Monday, February 7, 2011

I Love Books

I love books.  A lot.  In fact, probably more than a lot. One could say I'm completely enthralled with books. Though I cannot remember a time when I didn't read, I have two very specific memories of reading firsts.

Who Will Help Me?

I remember sitting in my parents' living room reading, (or maybe "reading") The Little Red Hen, one of the umpteen bazillion Little Golden Books* I had as a kid. I was sitting on the green couch, occasionally calling out to my mom** in the kitchen to tell me what a particular word was.
Me: Mom! What's r-e-a-p?
Mom: Reap
There was such satisfaction in reading the book myself; not all that dissimilar than the Hen's satisfaction in eating her bread herself.

I also have a faint, but stirring recollection of receiving a copy of Little House on the Prairie as a gift and the thrill (THRILL!) of getting a whole grown-up book to myself.  I was on to the big leagues. I now had a thick book like my parents read.  No more Little Golden Books for me.  

My first novel
That first novel created a habit that continues to this day.  I read, and read, and read.  I, perhaps like other bibliophiles, can't tell you what it is I like about reading.  I know it's not simply the escape, the sense of language, the art of story, or the sense of community. Books help make up my essence.

I've spent a lot of time mulling over how I want to share the books I read with others.  As a kid I read constantly, but could barely provide the three book reports per term  required in one of my grade school language arts classes.  I still hate writing book reports.  To me, they take the fun from reading the book.   The intrinsic motivation to read is lost; no longer am I reading for myself and my enjoyment and betterment. Instead  I'm reading for someone else, proving that I am, in fact, capable of reading comprehension.  All this to say that I have no desire to write book reports. For the same reasons, I have no desire to write book reviews.  I'm never quite satisfied with my finished product in that respect.

My ponderings have lead me to a solution that I quite like.  Upon finishing the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, I realized the themes that kept me reading were quite different than the theme that arose from the passages I marked while reading.  Therefore, as I write about the books I've read, I'll write about what kept me reading and what caught my attention while I was reading. Hopefully, this will also encourage me to mark the passages I find interesting as I read the book. All to often I find myself enthralled with a passage only to keep going never to return to a fascinating section.

Why do you love books?
I'm looking forward to what these two methods of evaluation illuminate.  I often find to hard to determine what it is about a book that I enjoyed or disliked.  Even now, Watership Down is sitting abandoned while I finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and started The Serpent's Tale. Perhaps (with the aid of a spreadsheet?) I'll be able to determine what I think makes a book readable.

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*The old, hard cover Little Golden Books are also good for building roads and castles for toy cars and tractors.

**I haven't verified this story with my mom, but since she has no memory anyway, she wouldn't be able to confirm or deny it.

1 comment:

  1. Can't say enough how much I love books... The heart made from the pages captures it perfectly.