Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Growing up I had a plethora of reading material. I looked forward to the Readers Digest and the National Geographic every month. My parents had a ton of books and more that came in when they joined a book club. Because of that I read Red October and Toy Soldiers before they were movies. 

I loved the set of encyclopedias they had. The Egyptian section was full of information with colorful and interesting pictures to support the words. I'm not sure if man had gone to the moon yet in that particular set. The outdated information didn't stop me from loving the weight, the smell and the feel of the books. 

My parents had two newspaper subscriptions. I was a normal kid, I started with the comics. I would read the whole thing eventually.

I remember with fondness the summer I read the entire Dune series at the local library. I can remember the first person who told me to read the Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy. To say reading has had a positive effect on a young mind would be an understatement. 

I don't always have time to read like I used to. With age my eyes get tired sooner. They will water and twitch, their way of demanding I put the book down. It's a struggle for me when the book is an interesting one. I'd rather be wiping away and rubbing to find out what happened next. 

My books are still in storage. I have a few out that got put in some odd box or other or they are recent purchases. My husband picked up a nice shelf unit on the cheap (yeah! cheap.) and I look forward to hitting the storage and getting out at least a couple of boxes. I'm gleefully planning which books I'll put out first. I think I'll keep my eye out for the Disc World books and certainly the Harry Potter. Whatever else is in the box will get a coveted spot.

Today I had a converstaion with a couple of pediatric health professionals. We were discussing summer plans for our children and I mentioned reading my youngest has done. It was mentioned how nice it is to hear there are books in the house.  They mentioned how some houses don't have books, that the kids are playing video games or wandering the street because that is all there is to do. They don't have various outlets for their interests and don't even consider the library. I said out loud without hesitation, "Oh. That makes me sad."

I can't imagine how empty my life would have been without books around. They are an all over sensation from feel, to smell to mental stimulation. I don't think my kids could understand how important books where. Now they don't have to wait for a movie to come to town, (the smaller the town the longer the wait was) or for the library to open for research. Those encyclopedia's were life savers a couple of times because I didn't get down to the library that day. Reading was my reason to stay up late, my entertainment because it was Sunday and only golf was on TV on all THREE channels, a good reason to be inside on days from very cold to over a hundred for the third day in a row. There's only so many times you can build a snow fort or hang out at the pool before it gets old. A book always had something new to offer, a new place to experience, or a different way to look at life. It was my portable entertainment.

I feel bad for those kids out there who have never wandered over to a book shelf to browse to find a new and interesting world to occupy for a time. Every kid should get that at least once in their lifetime.

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