Reading Cashmere

I’m in Georgia and I’m not sweating.  Thank God for fall, my favorite season.  The humidity has finally decreased down here, although overall it lags behind even the southeastern corner of Tennessee where I live.  Better weather and some easing of joint pain makes me feel like I’m cruising.  Knitting cashmere, eating Kashi cereal, visiting my girl…are there better things in this life?  Oh, and I’ve got avocados.  So yes, my life is good. 


Both my kids bent some fenders this week, and I’m still in a good mood.  Everything was minor (except the coming bills, I’m sure), they don’t make a habit of it, and someone pushed the mellow button in my brain, the one that won’t allow me to scream and go nuts unless it’s truly warranted.  The older I am, the less situations seem to warrant that.  I’m tired of commercials about middle age and how active and agile we can be.  They ought to be talking about growing into inner peace and a gentler nature and less craziness and chaos in our lives. 


I finished a book today.  It had very little action and lots of thinking.  Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox was my kind of story.  It was told primarily in the thoughts and memories of three characters, and it took hearing all three viewpoints to piece together the entirety of the important happenings.  I always admire clever construction, whether in writing or crafting, and this was a good example. 


My child just finished a weekend visit from her best girlfriend.  They have been close for eight years.  They have lots of similarities, some of which could be exasperating when they were younger.  I took them on many trips where I was the driver, and I invariably wound up feeling like I was traveling alone.  Early on, I’d be chattering away, only to realize that no one was responding.  When I’d peek in my mirror I’d find them in their own corners of the back seat, each deeply engrossed in a book.  My daughter tells me that they had to read before they went to bed last night.  Some things don’t change. 


I’m about ready for bed, and I think I’ll wind down with a little more knitting.  Nothing is more soothing than stroking cashmere.



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.