How Beauty and the Beast Helped Me Learn to Love Reading

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has long been on the top of my list for favorite Disney films, and, all Stockholm syndrome arguments aside, it deserves to be there. Cogsworth and Lumiere were my Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Belle’s loose ponytail was hair goals, and Beast was a real looker (in human form, of course. No animal attractions here.).

More than anything, though, Belle liked to read. She walked through town with a book in her hands while townsfolk sang behind her. The local bookkeeper knew her by name and gave her free books. She was gifted a ten-story-tall library, for mercy’s sake! I had never been so jealous of a cartoon character (and probably never will be again).

At this point in my reading life, books such as The Babysitter’s Club, novelizations of Scooby-Doo episodes, and The Little House on the Prairie made up the entirety of my collection. So, when Belle came into view singing about magic spells, princes in disguise, and daring sword fights, I was intrigued. What was she reading? I wanted to read about princes and magic and sword fights. Now, I know what you may be thinking, “Mallory, why didn’t you just Google it?” Well, back in my day we had to walk uphill both ways barefoot through the snow to find the nearest internet connection! Not really, but you get the idea. I didn’t own a computer and the only thing school allowed me to use the computer for were AR quizzes and typing games.

For the next several years I pined after Belle’s magical, unattainable favorite book and prayed for the day when I’d find my own magical land. Then, on a normal trip to Goodwill with my mom, I browsed the used book section and found it. Buried under a mountain of inappropriate romance novels laid The Lore of Eralynd by Alyson Holman.

“The Land of Glendor has been a waste for an age. The people are starving, and the great fortress, Morcastle, is falling to ruins. King Mallin and his daughter, Indella, are on the brink of despair, for they no longer know how they can possibly help their dying people. But then, a handsome, wealthy prince named Ethys arrives, and he promises to return Glendor to its former glory…if he can but have Indella’s hand in marriage. This proposal seems to be the answer to all of the kingdom’s troubles, until Princess Indella discovers that Ethys is actually an evil dark lord planning to take over the realm and gain a power greater than anything anyone has seen. Desperate, Indella escapes to seek help from a legendary, powerful people that has been lost for centuries: the Elves of the deeps Woods of Valnon.”

I asked my mom for the twenty-five cents the book cost, bought it, and ran to the car to start reading while my mom finished shopping. I finished it within two days and shamelessly flipped back to the front to read it again. Is The Lore of Eralynd a masterpiece of literature? No. Is it even my favorite book? No. It was a simple case of reading the right book at the right time. I found it before I had any preconceptions about what constituted a “good book,” and long before I became a self-diagnosed book snob. The truth is, if I found this book today on a bookstore shelf, I wouldn’t touch it. I wouldn’t even pick it up to read the description. But I did pick it up, and I’ve read it nearly four times from start to finish.

What book/s have you re-read the most and why? Comment below and let me know!

Happy Reading,

Mallory