Thank You Danielle Steel
I have been a reader and book lover for as long as I could remember.
As a teenager, I found an old copy of Kaleidoscope by Danielle Steel. I read it cover to cover in one day. I loved it beyond reason. The tale of three sisters’ intertwined lives of faith, hope, and despair moved me truly and deeply. It wasn’t just the story or the characters, it was the whole experience. I could sit somewhere and read the entire book and for that three hours or so, life around me didn’t exist. It didn’t matter if I was hungry or my leg was falling asleep; it was the ability to get incredibly wrapped up in another world of drama, suspense, and emotion. I was hooked after that book. I made it my mission to read every single book Danielle Steel ever wrote. I figured if they were all as good as Kaleidoscope, I’d be able to melt away my troubles a few hours a day with ease.
I borrowed them from the library; I picked them up at second hand bookshops, bought boatloads of them at bookstores wherever I was. I read them all. I even read the new ones as she published them. I was pretty proud of myself for devouring her writing as fast as I did and impressed with how I kept up with the new stuff, my college studies, and all the other books that came and went through my life at that time. I was (am) a true book nerd to the core.
When I studied abroad in London during college, my bestie flat mate and me were a match made in heaven as the two of us spent more time in our little room reading and getting more books than we did partying in the coolest city in the world. I was the Danielle Steel champion and she was the Nora Roberts fanatic. We would go to battle (I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this) over who we thought was better. We’d read our favorite passages of our books to each other. We’d both read the same book more often times than not and talk about it for ages. My favorite past time was when one of us had already read a book and while the other was reading it and would guffaw or gasp, the other would make us stop to tell where we were and we’d “oh my God” about it for hours!
In London, I discovered so many more women authors I adored like Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Maryam Keyes, Meg Cabot and the list goes on… I got back home and kept reading everything from my new favorites I could find plus my Danielle Steel of course.
However as her books kept coming out and she was getting older her books started chronicling folks in a different phase of life than me. The new ones that were coming were not very relatable to me and I lost a bit of interest. Nonetheless, I was reading. It was a huge part of my life. That time I spent completely wrapped up into a book, any book, gave me so much freedom. It didn’t matter if I was struggling in my life in any way shape or form. I was free from it while I entered the life of a character in a book.
Even after I got married, I was still in love with my books. When I moved in with my husband, I brought more books than anything else. I couldn’t bear to part with any of them. They were my lifeline, my escape, and my other world. I could pick up any of them at any given time and read the first paragraph and the entire story would come flooding back to me. I’d remember where I read it and my favorite part. So even though I could never reread due to my superb memory, I never wanted to let go of my books. They were an exclusive part of my history as a person and I wanted them all to myself.
Then I had kids.
My book reading once I became a mom became a bit scarce. You know the drill, you have kids and then suddenly you’re 100% focused on them and some of your favorite hobbies go by the wayside. I would read on work trips, cars, airplanes, whenever I could really but it was never like it was before. When I did have time, I started reading different novels and new genres. Ken Follett became a new favorite of mine and Tom Wolfe. I got addicted to James Patterson and the Janet Evanovich books. I was also reading some nonfiction and more historical war novels. Reading was still a passion and it still gave me that escape but I was no longer able to sit and read for 3 hours at a time.
But I still had my books. All of my books. Each year, we’d go through our stuff and my husband would beg me to let go of my books. He would always ask, are you going to read them again? If not, get rid of them! But I couldn’t do it. Finally, I went through all my bins just recently and decided to part with many of them. I realized I don’t need to hold on to the actual book to remember all the wonderful stories I read throughout the years. And if I did want to remember them, I could borrow them from the library. It was time to let the books live somewhere else so others could love them. It was time.
That same week I was visiting my grandmother. Over the years we have been book buddies. I’d read something and share it with her and vice versa. She was talking about a Jodi Picoult book she had just read that she said I needed to get. I told her how I was going through all my books for the tag sale coming up and was reminiscing with all my Danielle Steel books. She told me her favorite was Thurston House. That night I went back in my basement of book bins and searched out Thurston House. I read the first paragraph but the story didn’t come flooding back to me as it usually did. I brought it upstairs and read the entire thing that weekend. And I loved every second of it.
I went back to the basement and found others of hers I knew I had loved and wanted to try out re reading. Zoya, Palomino, Jewels, The Ring, Mirror Image, Granny Dan, and a few others. It was hard because I have two children, a full time job, and a house to keep up with but I made an effort to put in reading time every day. Suddenly, getting rid of all my books made even more sense to me. I had loved these books and I may love them again but some people out there could love them too. I need to let them loose – but first, I’m rereading them!
The Danielle Steel books I’ve started rereading has invigorated my life again. I remember now how her books turned my love of reading from a just a hobby to a true passion. Reading books is a must do for me. The stress relief and joy books bring me is not something I can get from anything else I do on my own. I must make time for reading whether it is my fluffy chick lit books or my thought provoking Ken Follett historical trilogies. Reading makes me a better person and a better mom. I need to read. I need it for my sanity and I need it for me.
So thank you Danielle Steel for your books and for reminding me how much I need reading. Thank you for providing me with endless entertainment and stress relief. Thank you for showing me a world of different characters that I can relate to, sympathize with and love. Thank you for the wonderful stories about life and love and loss. Thank you for your books.
Now I need to go find the 20 or so books out of her 98 that I haven’t read yet!