I am not sure when I began to love reading, but I can certainly remember who inspired me. My mother is probably the best example of someone who loves reading. When I was little I remember being read to, being encouraged to read and explore books and watching her read for pleasure. Books were always a very important part of our household. I always had books in my room as far back as I can remember and books were gratefully and joyfully received at Christmas and birthday-time. No book was ever off limits, and my mother had a great collection of good-quality coffee-table books that I would pour over, enjoying the rich and colorful images and imagining far-off places. We had a wall of bookshelves in our hallway, chock-full of books of different genres...my brother and I were encouraged to read them all. From Agatha Christie mysteries to reference books, everything was fair game. We would often spend a lazy afternoon at the library and were encouraged to take out as many books as we could carry...trips to a bookstore were rare, but when we went we could always convince our mom to buy us something. Books were never seen as a frivolity...they were as necessary as food and were seen as sustenance for the brain. My mother still believes this, if her bookshelves at home are any indication. When she moved houses about 20 years ago, she got rid of most of the books she had amassed. She has been in her current home since then, and not only has more bookshelves, they are also totally full. To say that she loves reading would be an understatement! I am no better, but as I am a teacher, I "hide" my books in my classroom and office. I suspect that, if I were to gather all of my books together, I would have a collection rivaling hers.