Monday, October 25, 2010

a timeline of my life as a reader



When I was a child my favorite time of school was Library time. There was something peaceful and yet exciting about walking through  those doors.....One of my favorite memories of books that I read when I was younger was a collection of  Biographies about famous Americans. I always remember referring to them as the "orange" books. During our fourth grade year I am sure that me, Suzy and Darrell read every single one of them.  What I would give just to hold one of them again....sigh....


I also distinctly remember book reports and SRA's. SRA's always freaked me out!!!! After we were finished with our work we would go into the back of  Mrs. Arp's room and pick a card out of a large box. We would read our card and then do the multiple choice questions. Whenever we finished a color we were able to move ahead to the next and they got harder as they went. That was probably the first time I realized I wasn't quite as fast of a reader as the rest of my classmates. We had markers with our names on them to show where we left off. I remember staring at the box seeing my name so far behind everyone elses...oh, how I wanted to be done with Lime Green.... I tried and tried to read faster but no matter how much I wanted it I could never catch up with my friends.


But it's funny, even though I could never read "as fast" as everyone else I believe that their love for reading encouraged mine. My friends would talk about books that they were enjoying and I really wanted to read them too so I pushed through where I might have given up on reading all together if it were just left to me. So although at the time it may have seemed frustrating witnessing them read book after book so quickly it kept me going.....They were my "Carrot"....LOL...


Next was the stage of teen "love stories".... During that time it was me, Elva and Irene. We would read and share books and talk about characters while sitting in Coach Tonn's Science class. Sometimes I wonder what our mom's were thinking letting us read some of that stuff...

Suzy and I were together again during my next phase....Yep, Stephen King....I know good and well that left on my own I would have NEVER even looked at the cover of a Stephen King novel if it weren't for Suzy. But one by one I began laying in bed at night reading my books in a nervous sweat. I am a self proclaimed  "Fraidy Cat". Even now I have no interest in any kind of shows that are suspenseful or graphic or gory.....Nope, none at all, so don't even try to convince me otherwise!!!..I have never watched an episode of CSI or any of those kinds of shows and I really have 0 bit of interest in doing so. (okay except House...but it was a bonding thing with my kids....) Maybe it's because I still have visions of Pet Cemetery ingrained in my brain.....or I can vividly picture the people inside the grocery store in The Mist...aaarrgghhh.....great....now I will probably have nightmares tonight....dang it.......

Then I would assume that pretty much any girl living in the 80's knew the names Chris and Cathy Dollanganger....The characters in the V.C. Andrew book Flowers in the Attic. I love remembering that book until I think about how twisted the plot was and then I get a little nauseous. I think that is when I realized what a vivid imagination I have. I can still recall the pink color of the twins mom's sweatsuit as she came to the attic to check on the children one evening...my memory is insane sometimes. But I also think that my fond memories of the V.C. Andrews era is because that was the first "series" of books that I ever completed. There were 5 books and we would all go crazy until the next one would come out...

After that I took a break from reading for fun for several years. My next phase was probably parenting books. What To Expect When Your Expecting and all that kind of stuff. And then followed by Dr. Seuss and Brown Bear, Brown Bear....(which is still my favorite!!)

Then I got totally enthralled in the whole Left Behind Phenomenon. That was the series that reignited my whole Love for reading again. After that I began reading everything I could get my hands on. Some of my favorites were The Purpose Driven Life, Experiencing God, God Chasers, anything by Max Lucado and all of Francine Rivers books. During that time is when I finally even read the entire Bible....Something that I had always wanted to do and would love to do again. It felt so good and powerful to expand my mind through books again....

Since that time I don't think there has ever been a time without multiple books on my bedside table. I always have atleast one self help book going along with a fiction book and then usually something on organization of some kind...I can't imagine my life without books...

On Friday I went to my very first Book Club. There was a group of 14 women including myself. We read the  the HELP by Kathryn Stockett. It is set in the early 1960's in Mississippi. It is the stories of different colored women who worked in the homes of white families. It was a wonderful book. We each read it on our own and met on Friday to discuss it. Everyone brought a Southern Dish that was mentioned in the book. We had deviled eggs, fried chicken, black eyed peas, okra, caramel cake and of course if you read the book you realize we had to have Chocolate Pie !!! After supper we gathered in the living room for discussion. It was wonderful!! Having conversations with all of these women that come from all different backgrounds was so enlightening. I had the most wonderful evening! At one point I couldn't help but smile to myself. I looked around and realized that out of all of these women not one of them were from my church. They are all Christian women but are from all different churches in our community. The reason I think it was strange is that very rarely do I do things that don't include someone from my church. I was just proud of myself that my circle of friends is widening....I am loving this stage of my life!!

