Posts Tagged ‘books’

Reading

It’s that time again.

When colleges or universities attempt to somehow know the applicant a little better. With their prompt questions. If you were a tree what type of tree would you be?

Okay, maybe not that exactly.

But sometimes there are the questions like, “Which book impacted your life?”

 

I am thinking I might say, “All of them.”

If it were me  (and it’s not)  I would be ready to list all of the books that had some impact on my life.

Then I thought, “It’s not the books.”

It’s being able to read the books. Being able to read anything at all.

My mother-in-law, who is living with me at the moment, is ninety years old.

And illiterate.

She has raised literate and successful children. But she came from a place and time where the education of young women was an option for parents. And as we all know parents can sometimes be a crap shoot.

If you are reading this right now do you realize the gift you have?

You can read the street sign. The map. You do not have to rely on others for your menu choices at a restaurant. You are able to read the newspaper. Help your child with their homework. You are able to fill out the arrival information on your plane trip.

Imagine not being able to read.  For a second.

The folks at the college admissions might need to rethink their questions.

Maybe something like, “How has reading impacted your life?”

Forget the books.

 

 

 

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I just finished an article about reading. The importance of it. More libraries equal fewer prisons. And all of that.

My mom loved to read. Still does. My grandmother, who had little education, had a book in her hand well into her nineties. Always.

We received books every Christmas. Mom didn’t buy me books every time we went to the store but I still remember the special trips to a local store, Zayre’s, when she did. I’d race to the book section and peruse the Nancy Drew section. And she would let me buy one in the series. For $1.99. I had the entire collection for years.

She always brought me to the library. Mom would go her way and I would go mine. Into the children’s and young adult section. Got hooked on mysteries. Whether they took place years ago or present day.

I could get lost in a book. I remember, more than once, someone coming to pick me up at the house when I was a teen. At the exact time that I had designated. I’d be lying on the living room sofa reading and then see the head go past the window heading toward the door. “Oh, shoot! I’m not ready!” Had no idea that so much time had passed.

And when it was my turn to have children I did the same. I bought them books for Christmas. Took them to the library for toddler time. Husband and I read to them every night. Because that is what I was taught. Just like I still iron the shirts and make the bed with hospital corners exactly the way Eileen taught me. When I was young.

books

On the plane

I was not big into censorship. Although I wouldn’t let my younger one read “Precious” a couple of years ago.

I remember I bought a book for one of Annie’s friends for her birthday. Written by a popular author. Plot was about two kids who had lost a parent and become friends with each other. And overcame loneliness. The mom, of the girl, looked at the book and said she would shelve it for now. That they knew someone who had died and it would be traumatic for her daughter to read anything about death.

At first I felt badly. Like I goofed in the gift giving department. But upon reflection I thought about the power of books. Of relating. Books as a friend when other people don’t get you. My gift was age appropriate. It dealt with anger and loss. When I bought it I was thinking that this was an author that the kids all enjoyed. Death was not what shrieked out at me. But the friendship. Just seemed like a good book.

And I, personally, don’t think reading words (fictional or not) about something you are experiencing yourself is harmful. We don’t forget about death or anything else just because we’re not talking about it or reading about it. Most times it is good to read and talk about it. Acknowledge it.

This woman had every right to do what she felt was the best thing. It was her daughter. Not mine.

But Nancy Drew didn’t have a mom. Mandy (one of my favorite books) was an orphan. Pippi Longstocking came from an unconventional home. Anne of the Green Gables? Orphan and loss. Bambi’s mom? Shot and killed. Of course, I could go on and on about the fairy tales. Mom bought me huge books that were loaded with them. Poisonings, jealousy, killing, cruelty, and loss all draped in color and beautiful heroes/heroines. And those are just the books written for young kids!

I loved them all.

Boy, I sure meandered in this posting. I can tell I’ll be posting more on this topic. Prompted by this morning’s article.

Next up, how Rory, unexpectedly, learned about sexual intercourse from a book that I checked out of the library for her. Was not my intention!

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Sometimes I get overwhelmed.

I view all the books out there in the world and know that I cannot read them all. Way too many. And how will my children read, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” unless it is required reading in school? I have checked it out twice from the library in the last decade but I don’t think they ever finished it. There are so many others out there.

The movies! How can I ever finish watching all the old black and white movies when new movies are being produced at astonishing speed. Will my kids ever watch Sidney Poitier’s “A Patch of Blue” like I did during rainy, Saturday film marathons in the finished basement?

Songs. How can I compile a list of my favorite songs? How will my children appreciate music from days gone by and still keep current with all of the new songs that pop (couldn’t resist that pun) up every single minute? There isn’t enough time.

How can we absorb it all???? It’s a lot, isn’t it?

But the biggest worry I have, believe it or not, is words. I fear that my children will not know words.

I have been known to shout out random things to my kids, from the front seat of the car, like, “Do you know what a dumbwaiter is? And no, not the quiet fellow from the restaurant last night.”

A couple of months ago I asked Rory , “Do you know what gridlock and bottlenecking are?”

“Yes, Mom”, she answers.

“How do you know??”

“Because you have told me three times already.”

Maybe it’s more important that they learn words like antediluvian and obsolete. Both of which bring me back to my point.

I am afraid that things will be lost. And that they won’t know what I know. Should they? Is it normal to want your little people to experience and know everything you know? Or is it just too much? Is it just me?

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