Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cover to cover


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 Ekhart Tolle 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.)

15 comments:

Pricilla said...

Books and reading are the greatest gifts.

My nook and I have a love/hate relationship. I think I have just spent too much time with actual books to ever love the thing but I respect its necessity in the world. I find it cold and I am constantly trying to turn the page instead of hitting the button. Drives me crazy!

I know the book will someday disappear I just hope I am not alive to see it.

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

I believe reading can make all the difference in the world to someone's life.

My last husband did not like me to read. I spent 13 years of not reading because of him, only to get divorced and read 500 books, literally, in the first 8 years of divorcedom. I've laughed and cried too while reading. Imagine how much better the world would be if everyone loved to read as much as you or I.

Caty said...

I LOVE books...I also was resistant to the electronic book, but my friends got me a nook for my birthday, and I'm in love :) ...and I definitely think a book can change a life!

Kristina P. said...

I moved from books to US Weekly. I think I made a wise move.

ipenka said...

Huge fan of books as well. You have some great choices here.

Now the only question is whether to convert to an e-reader. So many people who convert have been recommending it, I feels like its the prius all over again.

ModernMom said...

I too LOVE books, real books, and my girls read every night before they go to sleep :)

Eva Gallant said...

I would have to agree the greatest gift parents can give is a love of reading and books. My paternal grandmother gave that to me; I have passed it on to one of my sons, but not so much to the other. Now I must try to pass it on to my grandchildren!

Julie said...

From my Kindle (which I too, never leave home without ~ for $0.89 I just finished a book called "Big White Panties". I literally laughed outloud at something on every page. Actually, I think around a third of my way into it, considered buying some Depends because I thought I migh pee just a litte as well.

Kat said...

Love this post JennyMac! And it's timely, given that this is National Banned Books week. I resisted and e-reader forever, until my brother bought me a kindle for the big 5-0. I love it, and carry it with me everywhere. And my favorite place to relax is a book store. Kat

jojo said...

we kinda 'forced' it on our kids to participate in reading also and it was one of the best parenting decisions we ever made. They have always loved thier books and even now as adults always have one or two that are being read and well loved. Yay, to your little guy..it is a love that will stay with him all his life!

So. Cal. Gal said...

I was a late bloomer in that I didn't get interested in reading til I was 12 y.o. I was in the hospital for 3 months and my mom bought me several Barbara Cartland books. My taste in books has drastically changed (it's now Stephen King and Dean Koontz) but I still love to read. As a matter of fact, I'm in bed with 2 books right now.

Kir said...

Loved this, since I feel exactly the same way about books...they change me, they have made me what I am. I truly hope that my boys grow to love reading as much as their mama. I also love my Nook! Sometimes I miss the feel of a book..but not for very long.

DeNae said...

One Saturday afternoon, we lost our 2-year old son. How was that possible? We were all home, just puttering around the house. My husband had let our little boy hammer and saw on a household project, and I had let him stack rubbermaid dishes and put them away, and we had hosed down the driveway together and swept the porch...and suddenly he was gone. We looked all through the yard, the neighbors' yards, most of the house -- and finally found him on his bed, surrounded by every one of his Dr. Seuss books. When we opened his door, he sighed and said, "Guys, I just need a break. I'm gonna read now, ok?"

OK.

Janelle said...

I love the feeling of reading a book and being transported to a different place and time.
I have not switched to an e-reader yet, but have done a lot of research. Maybe one of these days...

HalfAsstic.com said...

I share your love for books on every level. I am a stay-at-home-wife/mother/person that is without driver's license due to a handicap. Books are, indeed, the window to the world. And the invention of the e-reader is the best thing to come along in my lifetime. (Electronically speaking)
Finish a book? No problem. Just download another one right there from home. Beautiful!