Girl Reading

About This Bookworm

How I Became a Reader and Bookworm

I have been reading since the age of three. I’m told I taught myself. I couldn’t stand being dependent on other people to read all those wonderful stories to me.  I wanted to devour them on my own.

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As soon as we moved within walking distance of the library in my suburban town of Bellflower in Los Angeles County, I made visits almost every day, checking out the maximum allowed. The branch  librarian never checked to see if I’d brought enough books back to cover the new ones I checked out. By the time I hit junior high I had read through everything in the children’s section I was interested in.

By the time I was in high school I moved to the adult department. I was soon helping other patrons find things. That’s probably why the branch librarian hired me as a clerk as soon as I graduated from high  school.  I never even had to be a page first. It was a job I loved. I was offered the job of assistant branch manager when I was 19, but my parents felt it would interfere with my eventual goal of becoming a librarian. I needed to go to UCLA for my last two years of college, and commuting was out of the question.

UCLA , Teaching, and Bookstore Years

As luck would have it, I met the man who is now my husband at UCLA.  We met in the dorm at a special dinner on Halloween. He wanted to do his graduate work in Long Beach. There was no library school near Long Beach, so I got my teaching credential and became an English teacher  for a couple of years.

Teaching was not a good fit for me.  Books were my passion. I wanted to share them with others.  So when the door opened for me to work at a Christian bookstore in Westwood, near UCLA, I couldn’t turn it down. I stayed there for nine years until I moved again.

It was my favorite job. Employees were encouraged to take the books home to read so we could recommend them to customers. I read entire sections. I had customers who depended upon me to suggest what they should read next.

After the move, I managed a Hallmark store for a few months, but it was not a good fit.  While I was awaiting another job opportunity, something even better turned up — a ready-made family.  You can read how that happened here: How I Became a Foster Parent. We started as foster parents, but adopted the children as soon as they were free for adoption.

Reading Together During the Parenting and Home Schooling Years

The nine years of parenting brought a lot more children’s books into our lives, since we read to and with our children. We home schooled them for the last three years they were with us, and reading aloud as a family was one of our favorite activities. We discovered oodles of great books during that time.

But the time was too short.  Our nest emptied very suddenly when Jason was fourteen.  Here’s how it happened. His sister decided to leave a year earlier.  She never recovered from Jason’s death and never lived with us again.  We were out of touch completely during the last years of her life.

The Home Schooling Vendor Years

When the children were gone, so was most of my daily routine.  Homeschooling had been my life. Our social life was mostly with other homeschooling families. Suddenly there was a void. I then made an emotional decision to become a home school vendor.  I suppose it was a way to work out my grief. Home school families were seeking me out for advice on which teaching materials to buy and I decided I may as well sell them myself instead of sending people elsewhere.

I loved real books more than workbooks and curriculum, so I tried to keep up with the new books being published. I had the opportunity to go to Book Expo — the biggest book trade show in the United States — two or three times. That supplied me with many free books to review and exposed me to all the new titles. I bought a truck full and sold them at home school conventions around the country as Barb’s People Builders. Later I got a warehouse full. I still have a warehouse filled with  some of the best children’s books and curriculum materials around.

Moving Book Selling to the Internet

We stopped the travel in 1996 after my husband’s hips gave out. We took the business online  then as Barb’s People Builders. It’s never been a fancy website, but it’s still a good resource for those who teach in schools or at home.

As I am now ready to retire, I’d like to sell out my inventory and earn my income by writing and recommending books to others for affiliate income.  That leaves the selling expenses and shipping to others and leave me free to do what I love most — read and share books.

For a slightly different perspective and more details, read “My Nose Has Always Been In a Book.”

8 thoughts on “About This Bookworm”

  1. Dear Barb:

    Great site and I love the title. Nice alliteration.

    I searched your site but didn’t find a specific place to submit a book for review.

    I’m hoping you might be interested in reviewing my recently published historical, The Fury of Dragons. It is set in Roman Britain in 432 AD. I am happy to gift you a Kindle copy or send you a paperback.

    Short Synopsis:

    The premise of The Fury of Dragons is based on St. Patrick’s fifth-century text, Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus, in which he condemns the British chieftain who stole his converts and “gave girls away like prizes.”

    Eleri, a slave in an Irish hillfort, is seized on the day of her baptism by pirates on a slaving raid and taken across the sea to Britannia. About to be auctioned off to the highest bidder for the second time in her young life, she is taken off the block at the last moment by Coroticus, the fearsome British chieftain who led the raid.

    Coroticus doesn’t understand why this skinny girl-child has bedeviled him from the moment he laid eyes on her. But when, on the deck of his ship, she speaks to him the identical words carved into his mother’s tomb, all he knows is he can’t let her go.

    Thanks so much for your consideration.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I couldn’t get your email address to click through, so I’m answering you here. I currently have quite a stack of unreviewed books I’ve already read but haven’t had time to review yet. Also, it sounds like The Fury of Dragons has a bit too much adventure for me. I find that makes me tense and I read for two reasons — for information or for relaxation.Where there is too much suspense, I cannot relax. You might consider contacting https://www.reviewthisreviews.com, though. My fellow contributors there are readers, too, and often review books. Your book may match heir reading tastes better than mine.

  2. “faulty Christian” – A True Story

    Please consider reviewing newly released, non-fiction, “faulty Christian.” I join online dating, marry a Canadian and leave everything in Kentucky for love and adventure. Bizarre events and my shocking behavior have me admitting imperfection.

    Christian editors who edited “faulty Christian” say it’s one of the most compelling they’ve read. It is sprinkled with faith and hopefully, will plant a seed in the non-believer. And believers will be reminded that we all struggle and need grace.

    Thank you for your consideration. God bless you. Merry Christ-max!

    1. Ariel, I’m afraid I’m really backlogged on reviews right now. I’ve read so many books I’ve not yet had time to review, so I don’t want to commit to a review I may not have time to do.

  3. Hello,
    Because the Kindle version of “We Called Him Yeshua” is currently free on Amazon (now through Sunday, August 2), I’d like to ask that you consider getting the ebook and perhaps reviewing it at some point.
    “We Called Him Yeshua” is historical fiction, told from the perspective of people whom Jesus healed. Once healed, they then followed Jesus on his final journey to Jerusalem, along the way telling you what they saw, heard, and felt. Through their eyes, the reader can see Jesus as they may never have seen Him before—not only as the divine Son of God, but also as the human son of man.

    Thank you for your consideration.
    Sincerely,
    CJ Penn

  4. Hello Barb!

    My name is Ericka Clay, and I am a traditionally published novelist and former atheist. I’ve just completed my first Christ-inspired novel, A Violent Hope, which will be released on October 6th. I’d love to send you a free ebook copy of my book in exchange for an honest review. Would you be interested?

    I truly appreciate your time and consideration! 🙂

    Best,

    Ericka

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