Come Read About My Reading

Reading has been a lifelong obsession of mine.  After my fifth grade year we moved to Stuttgart, Germany.  The library on the Robinson Barracks post only allowed children to check out three books at one time.  I insisted they give me an adult library card so that I could check out as many books as I could carry.  It was important that I not get more than I could carry, because we had to walk to the library.  We walked everywhere in those days:  to and from school, the commissary, the playground, our friend’s apartments.  On my library visits I would usually find eight or ten books, enough to leave marks on my arms after I’d carried them all the way home.  There were no backpacks in those days, kids.  The trips to the commissary were usually made with a band of friends, and we would congregate around the cooler to pick out three- and five-cent ice cream treats.  My favorite then and now was the orange creamsicle. 


I didn’t just read library books.  By the time I reached fifth grade, my older sisters had all left home for college.  I studied in the room that the last two had shared.  They left all their old paperbacks neatly shelved there.  I would sit at the desk pretending to do homework, and read my sisters’ books.  My mother never wondered why I studied for such long hours.  Later, when I was reading my own books openly, she would send me outside to play. 


I suppose I should confess that I grew up reading everything.  What I mean is, I couldn’t stop reading, so I took in every street sign, billboard, and calendar quote that I passed.  If no parent was at the breakfast table with us, I’d read cereal boxes while I ate.  I carried books with me for every car ride, no matter how short.  I was devastated when one of our carpool moms told me I couldn’t read in the car.  Her daughter got carsick when she read, so she restricted everyone.  (I haven’t forgotten that, Mrs. Welichko!)


My daughter was resistant about reading in the first grade.  I held my breath, afraid that God had goofed up and given me a child who wasn’t a natural reader.  Thankfully, in second grade she came ’round, and started her own obsessive reading career.  She’s kept up a steady trail to and from Barnes and Noble ever since.   We started a practice of reading out loud to each other when she was very young, and at times we go back to it.  Neither of us is too old to have someone read to us.   


Things I want to read:  At Risk and The Front by Patricia Cornwell; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz; The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini; The Fig Eater by Jodi Shields; Knitting From the Top by Barbara G. Walker; Farmer John’s Cookbook:  The Real Dirt on Vegetables by John Peterson.

Recent reads:  T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton; The Awakening by Kate Chopin; What Game Is Hillary Playing? ; The Amazing Money Machine by Joshua Green (The Atlantic) Click here ; catch-up reading on various blogs.

Recent loans:  The Well of Lost Plots and Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde; Knitting by Ann Bartlett.

People who discuss books with me:  CM, my daughter, KN, MBM.

My rules about reading:  Always have at least two books going.  Don’t worry about broken spines or marks on pages.  Loan books to anyone who asks-everyone could use a little reading.  Don’t restrict what your child reads unless it’s going to give them nightmares.  Don’t read over people’s shoulders, and don’t let them read over yours.  Mix it up; what you read fills your brain, and variety is good.  If you have to stay up all night to finish a book, so be it.  Never punish a kid for reading, even if they are under the covers after hours with a flashlight.  Read the book before you see the movie.  Don’t believe everything you read.  Pack a backup book (or four).  Arthritis in the hands makes it harder to hold your book, but don’t give up; there are many ways to prop up a book. 




2 Responses

  1. I LOVED orange creamsicles!!! Haven’t one (or thought about them) in years.

    You will love The Kite Runner. Another to put on your list is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

    I’m a cereal box reader, too. On our 3-month trip to Alaska in our travel trailer, the weight of the books was terrible, but we stopped at several library book sales along the way. I have a special pillow to prop my books on, and bulldog clips to hold them open.

  2. Have you considered an Amazon Kindle?

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