I come by my love of reading naturally.
Mom read books constantly. She hardly ever went to the library, but she was a voracious reader.
Whenever we'd go to the grocery store as kids, Mom would take the time to peruse the paperback books located by the 33 RPM records and women's magazines. More times than not, she'd pick out a book with a specific cover.
We always called them her "Light in the Tower Window Books" because, inevitably, the light was on in the tower window. Below, and always outside the castle, were damsels in some form of distress. The distress could be because a bare-chested man was featured in some sort of pose, and often times it was entangled with the damsel.
She always had flowing locks, curled and blowing in the unseen breeze. He had longer hair that she could sink her hands into as she caressed his head. She wore gowns with low-cut bodices and always had an expression of either fear or intense infatuation, gazing deep into his dark eyes.
The story followed the same formula time after time, always with a few twists and turns that couldn't be predicted. They involved mystery, romance, wealth, poverty, and lust. Always lust.
Such were Gothic Romances.
Mom, I believe, lived vicariously through each one. She was taken from the drudgery of daily chores to a world where men were men and women were women, and they didn't hesitate to show it. Gone were the dishes to do, the floors to mop, the laundry, the cooking, the yard work, and the gardening. Instead, she could picture herself far away from it all, being romanced by a young stallion of old, torn from a life of poverty to live a life of abundant wealth and social position.
I can see her now, sitting on the couch with her cup of coffee, devouring each one.
Her addiction to the genre had us, as children, acting as her dealer at times. She would notice, all of a sudden, that we were out of oranges. That would necessitate a trip to the grocery store immediately, because really, who can LIVE without oranges? She would hand one of us the cash, drop us off at the door of the grocery, and then offhandedly say, "Oh...pick me up a book while you're in there."
We always seemed to run out of oranges at the same time she ran out of reading material. Strange.
I thought of her today as I was perusing the free books offered for Kindle on Amazon. The cover of one of them was exactly what she would have looked to find. I'm sure it was a true bodice-ripper.
I miss her still, and always will.
But I will always remember the Light in the Tower Window.