I have been an avid reader my entire life. I remember lugging my Richard Scarry Encyclopedia to my Father one day and asking him to read to me. He told me I could read it myself but he would help. And with his tutelage, I was able to sort my way through hippopotamus, kitchen, and school bus. I had just turned four. (And hippopotamus was tough. Thanks Dad. Call it his motivation or perhaps he had reached his saturation point of reading that same book for the 1,000,000 time.)
And my interest in books has maintained from the days of Dr. Seuss to my red leather bound Kindle that I tote with my everywhere. I was initially resistant to an electronic version versus old school, but my crush has turned to love.
I appreciate great authors who can create a vivid picture. The first time I read Love in the Time of Cholera, I remember a single passage and a sentence that resonated with me to the point I remember it to this day, and exactly where I was sitting when I read it.
And I love authors who can make me laugh out loud. Witty, sardonic, clever, sarcastic: I want more.
And I will read everything from EkhartTolle to Julie Powell.
And I remember the first time I read Bridges of Madison County. Call it smarmy, but that book hit me right in the heart at a very wrong time. I was young, and in love. In love the way 19-year-olds do love, all encompassing and powerful. But I was aware that a slow motion process had begun that would derail us. And while I was not experienced enough to fix it, I was naive enough to think I could. And at that time, moving backwards would have been the only way to keep our situation from ultimate fragmentation. And then I read that book, also about all encompassing love, in one afternoon sitting on the front porch swing of his his parents' home. Closing it, I admit I was resistant to accept the changes coming in my life, but was hopeful in that sweet, young girl way that love could exist like the hundred pages I just read.
Books are a tool, a reference, a light, or a tiny portal into the life of other people. I love it that a book can leave you inspired or infuriated, elated or exhausted. And I remember reading Justin Halpern's hit, Sh*t My Dad Says and will tell you now, I laughed uproariously throughout most of that book. To the point I was choking at certain passages. And then wanted to read those passages to my husband. And then laughed so hard again rereading them, he had to patiently wait. And guess who doesn't like being read to? JMac...Especially when you are not reading but really guffawing and snorting.
And I read A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. The cruelty and violence he was subjected to and the tenacity he had to employ to save his own life was chilling and inspirational.
The era of the electronic book reader came and I thought I would be reluctant to embrace it. I am very fond of the turning of pages and books stacked up on shelves. But I got the Kindle from JMac and loved it. Which was then advanced to the Kindle app on the iPad which I also love. And as much as I appreciate the advance of technology, oh, I do still love a book requiring you to actually turn pages.
Can a book change a life? I don't know. But I do think they can change perspective, insight and maybe even change cynicism.
And now as my little son is plowing his way through books (My favorite 4 year old is now reading 1st grade level books! I will spare you the video but believe me, every one related to us by blood has seen it. ) He wants to have his turn every night to read to us and I hope his interest never wanes. I am grateful my parents lead by example when I was a kid (and forced me to do it myself...thanks again Dad.)