My father never put a book into my hands and never forbade a book. Instead, he let me roam and graze, making my own more or less appropriate selections. I read gory tales of historic heroism that nine-teenth century parents were suitable for children, and gothic ghost stories that were surely not; I read accounts of arduous travel through treacherous lands undertaken by spinsters in crinolines, and I read handbooks on decorum and etiquette intended for young ladies of good family; I read books with pictures and books without; books in English, books in French, books in languages I didn't understand where I could make up stories in my head on the basis of a handful of guessed-at words. Books. Books. And books.