CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Sarah Fox has found books to be constant and comforting companions throughout her life.
Since Jan. 1, she has stepped up the pace, plunging into reading during every spare minute.
On a recent day she figured she had read 77 books this year toward the goal of the West Virginia Reads 150 challenge.
In celebration of West Virginia's Sesquicentennial, Kanawha County Public Library joined the West Virginia Library Commission, West Virginia Center for the Books and other libraries throughout the state for the reading challenge. Participants join teams to strive for the goal of reading 150 books this year in honor of the state's 150th birthday.
A team of up to 15 members may be formed to read a total of 150 books in 2013. Reading a book to a child counts. Listening to audio books counts. A book read as part of one team may also be included in the tally for another team.
"We decided if we had 100 teams, we would consider it a success," said Toni Blessing, adult services manager. "We have 216 teams and 1,500 people. It's just amazing."
Fox is on five teams and serves as leader for three of them. While team members may collectively count their books to reach 150, Fox has formed one team as an individual.
She recalls that her love for books began in elementary school.
"I would read during recess and lunch," she said. "I moved a lot. I was raised in foster care. The book has been a good companion."
As she was shuffled from one foster home to another, she found stability in the fact that books would always be there. Fox, who has sometimes been homeless, turned to books during the darkest times of her life.