Posts Tagged ‘reading’

It’s Saturday.  No, you haven’t lost your mind. I’m writing this on Saturday even though you’re reading it on Monday.

It’s Saturday and it’s cold, more than cold—frigid.  This morning it was -7 F and felt like -14.  If we can make it until Sunday, it might be 30, a heat wave in these days of sub-zero temperatures, both real and with wind chill.  We have snow, but it’s too cold to go out to properly enjoy it.  I even drove the few blocks to the salon for my every-six-months-or-so haircut.

It’s Saturday and I’m faced with a delightful dilemma:  which book should I read next?*  In the spirit of supporting our local library to the best of my ability and to feed my need to read (oooo, I love the sound of that phrase), I usually have 15 or more books checked out and 40-50 on hold, many of which haven’t come out yet.  Don’t you just love the ability to do that?  Our library has a “Best Seller” list that offers a plethora of categories, including “Adult Fiction” and “Adult Non-fiction” under the headings of “Just Arrived” and “Coming Soon.”  Just click “Hold.”  That’s like crack to an addict. (more…)

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My name is Janet and I’m an addict.

Yesterday I owned up to one addiction.  Now I admit I have another, of earlier origin.

My parents introduced me to my drug of choice before I could even use it myself and fed it to me daily. My mom read aloud to me and my brother every day.  I “read” to myself or my brother once I knew the stories, turning the pages when I knew I’d reached the time to do so, reciting the stories by memory.

Eventually, I began to self-medicate, checking out books from the library.  I knew where on the shelves all my favorite books and series were, mostly about horses.  I was allowed to buy Scholastic paperback books from the order forms at school and couldn’t imagine a home without books and, at that time, newspapers.  When my mom taught at a predominately minority school in Omaha and told me some children had no books, I went through those paperbacks to donate some of my bounty. Even now, when I enter a home where I see no books or magazines, I wonder about the people who live there.

Before I got a library card in the nearest town, when we went on vacation to Wyoming during the summer, I took grocery bags of books along so that I would hopefully not run out during the time I didn’t spend outside.  Home schooling our girls gave me the perfect excuse to buy even more books.  I got each of the girls their own library card so that I could check out more than the 50-book limit on mine. Once the librarians got to know me, they didn’t worry about the limit. The treats I brought them at Christmas helped, too.

The opening of the first Half Price Books in Cleveland not far from our house saved us thousands.  I try now to declutter, going through the boxes of books that are still with us, but the books have an uncanny habit of sticking to my fingers and ending up back in the boxes.  What I really need, I realize, is a room for a dedicated library.

Speaking of libraries, I believe them to be one of our nation’s greatest treasures and a tax levy increase for them is the only tax increase for which I’ll vote.  I even persuaded my husband to vote for the last one.

The argument about whether books or e-books are better is to me ridiculous.  While I prefer real books, how can I revile something that allows me to carry a thousand or more books with me with ease while traveling, even overseas?  I want to read and I want others to read and whatever means feeds that is fine with me.

I’m addicted to reading.
I decline intervention.
I seek to addict others.

I’m off to bed to read my current book because, with some exceptions, I subscribe to the following idea:

“A half-read book is a half-finished love affair.” 
~David Mitchell

May you have a completed love affair with a good book this weekend!

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As I write this, I’m a little under the weather, with a sore throat and the sort of runny nose that doesn’t run enough to keep blowing it but just enough to be both annoying and irritating, to the throat as well as to me in general. I went out for some of the weekly food specials, then came home, filled a cup with hot water, lemon, and honey, and sat down to relax and choose a book.

Therein lies my dilemma.

I scored the latest Dick Francis book yesterday. The books are now written by Dick’s son, Felix, as they have been since Dick died in 2010 at almost 90 years old. Although he and his son had been writing together for some time, I was crushed, supposing that the long line of horse racing-related mysteries that I enjoyed would be at an end. Fortunately not. Felix, who had evidently been collaborating on the books for a long time before his name also appeared on the cover, has continued writing and, to my mind, as well as his father.

But this isn’t about recommending Francis’ books (by either author or both, although I do.) It’s about finding out how you choose the order in which to read your books and how you go about reading the book you’ve chosen.

