May 7, 2010

To Quietly Turn the Page or Get it at a Click of the Button ...

So, I know that things have been a little crazy regarding posts lately, but this one is a bit more light-hearted!

Moving here to Miami was hard because the structure of the unit we are in does not give us a lot of choices as far as "peers" goes. For me it's not so hard because there is no structure in the spouses world ... that's right, I said it!

Because George has taken command of a smaller element or detatchment, I have been fortunate to get to know some of the spouses well, since there are only 12 of us right now (in our detatchment, not the whole unit.) For the most part, with the exception of one or two spouses, we have become a close-knit group who shares everything from parenting stories to coupon-swapping and everything in between.One of the best things was that I learned one of the spouses was just as much of a reader as I am. Now I don't know if I've said this before, but I AM ADDICTED TO BOOKS!!

Don't really know, why, but I've always loved to read. Maybe it's because as a child in a family of 12 kids, I knew that I'd have to keep myself entertained. So thanks to books,
I have been a princess in a foreign land, a detective on the hunt for a killer. I have traveled the open seas in a ship rocked by towering waves and run the jungle paths with refugees fleeing oppression. I have been a Navy nurse and an Army general –– all while curled up with my favorite pink blanket.

I have lived the adventures of a thousand lifetimes through books. Growing up in a large family, we had two entertainment areas –– in the tree house or our rooms. There was no television, radio, game systems or motorized bikes.

I remember my maternal grandmother made it a point to ensure we went to the local library regularly when we were visiting my mom. Grams was an elementary educator, and family vacations were always educational adventures, from spelunking in caverns to exploring Indian reservations. She encouraged us not only to read, but also write our own stories. She instilled in me a love for adventure, which I relived in the pages of my journals.

My dad and step-mother also took us to the library regularly, because it was one of the few activities we could do on a limited budget. Instead of feeling cheated, I fell in love.

The smell of worn leather, the crack of a new book’s spine opening for the first time and the delicate pages of an old edition –– dreams were made of these. Opening a book for the first time was as exciting as starting a new adventure. I never knew where I’d end up, but I couldn’t wait to get there.

Once my step-mother began home schooling, we went to the library more frequently. We had more time, interrupted fewer people and it was easier for my her to keep track of where we were. Once I picked a few books, I would grab my favorite pink blanket and curl up in one of the overstuffed chairs or on the carpet beside the window with a view of the old oak tree that seemed to be bigger than the small-town library. I would begin reading, falling like Alice in Wonderland, into the world within the worn pages.

I would often get irritated with the sibling tasked to tell me we were leaving. More often than not, the bruises scattered randomly across my legs and arms were from reading while walking, not playing on the farm.

My favorite books were from the Cherry Ames series, a mystery-solving nurse. I also enjoyed stories from the Victorian Era, classics such as Tom Sawyer, and mysteries. I read “War and Peace” in the eighth grade, though I admit, it was a bit complex.
As I grew older, I fell more in love with books. While other girls dreamed of being actresses, dancers and princesses, I wanted to be a writer. I admired those who could make words come to life. If I couldn’t be a writer, I wanted to be an editor, if for no other reason than to be the first to read a story.

Now I still love to read, and have already started reading to Baby Jamie, though I anxiously await the day that I can take him to the library and open up the world of adventure to him too.

Lately, I have been seeing more and more advertisements for the electronic readers ... Barnes and Noble's Nook, Amazon's Kindle ... and while I am excited about the propect of having a world of books right there at my fingertips, I am saddened by the thought of not having the feel of the book in my hands, turning the pages, smelling the dusty old leather or glue of the binding.

I was watching one of those crime shows the other day and they were selling the bookstore of a murder victim. When asked if the store was worth much, the realtor replied, "Not really. With the increased use of internet and electronic reading, bookstores and libraries will soon be a thing of the past."

"How sad," I thought. One day my children will look at bookstores the way that those of my generation look at arcades ... the thought that you had to make and effort to entertain yourself versus having everything come to you, made me wonder if we are creating a better world with all this technology, or just a lazier one. Does anyone under the age of 20 know how to find a book using the Dewey Decimal System? Maybe, I should first ask, do they know what it is?

I haven't decided if I want to get an electronic reader or just hang on to my books for as long as possible, but I still cherish the memories of a childhood "among the stacks".

Until our next cup of tea ...

2 Tea Party Guest:

Isabelle said...

I share your love of books and have enjoyed collecting and reading books ever since I started reading, a long time ago :-) When the kindle came out I remember telling my husband "No way will I EVER get one of those, I love books too much!" Then I went on with my life for 2 years, reading books just like I've always done. Then Stephen King's The Dome came out and while reading it I remember thinking how much easier it would be to read it on a Kindle. I loved the book but it was so heavy that sometimes I felt like it was a workout just carrying it around :-) So I began looking into the Kindle, bought one, and have been in love with it ever since. I still buy books from time to time (ones I really like) and still spend time at the library but I just love how convenient an e-reader is!

PS I have never commented on your blog before but I have been reading it for about a year and I enjoy your writing a lot!

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend The Man Who Loved Books Too Much. It's a must read for book lovers.

I currently work in our post library, and my favorite days are the first time kids ever come to the library. They're always so excited.