When I was 12 years old, my family had been in England for two years. You’d think that I would have learned by then that, in England, they drive on the opposite side of the road, but old habits die hard. I started to cross the street having only looked to my left, and when I turned to look to my right, much to my surprise, there was a Ford Escort bearing down on me at high speed. I managed to get mostly out of the way, so I got to spend a month in an English hospital instead of going directly to a lovely plot of ground with some nice trees.
I’d always been a big reader, but I hadn’t honestly expanded my literary horizons much. I was all about the Hardy Boys and solving mysteries. While I lay in that hospital bed, someone gave me a book. A very different book from the type I normally read. The cover had a bearded man in buckskins, hunched down behind a giant rhododendron while some rather determined looking Indians seemed to be hunting him. That book was called The Warrior’s Path, and it was written by Louis L’Amour.
Bored and out of “good” reading material, I turned to this odd looking book. Before I finished the first chapter, I was hooked. Not just on that book, but on all things L’Amour. Thankfully, there were a lot more books where that came from! It didn’t take me long to amass a collection of every single book Louis L’Amour ever wrote. I’ve read every single one of them at least five times, and they are still proudly displayed on my bookshelf of favorite books.
Of course, there are now myriad different genres on my bookshelves, and I like to think that I’m a pretty well read man, but I can point to that moment in time and know that it really started there. So, Mr. L’Amour, I thank you for introducing me JRR Tolkien, George RR Martin, Orson Scott Card, Patrick Rothfuss, HP Lovecraft, Stephen Lawhead, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Warren Ellis, Brandon Sanderson, Harlan Ellison, Lucy Maude Montgomery, Preston & Child, Robert Jordan, and dozens of others who have enriched my life. Thank you.
Written by Joshua O.