Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reading is fundemental

What kind of reader are you? For that matter, do you still read books or just kindle or just wait for it to come out as a movie?

I have been reading for about 40 or more years. As a young child my parents would read to me at night. My dad was great at doing the different voices of characters. This is a side that he wouldn't show to the real world but for us kids to entertain us as we went to sleep.

The small town I grew up in had a nice library on main street. We were in smalltown usa and main street had shops and the post office and library and movie theatre. Living about 4 blocks from the main street made it easy to grab a bike and ride down on a Saturday morning. The ritual was to start at one end of the street to work your way down to the library.

One end held the 5&10 store, with half being grown up stuff like material and yarn and some clothing and the other half being a plethora of small wood bins with things like army men and candy and children's bracelet and necklaces and little dolls and balls and cars and jacks and marbles and just about anything a kid in the 60's could need. And no I don't mean a flower child, but just your cut and dry 8 yr old. Next stop was the other store to get candy or toys. That was the drug store and it was more expensive, so usually it was a go in and look deal. Next could be the movie theatre and an afternoon of Disney fun. I saw lots of them there before they ever hit the tv or vhs or dvd. Finally the Library.

My brothers and sister were never into the library as much as I was. I grew tired of the kids books and worked my way in to the teen section of books and then later even the adult section (that sounds so perverted when I say adult section, but I don't mean the porn area (not that there was one) but rather novels, bios and non fiction). My mom guided me in this area. She and my Dad also loved to read and she always found some really interesting books that I would then see around the house and pick up to read. Taylor Caldwell, Asimov, Shirley Jackson (but not the horror, it was Life Among the Savages), Madeleine L'Engle and others. I had some favorites that thanks to the scholastic book service, I still own today - The Great Brain My side of the Mountain, The trolley car family, Light a Single Candle are ones I can see right now on the shelf.

One thing with me and books is that if I find a book I really love, I will keep it and reread it. Some of them at least once a year I will pull them off the shelf. Some not for five years. Unfortunately for my shelves, which are pretty full, some books I just want around in case I ever decide to reread them. Oh and to be fair, some do go to the used book store or to other friends when I finish them. There are some books I enjoy, I want to read again, know that I own them, can't find them ANYWHERE in the I go buy another copy at the local used book store. And then of course, find the original copy. Also what has happened is that I have a series of a favorite author - Marion Zimmer Bradley for example, and I see a few of them at the thrift store, so I think "gee my nieces would love this" and I buy them. I am glad when my nieces come back to tell me how much they did enjoy the books.

I have had people tell me how strange it is that I can reread a book. Maybe it is my memory disability, but I like to think of it as finding something new in the book each time I read it, or reliving a story with old friends or maybe just enjoying the cadence of the words the author puts out. Oh and I do this with movies also. I like to rewatch my favorite movies much the same way.

I hit a lull in book buying a few years ago. I couldn't find any new authors that tweaked my interest, so I reread the ones on my shelves and waited for the Next in the Series of a couple of favorite authors. Last year I joined an online book club and they talked about some new books that I picked up. Some I read and said 'eh' , but a couple now I have been entranced by and have been scrabbling to get the next in the series (if there is one).

When I wake up, I will read for a few minutes. When I fall asleep, I read before the turning the light out. I can read in the car/bus/train/plane. I read while I am eating. Jim and I meshed in this way perfectly. He was not a book reader, but rather a comic reader. Which was fine. Sometimes he would have his comics at the table, and I would read my book. No big deal that we weren't talking - because we had talked before or would after - we were comfortable. We both would read in bed for a little while. It was a calming, end of the day way to relax.

I love to read in the backyard with the temperature at the perfect 70 and no humidity and just a summer breeze making it all perfect. I could do that one for hours. In fact, it is going to be like that today. I think I am going to grab my newest book and go for a read.


Evanesco said...

your blog made me cry in a really good way! I still re-read old childhood favorites as well as adult reads. Kind of a comfort thing to me. I wonder why people think it's strange? They look back on old photos or yearbooks...or maybe they think that's strange,too.
Best of all, a new book or story just takes me on a journey. I never want to live without that. I am so glad I have always had my books to keep me going. :)

Bismo said...

That's a terrific post, Betsy! I'm still a heavy reader, though I don't find the time I used to for it. I still read in bed most nights before sleep, but find as I'm getting older my eyes get tired much much sooner... instead of reading for an hour or two before sleep I'm lucky to make it 20 minutes these days!

I'm definitely a Kindle devotee now, it's actually allowed me to find MORE time for reading. It's not only easily portable but it synchs with the Kindle app on my iPhone so I can pick up my "book" right where I left off whenever I have some time, like doctor waiting rooms. And me old eyes love the adjustable font size on it. Down the road though I know the DRM'll get me, with no physical book to possess, but I don't often re-read books so I'm not TOO worried about that. I SHOULD be, I actually remember books I read when I was young much better than the books I ready 6 months ago!

Meanwhile Chris is also now a voracious reader, and very much at the adult level (he's read a couple of Neal Stephenson books already including Snowcrash). So the skill ain't dead yet!

Take care, can't wait to see you in July....

Anonymous said...

Betsy. I love reading. Hard back, paper back, magazine and newspapers as well as the Kindle. I grew up as an only child to older adoptive parents in rural PA. I had no mainstreet that I could get to except by car once a month. School was a 40 minute bus ride away and my library was a visiting book mobile that parked in the playground lot every six weeks. But I did have my books I would read and reread my chosen books form my own collection, acting out favorite stories and reciting whole chapters from memory. Before falling asleep my mind would re-create scenes from my stories that were vivid and full of detail and color. I still have many of my childhood books...they vere my first friends and were my best friends as well