My parents were avid readers, particularly my mother who became Book Editor at Hilton Head's Island Packet. Mother published one book, Mill Ends and Remnants and was a gifted writer who started writing poetry at Pembroke College (now part of Brown University).
Dad read extensively and, being an aeronautical engineer himself, Nevil Shute was his favorite writer. Wikipedia says of Shute, "Aviation and engineering provide the backdrop for many of Shute's novels. He identified how engineering, science and design could improve human life and more than once used the apparently anonymous epigram 'It has been said an engineer is a man who can do for five shillings what any fool can do for a pound''.
My wife is an avid reader, mostly fiction. She is one of the fastest readers I've known and this year alone, has probably read 40 or 50 books.
All of our adult-children are active readers. Jan and Tina were English majors in college at Clemson and Occidental respectively. Margo, started her reading-interest at Dana Hall School and Steve Morgan became inspired while attending college at U. of California, Irvine, and as a teacher in California. I'm pleased to see these young parents also reading to their children.
I was a slow learner to reading as a young boy. I watched my Twin Sister Mercy read vociferously and I became aware of the joys of reading at Cardigan Mountain School and Tabor Academy. Inspired by good Engish teachers, Heagy, Gowing, Markham, and Gerlach, I mostly read the required books. At Bowdoin College my roommate, Cal Kendall, was a great reader and writer. He tried encouraging me to take English courses and I finally took one taught by a visiting professor from the University of Chicago on the modern novel. Looking back, I count this as my favorite Bowdoin course—and Dr. Cal Kendall has been my Editor of most of my books.
In my business career and as a father of four children, I had little time for reading other than books pertaining to my career. Occasionally, I would get away and read as a diversion from the stresses of business and family. I loved David McCullough's Path Between the Seas, Alfred Chandler and Stephen Salsbury's Pierre S. DuPont and the Making of the Modern Corporation, and W. J. Cash's The Mind of the South. I also loved Phyllis Bentley's novels about the English textile industry with The Rise of Henry Morcar one of my favorites. Her autobiography O Dreams, O Destinations is a particular favorite of mine. I own a signed copy of her book, signed in 1962—the year it was published.
At the present time I am reading three books: one on my Kindle in bed at night is an autobiography by Julie Andrews (fascinating); another paperback, read in our home-library is Sue Roe's The Private Lives of the Impressionists. This book was suggested by my wife, Pat, in Paris where we recently visited the d'Orsay Museum and I mentioned I didn't know much about the artists. The third book ( I read in my bathroom) is Edward H. Miller's NUT Country, Right-Wing Dallas and the Birth of the Southern Strategy. As you see, these are all non-fiction.
Reading and hearing about books read by others inspired me to start writing myself. At first I wrote my words on a yellow pad and gradually learned to use an Apple computer. Spelling and grammar have been challenges for me and I'm trying to write stories as well as I tell them, as according to some, I do better in the telling. I've started using Nuance Dragon Dictate which has helped me in this challenge.
Someone once told me, 'One is best writing about something they know about'. I've stuck to that in my six books published and my editor and I are working on another book that fits in this category. I've avoided fiction and novels as I doubt my imaginative powers to pull anything worthwhile off. The one book I might have written as a novel was my book about W. Stewart Woodfill as I was required to leave out some juicy parts of that man's life that would have made my book far more interesting. That might be a challenge for the future.