Are you a book geek like me? All I want to do is read books, and I’ve always been that way.
When I think about the books I read as a child I can remember, almost physically, how some of them made me feel.
Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh, for example. Eleven-year-old Harriet, who lives in New York City, keeps brown notebooks where she writes down everything that’s going on around her. At least I think they were brown; the ones she inspired me to keep were. I wanted to be just like Harriet. I even ate tomato sandwiches like she did.
She and her friend Sport played a game called “Town,” where you make up a town and what’s in it and where. I can remember lying in bed and using the creases of the bedcovers to create my own Harriet the Spy-inspired town. It’s because of Harriet, I think, that I grew up to become a writer.
After I went to bed as a kid, I’d stand on my bed and rest the book on my high windowsill. If there was a moon there was usually enough light to read by.
I would quickly sink back into the bed if I heard my parents coming down the hall.
My grandmother told me I used to set my alarm clock for an hour before I needed to get up for school so I could read. I don’t remember that, and it surprises me now because it turns out I’m not such a morning person.
But I believe it because I do love my books.
What people remember
Decades after moved away from my hometown, I reconnected on Facebook with someone I’d gone to school with. He said, “You always sat against the building at recess and read a book. Now my daughter is exactly like that, and I love it.” I didn’t remember that I used to do that at recess, either, but it doesn’t surprise me. It was fun to hear. Also, I bet I’d like his book geek daughter.
One day a few years back, waiting in line at the bank, I had earbuds in and was listening to an audiobook. When it was my turn, I walked up to the teller while taking out the earbuds. She asked me if I was listening to something good.
“Yes,” I said. I told her I was listening to an audiobook.
“Gone With the Wind,” I said.
She looked confused. “What’s that?” It threw me because I could tell her question was sincere.
“You know, the book. Gone With the Wind.” She looked blank.
“Scarlett O’Hara?” I added. Nothing.
The teller was perhaps 30 years old, and she had never heard of Gone With the Wind.
I still have trouble wrapping my mind around how different our lives must be. Where would I be without books?
I was 13 the first time I read Gone With the Wind. Our neighbors across the street had a huge wall of bookshelves (maybe it wasn’t as big as I remember, but anyway it was great). When Mrs. Huber saw me eyeing them one day, she told me to borrow books anytime I wanted. I did, and I can remember how wonderful it was to take my time reading through the titles. Gone With the Wind was one of the books I borrowed and I spent the summer reading it. I loved it.
So when my daughter was born, I was excited to introduce her to books, too. Books have been a huge part of her life, too.
I’m going to write regularly about my past and present experiences with reading and books here. Here’s a recent post I wrote about books I’ve read lately. If you are a fellow book geek, are looking for something to read, have a child who interested in books (or need ideas for getting them excited about reading), or have any other interest in books, stay tuned.
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