Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Open Sesame!

Lost in The Great Gatsby. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"An unread book is just a block of paper." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them." ~ Mark Twain
You may have a huge library full of books, but unless you open the cover and read, they are as Fitzgerald says, "just a block of paper." So, where do you like to read?

Nyssa reads anywhere... sitting on the hot tub, in bed, curled up in a dorm room nook, in the back yard on a cold day, in the car and yes, in the bathroom. I'm just glad she has always loved to read.

Reading began early with the classic children's book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Every night we read this book, beginning the first night home from the hospital... "In the great green room, there was a telephone and a red balloon and a picture of...." One of her first words... "moon"; her answer to the question, "What would you like to read tonight?" We branched out to Caps for Sale, When You Give A Mouse A Cookie and others. We bought books and we checked them out of the library, twenty or thirty at a time; reading the classics first and then starting with the beginning of the alphabet and working our way through the children's section. We read fairy tales and Shakespeare plays, poem treasures and Bible stories and when she learned to read on her own The Wind in the Willows, The Chronicles of Narnia and Charlotte's Web. In high school and college she has found a fondness for Virginia Woolf and other modern writers.

We have different tastes in books, my daughter and I. She never gravitated toward some of my favorite childhood reads such as The Swiss Family Robinson, Nancy Drew Mysteries, or The Black Stallion Series. I went through a biography phase and she didn't. I read The Lord of the Rings back in the late 60's before it became a popular read, although I didn't read them in the right order; she hasn't gotten the urge to do so yet.

We both agree that The Giver by Lois Lowry is a must read for older kids, teenagers and adults. (a fabulous and thought provoking book) And I admit that we both love Harry Potter... actually we fought over Harry Potter a few times.

And now armed with my library cardn I can again revisit those classics from Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and others. As I sit with a good book in a quiet space, I travel back in time to an old stone smokehouse off the 100 year old farm house in Illinois where my grandparents lived. I see a chunky little brunette girl sitting in the window seat with boxes of Reader's Digest Condensed Books at her feet and an open book in her hands. She is reading by dim light through the small soot coated window panes, when faintly she hears as if from another time and place.... "Roxanne? Come to supper!! Where is she?" Oh to be that little girl again.
Dear little child, this little book
Is less a primer than a key
To sunder gates where wonder waits
Your "Open Sesame!"
~ Rupert Hughes, "With a First Reader"
Submission for Tuesday Challenge topic "books". (end of post)

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