Wednesday, June 16, 2010

books, not a review...

I confess....I still have the little certificate that my fourth grade teacher gave out (well, my mom does). At the end of the year, she handed out certificates (pre-printed, filled-in ones they must no longer sell in computer days) to each student. Mine said "Class Reader."

I don't recall being encouraged to read, but I also don't recall needing encouragement. As I've mentioned before, the same teacher set a five book monthly goal for me when the rest of the class had a two book goal...and it was never a problem. I had the same lousy immune system as a kid so missed a decent number of days of school (would have likely been a concern had I not been a strong student) and often spent the day in bed reading.

I was an English major. For a while, I had delusions of a PhD. I realized, however, that delving too much into literary theory just sapped the joy out of books. I enjoyed reading and talking about books, but the true "discipline" of literature drained me. And I wasn't good at it. My senior thesis was a draining experience....though I still like my title: "Restoring Lavina's Tongue: Shakespearean Silence from Nullification to Communication."

On a related note, there were a number of books that I feel like I was supposed to love but simply did not. I hated Pride & Prejudice. I barely recall Jane Eyre or Little Women. I appreciate its historical significance but could barely make it through Uncle Tom's Cabin. I never did get through Heart of Darkness. I was never assigned any Dickens so I picked up Great Expectations on my own...blech. I tried Pickwick Papers...snore.

On the other hand, as one of my recent reading of Scout, Atticus, & Boo reminded me, I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. I also loved Fahrenheit 451. I fell into the world of Mill on the Floss (though haven't reread it). All English grads at my college tackled Ulysses. I think I liked it...but I may just like having survived it. On the non-school side, my copies of The Red Tent and Middlesex are revisited regularly.

In general, I am pretty far from materialistic. I don't wear jewelry, I don't need fancy clothes, I don't collect anything, I don't covet a fancy car. But I like OWNING my books. I want them to be MINE. I'll lend them out, but only if I know they will return. I appreciate the convenience but can't fathom an E-Reader. I want the weight and the feel of a book (paperback...hardcovers are too unwieldy and pricey). There was a tee-shirt in my college bookstore with a line on it about using money to buy books and using the leftovers to buy food. Okay, so I'll totally spend for food (and wine), but books are up there on the list.


Shay-Zee said...

Our local library had a 3-week checkout period and, as a kid, I would have to get 5-6 books to make it through that time. I kind of miss being able to motor through them like that.

Anonymous said...

I too love books and have more than 1500 hardback volumes. Switched to kindle because I can easily read a book a day while on vacation so it worked well. Also ran out of room. I am a much more eclectic reader preferring escapist literature. Probably a reflection of my day job.