My mom always read to me when I was young. And because of this, I can hardly remember a time when I didn't know how to read.
Reading was a little vacation - a way to head off into some wonderful other place, where I could do anything the characters in my books were doing.
Therefore to pick a favorite book? This is hard.
So I think I'll "cheat" a little and pick a series of books.
Anyone care to guess what that series is? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Well, just about any girl who was an avid equestrian was also an avid fan of "The Black Stallion" series by Walter Farley. (I also liked "The Island Stallion" series, but in this post I'll focus on the stories about Alec and "The Black.")
I must've had all the books in the series. But what started it off is when my mom got me my first books in "The Black Stallion" series for Christmas one year . . . okay, it was "Santa" and "he" had left them in my stocking. It was a boxed set of four, including "The Black Stallion," "The Black Stallion Returns," and two other ones from the same series (not including any from "The Island Stallion" series).
I started reading the first one, "The Black Stallion," and I was hooked. I loved all the adventures that Alec and "The Black" experienced. I loved how "The Black" acted - a spirited, spunky horse with a lot of character. I remember imagining this huge black horse with a flowing mane and tail. Looking back on it, the image I had of "The Black" was really not that of an actual Arabian horse, with dished face, dainty ears, high-carried tail.
Rather, I think I imagined him to look more like a Friesian horse - much bigger, more massive, ready to pull a carriage or perform dressage, instead of running like the wind and winning races like Alec and "The Black" did in the books.
Anyway, it was fun getting lost in those books. I'm sure I read a number of them more than once. And I specifically remember reading "The Black Stallion's Ghost" and "The Black Stallion Mystery" at least two times each! And while I was creeped out by "The Black Stallion's Ghost," I was also thrilled at the same time. There was just something about that book that fascinated me. Creepy, yes. But fascinating, too! Somehow the supernatural aspect of the book made it not only spooky to me when I first read it, but hard to put down.
And since I don't have any photos of these books, or of myself while reading them, I'll add a photo of Black Lightning (stall #35) from Culver. No, he's not a black stallion, but he IS a black appaloosa (all black except for his white facial markings, and a couple hard to see white spots on his rump and his belly). I rode him sometimes for equitation class at Culver (Culver Academies in Culver, IN), especially in the summertime during Sarge's class. Or sometimes I'd ride him for Varsity Jumping. He was kind of a nut, but I loved riding him!