Friday, April 23, 2010

Will Work for Books

"Give me books, or give me death!"

I'm pretty sure that is a famous quote. Or at least it should be. It sums up how I feel, for sure. My mom recently posted a photo album on her Facebook page titled "Retro Family", in which she scanned and uploaded dozens of old family photographs, many of which I'd never before seen. I thought it was so cute how many there were of me as a little girl, with a book in my hands.

I clearly remember my love of Nancy Drew. I was seven and eight, and we lived on the banks of the Delaware River in a house called Rivercove. I remember how the mysteries swept me away and hours would go by unnoticed while I was immersed in my books. Sometimes I would sit in my little white chair and read them aloud, to a make-believe audience enraptured with the tale, as families of old would be, as they gathered around the prized radio listening to weekly installments of favorite broadcasts.

Then I had an obsession with all books written by Beverly Cleary. I would go to the school's library (which was also the public library) and check out book after book, working my way through the tales of Ramona, and Beezus and Henry, and the Mouse with his motorcycle. Such an inflated-deflated feeling once I had read them all.
But I didn't exclusively enjoy fiction. My mother taught me to love poetry and rhythms, and my dad to think in rhymes, symbols, and double meanings. My mom had a whole repertoire of poetry with bouncy meters suitable for entertaining children, and she often quoted those sing-song poems and enticed us to memorize them as well.

I also have always turned to nonfiction wherever my curiosity drives me. When I was in junior high, my curiosity had me wrapped up in forensics, and I read book after book about fingerprinting, ballistics, and crime scene investigation. I've got books to thank for most of my knowledge about horticulture, vegetable gardening, music, herbal healing, homeschooling, parenting, health, yoga, positive thinking, marriage, communication, homemaking and housekeeping, and finance, even though I have real-life experience with all of those things as well. Books paved my way. Reading opened my eyes.

I grew up in a reading family. Books were prized and revered, but they were also available and accessible, and shared. We were gifted books on holidays and birthdays. My mother read aloud to us, and both of my parents were avid readers with piles of books by their bedside. That love of books and reading is one of my favorite inheritances from them. I have sought to pass it on to my own children.

So today is Friday, the last day of my week-long Spring break. I had so many busy goals for the week, but when given any kind of free time or break from routine, I should know by now that I'm really only going to read. I'm reading a fantastic book recommended by my friend, Luisa, Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers, by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. and Gabor Mate, M.D. that has really widened my understanding of the importance of parental attachment in raising children. It will definitely be a re-read, and a re-re-read. I highly recommend it, as Luisa did.

I'm finishing up books here and there that I've started and not finished. I'm reading cookbooks and cooking magazines. I'm reading my scriptures. I'm reading old journal entries. I even bought a few new books which I'm anxious to delve into. I dream of a house with walls lined in bookshelves. Filled with books I love. I just can't get enough.

You understand.


Abby said...

Awww're the cutest! And so so right about everything you wrote about. Our parents really did a great job, didn't they? I think so.

One thing that I loved that they did..was to pay us for memorizing poems, scriptures, and order to earn a little Christmas spending money. I think little tricks like that are what helped us all get awesome roles in plays haha..I *never* had a problem remembering my lines. :)

Don't forget about how musical we all are! We might not *sound* great..but it's never stopped any of us from belting out a song no matter where we are. I love our family! :)

And I love you.

isshou ni said...

LOVED the Nancy Drew books, too. I think I read them ALL. I also have read the "Hold on to your Children" book and I agree that it is a must read for every parent in today's society! I love, love, love to read as well!

Sarah said...

I have never been much of a reader. In the past several years of found myself envying my mom and sister for their love of reading. Not just that but it's something they have in common that I don't. So I feel like I'm missing out.

My kids enjoy reading and I'm hoping it sticks. Alyssa is currently going through the Beverly Cleary phase. We found her a couple of books at Savers last week and she was so excited!

Speaking of journals though, I've got about 5 journals from when I was 12 through when I met and dated Josiah. In the last few weeks I've been going back and reading through those. My earlier ones I've been reading to the kids and even Josiah has sat in and listened for a few entries. We've gotten some good laughs at how dorky I was, but I'm really glad I kept them all. My girls have recently started keeping journals and I'm glad it's something I can share w/them!

Sorry for such a long comment! I should have just emailed you!!

Braden Bell said...

Jenna, I am so with you! My dream is to have large study with book lined walls (one of which being a secret panel that opens--a legacy of reading Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew). I can't sleep unless I have at least a few minutes to read each night. When I was working on my dissertation, I'd write all day and then unwind by staying up and reading an entire Agatha Christie novel all night.

Happy reading (and I hope my book is one you enjoy!).

YogaNana said...

"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

Wait til you see inside this house! :o)


Luisa Perkins said...

Books were my first love; I'll never stray!