Thursday, November 26, 2009

Week of Thanks - Day Four

Today I am giving thanks for books. Books on the shelves and books on the table tops; books on the staircase, books in the public library, books in book stores and at love affair with books has been going on since I was a toddler staggering up to various adult relatives with a pile of Dr. Seuss books clutched in my arms and one demand upon my baby lips: "Wead to me."

My mother taught me how to read when I was four, not because she was convinced I was some kind of genius (I wasn't), but because I kept pestering her to just explain to me, all these words. I don't know how long it took her, but I can remember the feeling of triumph I had when I opened some little book and realized that all those black squiggles had meaning: I could look at C-A-T and a picture of my grandma's cat, Fluff, leapt into my mind.

I have had a love affair with books ever since then. When I go to the library, it isn't just to get a book or two - it's more like twelve or twenty. It's been like that since I was a kid and discovered From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and A Wrinkle in Time. Also the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, which I still think are the funniest and smartest children's books I've ever read. And what girl hasn't sat and wept over Sara Crewe or Francie Dolan?

Although I do read some non-fiction, reading has always primarily been a way of escape for me. Fiction is my favorite, and I'll read just about anything, although I find romance novels hard to stomach. There's just something about the love affairs of fictional characters that just leaves me cold, especially the affair in a book that I picked up entirely by accident where the author began describing someone's "member," and it was pretty clear that the author wasn't referring to an associate in a country club or a PTA group or a fraternity. Ish.

If I get to the point where I'm near the end of my library book and I know that there are no others in my bag, I start feeling a little uneasy. Likewise, nothing makes me feel better than knowing that there is a big stack of fat books waiting for me up in my room.

Book. Books and books and books. I'm thankful for all the good ones I've come across in my life, and thankful for all the ones I haven't read yet. Books that other people have raved about (well, except for that one) and books that I've been able to share with others.

Books have been good friends to me.


Shauna said...

Do you ever re-read your favorite books? I'm just curious, because you pretty much described my love of books in this post (I learned to read when I was four, too!). People are always telling me how weird I am that I will re-read books I love.

I, too, am thankful for books. I love books so much that I actually shed tears when I found out they were temporarily closing and reducing our already-too-small local library. Now I have to take a bus 20 minutes to get to the big library (and you better believe I will. It's on my way home from work, which I think is PERFECT).

My love for books and reading is the reason I decided to be a writer. What better career could I have than to be the one writing the kinds of books I always loved to read?

Kayte said...

My biggest fear has always been that I will lose my eyesight...can you imagine me without the capacity to read??? OMW, can't even imagine it. Matthew, God love him, gets no pleasure from sitting and all. How can this be?????? LOL.