Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Books Can Save

I always loved reading.  It started very early on through the thin, newspapery Scholastic Book Club catalogues handed out to us early on.  I remember ordering Charlie Brown books, bringing the money in a little envelope to school.  It was really thrilling when the book order arrived and I was handed my new books.
This was the first book I read from cover to cover all by myself.  Okay, so it was a comic book, but there were some hard words in there!  It was the first one that wasn't a school reading book (Dick and Jane) or a book that was read to me as a bedtime story.
My first books were like that - comics and childrens stories.  As I grew the books got more sophisticated.
From the time that I was old enough to walk to the library by myself, I always had a stack of library books.  With the junior library card, I could only get four books out at a time.  This mean that I was at the library every week.  I'd check out my limit of books and go home to start reading them.  I loved discovering new books.  A good story was completely engrossing and I would be upset when I reach the end of the book, and the story was over.

I still wonder what happened to Mary, Colin and Dickon at Misselthwaite Manor in The Secret Garden after I finished the book. This is where a good series was invaluable.  The story continues in the next book!  

"Peggy, it's time for dinner!"

 - no response -

"Peggy get down here!  Dinner's ready!"

" . . . okay just a minute" 

Then I clump down to dinner, book in hand. 

"No reading at the dinner table"


I would much rather spend time in Narnia, Middle Earth or 19th Century England.  It was a wonderful escape. I stayed out of trouble and nobody bothered me. It did improve my vocabulary - to the point where somebody in my 5th grade said that I talked like a professor.  Note to my 10 year old self - dumb down the language for classmates or they will think you're weird.

It mystified me that none of my children were ever big readers.  I thought all kids liked to read, but then we didn't have Nintendo back in the olden days.  I tried to get the boys to like books more - but you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!
I read to them endlessly, starting with books that I liked when I was their age.  They did like bedtime stories, but that was kind of it.  It was scouring for a new lure into the world of reading for my youngest that I picked up the first Harry Potter book.  I had become aware of the publicity around these new books for children and got the first one to read to my little boy..  I started reading him a chapter a night . 

After the second night of reading the book, I marked the spot where we had finished, tucked the book under my arm and went into the living room to read more on my own.  I then had to manage two bookmarks for a couple of days.  Then I went on to the second book while still reading the first book to George.

I think at this point there were only three Harry Potter books in the series.  So, after ripping through the initial published works, I had to wait for Ms Rowling to finish writing the next in the series.

I read books that aren't childrens books. I have shelves and shelvesof them but for some reason it is these first books that hold a special place in my life.


Xtreme English said...

Books are magical--especially the first ones you can read.

Shammickite said...

And yes, books are magical. They are a portal into so many worlds. I've just finished Caleb's Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks. A good read. Another book by the same author is The People of the Book.
Books we read as children stay with us... I remember reading Susannah of the Mounties, but I have no idea who wrote it.

Paradise Driver said...

I, too, remember the Scholastic Books. As I grew older my interest focused more on science fiction and good spy novels. Which eventually spread me across a diverse range of subjects. While I can (could?) speed-read at over 3,000wpm, when it came to pleasure reading I would slow down to savor the book/author. Just as you do with anything that is truly worthwhile.

Also my mother was an assistant librarian on a couple of the Air Force bases we lived at. So after doing my homework there, I had all these book available for my fun :)

Anonymous said...

I kept waiting for a big reader among my 4 kids, too. The day I realized my middle daughter had stayed up most of the night reading Gone with the Wind in her closet was precious to me.

What I really love, though, is that her sisters, who are both mothers now, faithfully read to their kids every night - just like I did.

I know reading isn't enjoyable for everyone, but it has been such a great gift in *my* life!
Cousin Susan

Toffeeapple said...

I, too, love to read and frequently have several books on the go at once, depending upon which room I am in. I would be so lost and lonely without my books. Reading is such a precious gift.