When you go to the library, or bookstore if you’re wallowing in money, and come home with a stack of new books by favorite authors as well as new ones that caught your eye, which do you read first? Do you scarf or savor? Do you grab the one most appealing to you and dive right in? Or do you choose other books first, letting the thought of that special book simmer in your mind and heart, anticipation building for just a little longer??

Once the choice is made, the next big decision is how fast you’ll read it. I happen to be a fast reader, so sometimes I deliberately try to read slowly, to savor and to keep from reaching the end too soon. On the other hand, when the book is good, I want to get to the end, find out “who dunnit” or who ended up with whom. Sometimes I enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I figured it out. Sometimes I’m taken by surprise.

Oh, yes. Don’t forget the last big decision…do you peek at the ending? Come on, tell the truth. My husband does this all the time. I do it rarely, but sometimes I just have to know if my guesses are right.

Ultimately, though, the end result is the same. You finish, hopefully happy and replete, take a moment to savor the fullness…

and then (unless you’ve just read the last book in a long series hitherto unknown to you and can now go back and start at the beginning), the year-long wait for the next book begins!

So what about you?  Do you scarf or savor?

Do you re-read books?

I assumed that re-reading books was normal, but I’ve learned that there are many people who only read a book once.  After that, they never check it out again from the library or, if they own the book, it goes to the used bookstore, to the library sale, or is passed on to a friend or relative.  I’d like to think that few books are so awful that they deserve to be thrown away, but I’ve sadly learned that’s a false hope.

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When I began blogging just over two year ago, one of the first posts I read in my manic search through WordPress blogs asked whether you prefer e-readers or books. There were lots of responses and more keep showing up even months after the original post, mostly in favor of books.  Just today on Facebook, there was a thread about the same thing, with people who like “real” books best the most vehement.  I find myself shaking my head and wondering why the discussion continues.

I’ve been a certified, or possibly certifiable, bibliophile from the time my mom read aloud to us.  I knew where every horse book was at the library branch we used.  I ordered books from Scholastic book club and was shocked to hear that there were not only children, but families at the school where Mom taught for several year who didn’t own a singe book.  I gave some of my precious books to her to give to some of the children.  After all, we didn’t have much money, but we always had books.

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When I went backpacking in Europe for almost a year in the mid-seventies, I had to find English books or magazines wherever possible.  Thankfully people left them at hostels or B&B’s and shared them with fellow English-readers.  Once in awhile I spent some of my precious money on them at the rare bookstore with books in English.  Before I got a library card in the Wyoming town where we go for vacation each year (we really go to the mountains near the town, but the library’s in town), I used to haul two or three bags full of books along in the van to avoid that fate worse than death–running out of reading material.  Even when spending most of the day outside on horseback or hiking, there’s always time in the morning or evening for reading.

So when Bill got me a Kindle some years ago, I was quick to see the advantage.  I could carry literally thousands of books with me wherever I went.  All I had to do was to be sure to also carry the charging cord and, if necessary, an adapter.  How could that be bad???

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Yes, I like to read “real” books.
Yes, I love the smell of books.
Yes, my library card is one of the most valuable cards I own and new taxes for libraries about the only ones I’ll vote for.  Our library system is a treasure; a place where you can find out almost anything you want and learn practically anything, all for no cost.  (Yes, I know taxes are a cost, but you know what I mean.)
Yes, I have boxes and boxes of books in the basement in our rental house and hope one day to have a room to serve as a library.
Yes, I have piles of books in the living room and elsewhere. Isn’t decorating with books always in?

BUT…and that’s a big but…

what’s not to like about being able to read on an e-reader?

No, I don’t like having to buy books and no, I don’t like that e-books are getting to be rather expensive, they can’t be given away, sold to Half Price Books or donated somewhere when I’m finished with them (provided they’re some of the rare books I want to get rid of.)

I like to read. Period. Whatever book or device helps me to do that with the least amount of effort is in my book (so to speak) great. Who says we have to choose? Why should owning an e-reader not be a great thing and owning books a great thing? They both have their place and that place is, as the ad says, anywhere I want to be.

And guess what? E-readers contain books. I know it’s a shock, but it’s true. They have the same words as if you held the literal book in your hands. The pages just turn differently.

Book or e-reader? Bring ’em both on!
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