Guest Post: Confessions of a Reading Geek

Today I welcome Denise Stout Holcomb to my blog to tell us about her life of reading.*

It feels like I’ve been reading books forever. I can’t remember a time as a child I didn’t have books. I started young with Little Golden Book-style books, moved on to chapter books, and it never stopped. Well, there was a brief time, post-college, when I didn’t read for pleasure, but it wasn’t a long time.

I remember reading these same books, right down to most of the covers! [says pooks]

I remember reading these same books, right down to most of the covers! [says pooks]

I read so much, my mom even splurged and bought a book subscription—Mom was a reader, too. She read Harlequins all the time. I loved when my box of two or three books would arrive. Ramona, Encyclopedia Brown, Where the Sidewalk Ends… There’s nothing like the smell of a new book. I know you love it, too. Books like Misty of Chincoteague, the Little House Series, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew Mysteries transported me all over. My dad built me the best pink bookshelves, too. It spanned the entire length of my bed. It was completely filled with my treasure of books.

After I started reading my mom’s books, she decided to buy me teen romances instead—guess I wasn’t supposed to read Peyton Place in middle school. Oops. Don’t tell her I still have her book. The Romance genre is my favorite, but I read Women’s Fiction, Cozy Mysteries, Suspense, even some Fantasy or Paranormal. There’s not much I won’t read as long as it’s well-written.

In high school, I worked in the school library instead of having a study hall. We even had a geeky Library Club in my high school. Yep, I was a member. I was such a rebel—not really—but, I had a pin which said, “I read banned books.” I ordered it from a feature in Seventeen magazine.  I learned to love Dostoyevsky, the Brontes, Twain, Dickens, and even Shakespeare. I always loved English class—total geek! I was the kid who would read in bed with a flashlight late at night underneath my Sunbonnet Sue quilt . Gone With the Wind and Jane Eyre were among my favorite reads in high school.

I read a lot in college. I took as many English classes as possible so I could read books for pleasure. Yes, I took English classes in college for the pleasure of reading. I’m just a few credits shy of an English minor. No regrets. I was spent by working my way through college to support my Political Science major and a History minor—I was just done. The most likely start of the aforementioned dry spell. I was so busy working, getting married, and setting up a home, I forgot to take time for myself. It took getting really sick and diagnosed with a chronic, incurable, but treatable illness for me to prioritize my life again. A life which included books.

Books saved me. Reading books prevented me from wallowing in self-pity. Books gave me something to do while waiting for doctor’s appointments. Books gave me life by transporting me to places I’ve never been, characters I love, and a way to pass the time.

DeniseFast forward to the present. I always keep a book or two in the minivan so I’m never without a book. I read print and ebooks—I love my Kindle. I’ve tried to make readers out of my boys. I trade books with friends, I’ve been in book clubs, forged friendships with readers and authors locally and all over the world. I’m Denise, I love books, I’m a voracious reader, and I’m a Book Geek. And, I’m okay with that.

Denise Stout Holcomb

Book Geek, Wife, and Mom in the ‘Burbs of Baltimore



*I want to carve a little space of the reader-pooks on Fridays and try to post something about reading. This sometimes will lead to something about writing, because I can’t totally separate the two. But it will be about reading first. If you’d like to share your own thoughts about reading, your favorite book, anything at all about reading, let me know (planetpooks [at] gmail [dot] com) and if it looks like a good fit, I’ll let you guest post here as room allows.



Filed under Guest Posts, Reading, Reading Fridays

19 responses to “Guest Post: Confessions of a Reading Geek

  1. denise


    Thank you so much for letting me guest post!


  2. Chri

    Many parts of your story are so familiar! My folks used to drop off me and siblings at the library when we were just little (safer times!). They’d pick us up several hours later with our stacks and stacks of books to take home. Two weeks later, we’d return the previous cache and begin again. 🙂

    Like you, I grew up in a home with books and a love of reading, and I am profoundly grateful for that!

  3. It is truly amazing how reading can help us cope with challenges in life. I also loved many of your favorite childhood reads, especially Little House on the Prairie! Thanks for sharing your story. I was inspired by your post.

  4. Janine

    This is a great blog. I love learning about other readers and their love of books. I started reading my mom’s romance books when I was in my early teens. She never knew I used to dig in the closet for them after she was finished reading them. I think I graduated from the kid books like Cinderella straight to full blown Harlequins. No in betweens.

    • Denise

      That’s great, Janine! Good to know I wasn’t the only one sneaking to a mom’s Harlequins! Thanks for sharing!

    • Welcome, Janine! My mom wasn’t much of a reader but I do remember finding Lady Chatterly’s Lover on my grandmother’s bookshelf–and she was a preacher’s wife!

  5. Tiffany

    I loved this post. So much of it was true for me too. I read to make myself happy. It always works.

  6. Your story is so much like my own! For most of my life, I have been a voracious reader. During our family vacations, my father used to tell me to pull my nose out of the book and look around. I carried books with me everywhere!

    Shortly after I started dating my now husband, I helped him move into a new apartment. He had boxes of books, and I swooped down and asked how many I could borrow. He was kind enough to send me home with a large stack. One of the reasons I married him!

    I don’t mind reading ebooks, but I still prefer to hold a physical book in my hand. I love the smell of the ink and the paper, of cracking open the cover for the first time, that feeling that I’m about to indulge in something special.

    Like you, I read anything–from genre to literary. As long as it’s well written, I’ll read it. Thank you for writing such a great post. It’s always fun to discover another reading geek!

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