I Am Jack's Raging Mommy

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Books

I am a reader. There was a year, when I was 11 perhaps, that I read Francis Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess every night before bed. The entire book. I would be thrilled when a new Babysitter's Club book came out, and be done half an hour later. I've always known that others didn't read as fast as I did, it took me a lot longer to realize that there were people who didn't read at all.

What? How is that possible? How many things were better than cracking open a book, either a new venture or an old friend and getting lost in their worlds? In junior high I was already a college level reader, and read anything I could. I read Roots and the unabridged Les Miserables in the seventh grade. I tried reading Wuthering Heights that year as well, but it wasn't until High School that I was able to get into it, and have now read it and Jane Eyre over 15 times each.

This year after seeing all these read 50 books in a year challenges that came out when people were starting to break their New Year's resolutions. Fifty books? Well, that's approximately a book a week. It's a great plan for most people, especially people who have never thought of themselves as readers . This could open a whole new world for them, and maybe I could find some other addicts.



So without setting a specific number goal for myself I made the goal of keeping track of how many books I read throughout the year, and what those books were. Two weeks ago I finished book number 100, Riding The Bus With My Sister. I am now on book number 109. I own over two thousand books, and there are a few I haven't read, mostly non-fiction treatises into different cultural groups. I'’m fascinated by anthropology, but fiction will always be my first love.

I have certain writers I always return to; Orson Scott Card, Maeve Binchy, Steven King, Alice Hoffman, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman round out the top few. These are the books I turn to when in a certain mood, or have read all my library acquisitions for the week. These are the people whose characters and creations I can become so absorbed in, so at home with, that I view them as friends.

It makes me sad when others don'’t have this passion for reading. A teacher I had in the fourth grade complained to my mother that I would read in class when done with my assignments before the other students. My parents removed me from that school system not long after. I had an ex who was so disturbed by how much and how quickly that I read that he would put me down about it. I never understood that hostility, but I did understand enough not to marry him. For a while I was a closeted reader, not telling people how much I read, and not sharing the names of books who had touched me on a deep level. This made me sad, until I realized that being ashamed of reading was preposterous. Now when someone notices I have a different book than the day before I admit I finished the other rather than claiming I gave up on it. When I finished The Dark Tower in less than a day I announced it from the blogtops.

My reading, my love of books and words has played a large part in creating the wonderfully quirky, and trivia filled woman I'’ve become. I'’ve already started in on the boys too. Going to the library is seen as a treat, and book readings are often requested at any given weekend we have visitation with my step-son. We give books to our nieces and nephews, and donate to libraries and book drives.
My greatest dream is the day that all kids beg for books instead of new Game-Boys or PSPs.
Let'’s make it happen.

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