Why I Read

I suppose I would have been called  "bookworm" when I was younger and I'm sure I was called that and worse during a few rough years in elementary school. The term bookworm, used to describe someone who reads a lot, was derived from the characteristics of a wood-boring beetle whose larvae chew through paper and glue. Literally devouring books. Yeah...I get that.

So I like to characterize myself as a ferocious reader and I hope the Black Badger Book Club inspires you to make literature part of your life.

Marlee and Lori

This is my self-appointed "cousin" Lori around 1973 reading our Nancy Drew mystery books while on vacation in the Laguna Mountains. Close friends since the first grade, we would sit and read together at some point during every sleepover. In our 50s now, we don't have many sleepovers but still recommend a good mystery every chance we get.

I could not learn to read fast enough. My parents read to my younger brother and me constantly and often times from books beyond our comprehension. But the cadence of their voices and the love they demonstrated for the written word (sometimes my dad would re-read a sentence or phrase to revel in its turn-of-phrase) I read everything from the backs of cereal boxes, newspapers comics and weather pages, displays in stores to the Time Magazines in my parents' bedroom. (Thank God my Dad didn't subscribe to Playboy or at least I never found one in the house.) If allowed, I would read something though every meal.

The greatest gift I ever received in regards to my obsession with books was a summer I stayed at my grandmother Lily's house a couple days a week. She had purchased the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading book and I think we watched an access channel selling the course. My grandmother became frustrated with her progress but I absorbed every. single. technique. I am a very zippy reader to this day. This skill is a Godsend when you can't stop reading a great book or want to read a series or read 3 books at the same time. (Honestly my favorite way to read.) Evelyn did let me down when I applied her discipline to studying academic tomes during college.

I learn something new every time I read. And this applies to anything I read: Wikipedia, newspapers, magazines, novels, non-fiction, tweets, backs of my prescriptions, Instagram's. Sometimes what I read is crap. Sometimes I read things that are horrific in its ignorance or intolerance. And sometimes I am so moved by the beauty of a thought or insight that I am motivated to be a better person.

I hope this blog does more of the latter than the former. But either way: Just read. Feel offended, bored, moved, motivated, angry, dismissive, happy or crushed. That's the power of the written word my fellow ferocious reader: So dive in and begin. Chapter One…


Marlee J Ehrenfeld

Founder, Black Badger Book Club Blog

Influential Books Growing Up

Enjoy reading my favorite books from childhood (in no chronological order, of course).


A Child’s Garden of Verses

  • The Color Kittens
  • Horton Hears a Who
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • The Bobbsey Twins
  • Nancy Drew
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Magic Elizabeth
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • The Walkabout
  • A Child’s Garden of Verses
  • Somewhere in Time
  • Stuart Little
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Comic Books: Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Tales from the Crypt, Wonder Woman
  • My Side of the Mountain
  • Classic American Poetry
  • Caddie Woodlawn
  • Mary Poppins
  • The Horla
  • Ammie Come Home
  • The Godfather (snuck this out of my parent’s room)
  • O-Henry short stories
  • Across 5 Aprils
  • John MacDonald Travis McGee novels (snuck these when visiting my grandparents)
  • Heartbreak Hotel
  • It’s Like This Cat
  • The Borrowers


Marlee J Ehrenfeld

Founder, Black Badger Book Club Blog

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