When I was six or seven years old, I chose for the first time a book I wanted to read. Only it wasn’t really a book, it was a cheap thin Black Corsair comic book that proved decisive to make me the avid reader I am.
My family had come to buy groceries at the supermarket, and they had the book and magazine shelves at the entrance. I would always take something to browse while my parents chose whatever we were there to buy. That day I was drawn to a yellow cover with a man with a black hat, high boots and a very cool outfit a little too defiant in the middle of a rainy night.
I had discovered something different; it was gripping for a girl my age. One of the pictures shown a gallows with silhouettes of hang men while they guy with the boots tried to sneak out or in (I don’t remember). I was trying to conceal it from my parents, should they take my book away if they find out I was reading grown up stuff.
But at the end, when we were at the checkout my father bought me the comic, and I read it and read it until I had to tape the covers and the corners of the pages were had worn off all the ink.
Then my clever dad bought me the real Black Corsair book, which I read cover to cover despite it had not one picture in it. And seeing the success he kept Emilio Salgari’s books coming my way, first the next in the black corsair books and then Sandokan’s. When I was growing up, I dreamed of being a pirate queen, not a princess (which get me in a little trouble but that’s another story).
And after I have read all of them he started bringing the works of Dumas, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edmond Rostand and the lot of classic children writers. I didn’t read them all, but I read a lot by the time kids struggle with The Little Prince or whatever school chooses as reading material.
By the way, I’ve never read what school left me to read I felt it outrageous that they made people read books they didn’t want to read. It didn’t affect me much because most of the times I’d have already read it, and other times, I just made up whatever I thought would save my neck” (it was before Wikipedia): “Platero was about a donkey and a kid, they were good friends and liked each other. I didn’t have great grades that time, but didn’t affect me much either.
However, reading had developed into a problem, but I would talk about that in other post.
Images: Both are Public Domain, taken from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Corsaro_Nero_ed_1904_Salgari.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Emilio_Salgari_ritratto.jpg
If you like Salgari's work, you may like the story about his odd death: http://www.bubblews.com/news/1765627-weird-suicide-letters-and-last-words-emilio-salgari