Thursday, February 19, 2009

Memories of Reading

I don't recall a time that I have not loved to read.

I even remember the first book I "read" by myself when I was about 4 years old. It was the story of a mouse- one of the Little Golden Book books that were popular way back when. I know it wasn't so much me actually reading the words independently, it was really that I had memorized them from hearing the book so many times. And yes, I know that saying I learned to read via memorization goes against the grain of conventional thinking nowadays- we live in a time when phonics are touted to be the only "real" way to learn to read (of course, if you don't read or learn phonetically, you are more or less on your own- but that's a discussion for another day).

I couldn't really say what my favorite reading memory is, there are too many to choose from. I am the person who reads everything, just for the sake of having something to read. I normally read multiple books at a time- all for pleasure. Different subjects- and type- of books serve different purposes.

I recall the first time I read Eugenia Price's Savannah, I was 13 years old and it was Thanksgiving holidays. I remember reading Woodward & Berstein's All the President's Men in 7th grade for a book report project mainly because I wanted to know more about Watergate. I remember a friend turning me on to Victoria Holt's gothic romance novels- yes, everyone goes through a spell.

I know there are books I simply do not like, no matter how many accolades they receive. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, pfftttt... completely overdone. Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone, I wish I could get those moments of my life back spent reading it. All of which feeds my personal credo- "Life is too short to read things which are personally unappealing."

Overall, I would have to say that some of best memories of reading stem from my years working as a Children's specialist with a public library. I shared so many wonderful- and mediocre- books with so many children and teens. I think that being able to share a book with someone and watching them get caught up in the story is one of the best ways of sharing a love of books.

If you ever want a challenge, figure out a way to read and act out Shakespeare in such a way that 4 year olds stay still and 8 year olds are intrigued! Yes, I promise it can be done- but it is definitely not a task for the faint of heart!

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