"While we are reading, we are all Don Quixote." ~ Mason Cooley

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hooked on Reading

I became a reader the summer of '63. Not that I'd never read before. Had in school, of course, even got A's in reading. But we didn't have many books around the house. Don't even recall having a library card as a youngster.

Prior to '63, there were only two occasions I remember when I enjoyed reading. The first, when my godmother sent me Ramona, Little Women, and Beautiful Joe for my 12th birthday. The second, in high school when I presented a less than flattering or
sympathetic character study of Mr. Rochester and earned the seldom heard compliments of my stern and critical senior English teacher, Sister Stephen.

I did read some excellent books in college, but I still hadn't become hooked on reading. Then, in June l963, I moved, as a newlywed, to California. A young teacher, I had my first summer off.  Knew no one.  Lived in a small apartment requiring little maintenance. Had only one car, a VW bug that my young husband needed for work. What was a girl to do?  Read.

And did I read!!  Every weekend we would go to the library and select at least 7 new books.  I read Steinbeck, Maughm, Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle.  I reread lit selections because I wanted to, not because they were assigned. I sat by the pool and I inhaled books.
My favorite that summer? Cannery Row.

Over the years, I developed my own library. Novels, of course. Non-fiction for career development. Self-help and inspiration that got me through a painful divorce and a battle with breast cancer. Struggled at times to read a book a week, on a good week two.

Until this summer. Although much has changed since '63 - I have my own car, a larger home that requires greater maintenance, other interests (have discovered drawing, for one) and a husband who enjoys my company, I am also retired. I have a couple shelves of books I haven't read, a Kindle Fire loaded with a few more, and lists of recommendations from two book clubs. So, though I'm not at a book a day, I can head out to the courtyard chaise with a glass of iced tea (or red wine) and any one of the four I do manage to read each week.  I can disappear into the wonderful world of new ideas, fascinating characters, distant times and landscapes - and fond memories of a young woman falling in love with reading that summer of '63.

No comments:

Post a Comment