Of Mysteries and Bodice Rippers

Today I am re-reading “A Tangled Web,” the sequel to the more-famous “Deceptions” by Judith Michaels (if you haven’t read it you may remember the t.v. adaptation which starred Stefanie Powers).  Since I am thinking so much about Mima today, I remembered that my copy of “Deceptions” was originally hers, as are many of my books, and I started remembering her literary influence.
My mother had several original Nancy Drew books from her childhood which Mima gave to me to read at an early age.  Many weeks she would buy another book in the series at Kmart for me, and it would be waiting there for me when I came to spend Friday night with her (an unbreakable ritual from babyhood until I was a teenager).   Mima had a collection of Readers’ Digests on the dusty bookshelves in her den.  I never saw anyone but me touch anything on those shelves, but I read all the “Drama in Real Life” and “Laughter, the Best Medicine,” that I could find!  I also devoured the Readers’ Digest condensed books–finding many novels that I have now read in their original form that remain favorites, like “A Nun’s Story,” and “The Man,” and “Time and Again.”  And her Redbooks and Ladies Home Journals kept me busy for hours!
One treasure I appropriated was an enormous copy of “Gone with the Wind,” complete with full page color pictures from the movie.  I first picked it up as a third grader and have read it countless times since, although I wish someone had had the sense to keep that particular copy away from me because I literally read it to shreds. 
Mima used to trade books with her friends, but when I got hold of them, if I liked them, she never got them back to return.  That was how I got my copy of “Karen” by Marie Killilea, one of my favorite books of all time.  When her friends started reading romance novels, she did too.  I was about thirteen then, and looking back, someone should have protected me from those racy novels which were too mature for me.  But I loved and still have “Tears of Gold” and “The Raging Winds of Heaven” and others, even though my passion for romance novels cooled years ago.
One sad result of Mima’s first stroke is that she lost the ability to read.  Words,  yes, but not a novel.  I hated that for her.

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  1. Pingback: Books Worth Reading « Life in Every Limb

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