Have you missed me being here the last couple of weeks? (Please say yes.) Truth is, I have been reading! One of my New Year’s goals is to make a big dent in the stack of books I want to read. What that really means for me is: turn off some mindless television program and stimulate my brain.
I made great strides in January, reading four books. Two of them were pretty short, but still. Then I decided I should read The Goldfinch, which my younger son, Phillip, gave me for Christmas. This best-selling novel is over 700 pages long, not an easy read, and I am not a fast reader. It’s been rather like slogging through ankle-deep sand and, just before I give up, finding a small oasis of interesting plot to encourage me onward.
I stopped midway through The Goldfinch to read the Beebe/Goff Library Book Club choice for February, Finding Jake, by Bryan Reardon. This turned out to be a worthwhile decision. I became quickly engrossed in the gripping plot and the character development. Which brings me to the point of saying how much I enjoy the Book Club experience. It’s great fun to discuss with others a book you have all read.
In fact, after potty training, reading is the best thing I ever learned. Mastering the ability to translate print into words opened countless doors. From that point on, boredom was unknown. Sunday afternoons flew by, spent in the Alps with Heidi or solving a mystery with Nancy Drew.
Reaching the third or fourth grade level made me eligible for a special treat. I could read to my grandfather. Papa lost his eyesight at the age of 65. He liked to keep abreast of the local news and enjoyed The Reader’s Digest for its variety of stories from around the world. So, every evening, a different family member volunteered to bring the written word to him. At last my turn had come.
I sat on the footstool in front of his chair, the daily newspaper in hand. I read a headline to him and he determined if he wanted to hear the article. If it was a go, I dipped into the story with gusto. When I came across a word I didn’t know, I spelled it out. He told me how to pronounce the word and the story continued. Papa was a good sport about it, but I wonder now how he got any sense of what I read. This regular practice served several purposes. It improved my reading-aloud skills and gave me one-on-one time with my grandparent, doing a good deed while I learned about current events.
Good literature from Alcott to Yerby filled my high school years. As a young housewife, books became my reward. Clean the living room and peruse one chapter. Finish the ironing and take a break for fifteen minutes. Harper Lee, Norah Lofts, Grace Metalious, and Mignon Eberhart made my world richer and wider.
Waiting rooms provide an appropriate place and the coveted time to skim the latest book in my queue. What? My car is ready so soon? The doctor will see me now? My motto is: A book — never leave home without one.
I lose myself and I find myself between the pages of a good book.