Books Breathe Life

I have always been a reader. Books breathe life. My mother, the librarian, never told me there was a book I couldn’t read… a trip I couldn’t take… an adventure I was not ready to experience. I remember there was an uproar at my super-conservative Christian elementary school when my sixth grade teacher, Mr. D., chose to read Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ aloud in class. A number of parents did not approve. I know this because my mother was on staff. She was working as an assistant librarian in the school at the time and, if I recall correctly, neither mom nor dad had a negative reaction to this news. Already reading on a higher secondary school level, I’m quite sure I’d read far worse. That introduction to Poe, by the way, started a love affair with the master of macabre that still exists.

Today my “to read” list had become ridiculously out of control. Those books that have been purchased or acquired… are actually mocking me. Single motherhood has taken a toll on this aspect of my life. I present to you Exhibit A:

This, my friends, is just a small sampling (aka: ones that fit in single photograph). Currently, I am reading Hood by
Stephen R. Lawhead and I bought it months ago. Months. I need to get on it because the second and third books in that series are waiting for me to purchase them and be added to the ever-growing stack.

I’m also in the midst of reading the
Fablehaven books by Brandon Mull… out loud to my boys. Yes, I am aware that they are 14 and 9. They read more than a little better than most of their peers, but I enjoy reading to them. They learn about tone and inflection and dramatic pause from listening to me read. We enjoy discovering stories together. The last book we read as a family was the most exquisite Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. We laughed together. We sat in suspense together. We cried together. If you have older children… you should try it.

My personal reading list also suffers a bit of sabotage from a little personal edict I have about reading what my boys are reading so I know what is going into their little minds. Truthfully, they are leaving me behind. I’m not so concerned about Little K, but the teenager is another story. In an effort to keep up I finally shoved 'The Chronicles of Narnia' and 'The Lord of the Rings' in his hands in order to give me a chance to read something other than what he is reading. Tolkien slowed him down… albeit briefly.

I am pleased that my existing want-to-read catalogue is more frivolous (read: brain candy) and less taxing on the mind than usual. Shallow? Maybe. Self preservation would be more accurate. I find terribly deep thoughts tedious lately. There are far too many of them in my life at the moment (Hello, Madame Insomnia) which has forced me to not-so-subconsciously veer away from meatier reading fare. There is only so much one brain can take.

Yes, I am still a reader. I am by no means a great reader. Not any more. It is a luxury. I have not the time to devour novels as I once did. I have to be content with a couple of pages read in the waiting room of the doctor’s office or snuck in during Little K’s soccer practice. I’m sure my reading list will continue to grow, but letter by letter… word by word… chapter by chapter… books will keep me breathing.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~Anna Quindlen

12 comments:

  1. We have an entire bookshelf overflowing with "to read" books. And then our favorite bookstore is going out of business? More books. Library booksale this weekend...more books. It's like crack.

    We're currently reading Neil Gaiman's "Odd and the Frost Giants" to our 4-year-old. Just finished a John Belairs book. We're saving Tolkien 'til next year. Though we do happen to own a graphic novel rendition of "The Hobbit" that we've read to him. I'm not looking forward to the day we're fighting over who gets to read the new book first--already deal with that with his dad!

    I think a life long love of reading is one of the most precious gifts we can give our children.

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  2. I have found that most of my books are brain candy too. I guess I have enough going on in my life to think about with out adding too it. Are you on Goodreads.com? If so add me as a friend. Have you read the lightnening thief books. They are just as good as fablehaven and I think you and Kenny would like the Tapestry: the Hound of Rowan Series (Coltic Mythology)

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  3. Love your blog!
    I also love to read and wish I could do it all day,too bad now that I am getting older my eyes seem to tire quicker!
    I read everything and anything,as of now I am reading Vince Flynn series,my inlaws love to read and whatever they are done with they give to me,lucky me!

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  4. There is an old vintage book store a few blocks from me. When you go in there, this incredible aroma of old books just suddenly hits you.

    I often see newly delivered boxes of second hand books in this guy's front entrance, and think "I really need to cull some of my older books -- maybe this is the place to bring them." But of course, that never happens.

    BTW, your teenager may have been slowed down at a bit by Tolkien...but I bet he emerged even stronger for the experience! So he has an even greater edge over you now, my dear! :-) ~John

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  5. Dori ~ Ah! We introduced Big K to Chronicles of Narnia at age 5 or 6 via a graphic novel version. It's a good plan! It works!

    Desiluhu ~ Picked up the Tapestry book tonight whilst browsing... and I hadn't read this yet. =) I didn't buy it, but probably will do! Not on goodreads.com. Should I be?

    LOUDnProud ~ Thanks you! Awesome to have you visit. I promise to return the favor sometime this week! =)

    John ~ I love the smell of books. Used book stores make me happier than the mainstream. Yes, the teen emerged a stronger reader. He had an English teacher last year that wouldn't let him give up Tolkien when he hit "the hard parts." I love teachers!

    Bragging moment: We received his standardized test scores for last year and he scored in the top 3% in the nation on reading comprehension. W00T!

    Confession: I bought another book tonight. Le sigh.

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  6. Oh I hear ya on the list of books that you have not been able to read. I too was an avid reader at one time (key word ~ was) then I had my daughter, and being a single mother, I simply cannot relax enough to enjoy one these days.
    My insomnia is here in full force as well, and I also find myself reading magazines and the like because I just can't handle anything to deep or thought provoking.

    ((hugs)) to you darlin, in hopes you get your groove back, and that insomnia fairy get's kicked to the curb.

    Michele

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  7. I love books and libraries too and like you was always ahead w/regard to reading level. I used to think maybe I should slow down buying books until I caught up reading them but I decided it's really great to have a stock at home that you can choose from when you get time to read one right?!

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  8. Michele ~ Yes, there is many a trade we single parents make... giving up this in order to give our children that. Time included. It's worth it. Oh, devil bitch insomnia. I wish her on no one! May you find some sleep as well.

    Lisa ~ I quite obviously agree or I would stop myself from entering bookstores or logging onto Amazon. =) Perhaps if I had a decent library in this town... Alas!

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  9. I'm usually reading about 3 books at a time (not counting what I'm into at work), and I still understand what you mean about it being a "luxury." I'll never have time to read everything on my list, either. Maybe the next go'round I'll catch up a little :)

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  10. Jake ~ A luxury it is. I used to do the multiple book thing. Usually a novel, something biographical or historical and one that merely intrigued me. In college, as an English major, it was more than that. Now? Sigh. I guess I'll read when I'm old.

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  11. I forgot to tell you I changed my blogspot--nothing from my old days was clicking anymore.

    So I dug into my deeper roots.

    My new blog--really my old one with a new title is

    http://crowgrinned.blogspot.com/

    --Jake

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  12. Interesting story as for me. I'd like to read a bit more concerning that theme. Thank you for sharing that info.
    Sexy Lady
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    ReplyDelete

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