in the subject line.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Leeann Burke
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 07:44:41

    Great story. Bev, I bet the librarians knew you by name.

  2. Bev Stephans
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 07:57:12

    Thank you Leeann. Yes, they did know me by name.

  3. rebyj
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 09:17:49

    Great story!I got into my moms books at age 12 LOL.
    I was a library kid too, although we just got to go monthly the bookmobile stopped within walking distance so I used that more than the library as a kid. Are bookmobiles still around I wonder?

  4. Keishon
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 09:49:30

    I didn’t attend the library much as a kid not until much latter in life. Great story and I was inspired enough to submit my own. Take care.

  5. Bev Stephans
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 10:20:46

    @rebyj & keishon, thank you for your comments. They are greatly appreciated. I completely forgot about the bookmobile. In my essay, the town that didn’t have a library, had a bookmobile. It came once a week and parked at the end of our street. I don’t know whether or not bookmobiles are still in use.

  6. Terry Odell
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 10:46:59

    My parents say we moved when I was 12 because I’d finished the library. (An exaggeration; back in the day, kids weren’t allowed in the ‘adult’ section, so I only read the kids’ section.)

    I can’t imagine not reading, although now that I’m also a writer, it’s not the same. That pesky internal editor is hard to shut up.

    I also volunteer for the Adult Literacy League. Nobody should be denied the pleasure of reading – or the confidence one gets from being able to read enough to function in society. And the stories of those who finally can read to their kids — heartwarming.

  7. Bev Stephans
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 16:39:47

    Terry, I think that it’s marvelous that you volunteer for the Adult Literacy League. I can’t imagine not being able to read to my kids.

  8. SonomaLass
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 23:10:08

    Are bookmobiles still around I wonder?

    I think some rural areas still have them. Funny story, though: one year the Indiana state writing exam for high school included an essay about “the many great services that the library provides,” and bookmobiles were listed as an example. I was pretty confused by one essay, discussing the beautiful colored cut-outs hanging from the library ceiling — finally realized that the writer was talking about book MOBILES. Hehe.

    Thanks for bringing back that image of what a library means to a kid. I practically lived in ours in the summertime. When we spent our two weeks at Grandma’s every summer, I read her Nancy Drew collection over and over, until my aunt started giving me paper bags of her Harlequin Presents.

    I still use our public library when I can, saving my book budget for things not in the card catalog and things that require a spot on my shelf.

  9. Bev Stephans
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 01:57:44

    I’m going to giggle every time I think of ‘book mobiles’!

  10. Steve Hedge
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 11:12:26

    I’m not very tech-savvy, so I don’t know where or how to print my own essay on this topic of “Why I read” except for posting it here. I loved reading this essay by Bev and it made me recall why I read.

    I was a very slow learner in school. I was lucky that my mom was a reading specialist assistant and could assist me, her own son, but I had a serious problem in that I was dyslexic and it went undiagnosed for a very long time. There are many types of dyslexia. Many think it’s only reading mirror images of letters, words or numbers, but there are many other types and I have one of the rarer types, so I don’t hold a grudge against my own mom or teachers for not finding it and addressing it properly.

    My mom thought reading was a gift and that if I read a lot, I would just improve over time, and she was right. She MADE me read for a minimum of one hour per day and although it was a struggle, she had let me select my own books in the hopes that I would then not view reading as a punishment and that idea worked. I ended up reading more than an hour per day. In fact, I often read for hours. I was also a sickly boy growing up and I couldn’t play a lot with other kids due to my illness, so my books became my friends.

    I loved reading as it took me out of my lonely, sick life as a child and transported me to ANY place I wanted to go via the words on a page. It allowed my imagination to run wild. I started off with The Hardy Boys Mysteries and Nancy Drew books, but quickly moved onto the works of Arthur Herzog, Stephen King, and Dean R. Koontz as I loved science related books, mysteries, thrillers and horror stories. Later, I branched out into the classic authors and discovered how much I loved books on family dramas and psychology. I began to read a very wide range of books, even the ancient ones like Homer’s Odyssey.

    My love of reading developed into a love of writing. Writing was a larger obstacle to overcome than reading considering my dyslexia, but my teachers loved my imaginative and sensitive style of writing and always encouraged me to write and not worry about grammar, mechanics and such as that could be worked out in the editing process. I still struggle with this today and some may see some really silly errors in my writing when I post online.

    Thanks to my mom’s guidance and her own love of reading, and the many encouraging teachers I had, I went on to become a teacher, speed reader, and writer. I’ve been teaching English for the last 18 years, I can complete an average length book in one sitting, and I’m completing my first novel for which I already have a publisher. All of this is due to being introduced to books at an early age.

    Reading is to the mind what light is to the eye as it allows you to see and feel the world. I love to read and to encourage others to read. Nothing compares to the written word. Nothing.

  11. Stevia
    Dec 12, 2010 @ 23:48:31

    there are many famous persons with dyslexia and it is not a debilitating disease. Tom Cruise is known to be dyslexic .~’

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