Now that I just finished The Help....(like Friday afternoon at Noodles in Company during my lunch...lol...I felt like I was cramming for a final - I have resolved myself  to the fact that I will NEVER be a fast runner or reader...oh well) I haven't started a new fiction book yet. We haven't decided on a new book for Book Club so I am on my own but I have about a dozen ideas in my head. I have never had difficulty in finding a book. To this day I have the same feeling that I had when I was a child walking through the library doors. Of course now it is Barnes and Nobles but it is the same feeling. I walk in, take a deep breath and my heart starts to beat a little faster. I walk through each and every isle my eyes scanning the titles and touching the covers of the books that catch my eye.....I could sit in one of their comfy chairs with a caramel frappachino and a book for hours (and I have - many times...and I am sure there are many more to come.....lol..)

Today I dream for you...time to read.....time to sit in a comfy chair with a glass of your favorite beverage by your side and be taken away by words on a page...

Have a fabulous day my friends.....

13 comments:

DebDrury said...

What fun!!!!

Neil Parker said...

It's funny that you and I have the same memories involving reading, especially SRA! I had the same thing happen to me with Mitchell and DeLinda. I was always wanting to read on the level that they were on.
As for a new book, I think you should read "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. It's the first in a trilogy about kids that have to compete in a contest for their districts in a new America. Allison and I love it!
Another book that we LOVED LOVED LOVED is "Water for Elephants"by Sara Gruen. It's the story of a young man that becomes a vet in the circus during the Depression. This is one of the best books I have read in the past 5 years. They are making a movie. I hope it lives up to the book, but I doubt it. Love your blog and love you!

Linda Jo said...

Neil...I can just picture you standing at the same box as me - probably stuck in the same Lime Green section....I LOVE those kind of memories.

I just went online and read about the book "Water for Elephants". I have to go to town later and I will have to run by the library and see if they have it. It sounds wonderful...(expect for the fact that I hate circus'...lol - I will blog about that someday...) But it does sound like a great story and I would love to read a book that my brother recommended to me....

Love you so much!!!

kholley said...

Do you remember the night we went to Madison early before the Michael W. Smith, Max Lucado, Third Day concert just before I moved to Iowa? We went that afternoon so that we could spend time at Barnes and Noble. Partly because Max Lucado was going to be there doing a book signing, but partly because we wanted coffee and book time. That was one of my favorite days with you. Love you

Anonymous said...

Great memories, Linda. I remember it all so fondly. I have often wondered if I was the only one, who each time I opened another "orange book", I would just close my eyes and inhale. They smelled so perfectly "bookie". I still do that, walk ...into a bookstore or a library and just inhale; stick my nose in a new book and just breathe. The smell of a book is more alluring than any perfume. Reckon I'd talk like this of I didn't love to read? Doubtful. So from one reader to another who has the shares the same memories of learning to cherish books, we are a dying breed, I think. For that, I thank you for sharing your story of books with all if us. Suzy S

Linda Jo said...

Suzy without you I don't know what my life would be like...(not only with reading....so many more reasons than that...) But it is so true that when I think about us growing up you Always had a book of some kind....You were always the one telling us stories and informing us of things that we should know...I always wanted to be able to read the way you did...I just thank you so much for being that example for me....Love you so very much!!

Anonymous said...

I had to write a paper about my experiences for my Children's Lit class a couple of years ago and I wrote about the Texas Readers Club and those orange books. I remember the books about Wil Rogers and Thomas Edison. The smelled "bookie" because they were 40 years old by the time we got them. Neil P

Linda Jo said...

My favorite was Betsy Ross!!

Linda Jo said...

Kiersten, I definately remember that day. It was so fun. I will never forget meeting Max Lucado...that was wonderful....That was also the day you helped me pick out my coat...I love that so many of my wonderful memories include you!! love You

Anonymous said...

I remember SRA in Mrs. Arp's room too. I agree with Neil, read the "The Hunger Games." Kurt just finished it this weekend and I read a lot of it last night. Very good, interesting book.

A good running book is "I run, therefore I am Nuts" Super funny!

Andi

Anonymous said...

Linda, I appreciate the compliments, but I believe you give me much more credit than is due. Sharing a love of reading was just one more thing we had in common. I wish my memory was half as detailed as yours, because I don't remember the co...lor coded reading process in Mrs. Arp's class at all. My strongest memory from that class is when UIL season came around and how much I loved listening to everyone recite their poetry and story reading (can't even remember what the category was called). One of the boys did "Casey at the Bat" i could have listened to that for hours. As for the orange biographies, my favorite was Clara Barton. Suzy S

Linda Jo said...

Suzy - I read this to Rob and D on our way home from the Choir Concert. Of course I had to tell them my poem from 5 th Grade....Little Orphan Annie.....LOL!! I remember almost all of it.... they were completely impressed.....NOT!! If you want to hear me recite it just give me a call and I will humor you....:-)

Anonymous said...

Holy cow I had completely forgotten about SRAs, and how in the world could I forget about those??? I feel the same way about books. There is something magical a...bout walking into a bookstore and making that selection for your next adventure! I am not a pack-rat, and I will be the first person to throw away anything I am done with, but a book?? NO WAY...I think I have almost every book I have ever purchased! The one thing I am most proud of is the fact that my son loves to read too!
Thanks for the memory! Now it's time for me to go finish my book (trashy novel this week!). Tessa