The first book I remember reading was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. I read that book over and over, not because I particularly loved it, but because I could. It sat on the bookshelf in my Kindergarten/First Grade classroom with all the other books, and there was such a feeling of power: when I could read that book, I knew I could read all of them.
My sister, who was my kindergarten and first grade teacher too, set my reading for the summer on a bookshelf in my room. I never thought to say 'No' or 'Why'; I was just happy to have something to read. I could read anything I wanted in between my summer reading, but I tried to finish it those books on my bookshelf before school went back into session. This was how I came to read most of the classics -- Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, lots of Charles Dickens, the Arabian Nights, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, and there was a multitude more. We didn't have a bookstore close to us, and no library, but luckily my family had been readers for a hundred years it seemed, so there were a lot of old books. The Robinson Crusoe I read had a lot more religion in it, let me tell you. No Walt Disney books for me!
Those books gave my young imagination something to work on, gave me storylines and characters and settings galore. I was not an only child, but my next oldest sibling was ten years ahead of me, and the characters were my friends.
When I had my stroke, before I could knit, I read a lot, A LOT. It's what got me through. It gave me something to talk about with the speech therapist. The characters were my friends again in a world where I was surprisingly alone -- family and friends came to visit, don't get me wrong; they were wonderful -- but in a world that I couldn't talk right in, or walk at all, or even go to the bathroom alone, I had my head full of friends from my books.