|(Image courtesy of Harper Collins)|
I wasn't what you would call a book nerd as a kid, but I had a few active reading spurts growing up. One of the earliest and most influential books I can remember from my childhood has to be Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. I often imagined that was me on the cover, it does sorta look like me, and I wished my name was Fern. I have no doubt this book helped shape the person I was to become, fostering a connection to the natural world that still burns inside of me today. In case you've never read it, I won't spoil it and tell you what it's about (animals, nature, life, friendship...), just ignore the fact it's considered a children's book and give it a read. Even if you read it as a child, how about a re-read, just for old times sake. I bet you'll be surprised how much you enjoy it. I get choked up just reading the Wiki description of the plot, and plan on re-reading the book myself, followed by a book called The Story of Charlotte's Web: E. B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature by Michael Sims. Perhaps Charlotte is the reason I still have an affection and respect for spiders, especially writing spiders (Argiopes).
For all of you Charlotte's Web fans (and future fans), click here for a wonderful interview with the author Michael Sims about his book The Story of Charlotte's Web on NPR that aired last year, and click here for an audio review of his book, also from NPR.