Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I discovered this library site last night that allows you to keep track of what books you are reading and even share part of that list on your blog. Oh how happy that makes me!

The list to the side is not even all of the books I'm reading right now. I am also reading : a Moosewood Desserts book (borrowed from the library to make black and white brownies), a spiritual book by Arnaud Desjardin (I highly recommend him if you want a lift) called _Towards the Fullness of Life_, a 900+ page novel about India called _Shantaram_ by Gregory David Roberts, and yet another scrapbooking/art book, _Artful Memories_.

And then there are the magazines... Creating Keepsakes, More, Newsweek, Live Free Learn Free (which hasn't arrived in a while, hmmmm). If I weren't reading so many other things I would have noticed sooner. And all the fantastic blogs!

I once read an article by Sandra Dodd in a homeschooling magazine about the possiblility of books being an escape and about how much learning there is in the world without being dependent upon and holier than though about books. I so agree that books are just one of MANY ways to learn. I had no agenda about when my kids should learn to read and never taught them. They are both reading now, having picked it up, I think, from having been read to A LOT. One boy loves to read (the 6yo) and reads really quickly and then talks about the books for days. The other one prefers listening to books and we listen to lots of them while we drive. I think that you are born with certain tendencies and some people are going to have the propensity to love books and others to love video games or frogs. I don't place a value (for my kids or others') on books as opposed to other forms of entertainment or distraction or learning. Unfotunately, some other people definitely do and i think my non book-loving son pays a price sometimes.

Whether they are my form of escape (one of many) or just one way in which I love to learn, I can't imagine my life without books. My favorite book memories:

-Coming home from first grade and lying on the couch with one of two favorites : Grimm's Fairy Tales and the collected stories of Hans Christian Anderson.

-Reading _The Secret Garden_.

-Going with a friend from middle school to the Boston Public Library to hear S.E. Hinton talk about writing _The Outsiders_. We followed that with a trip to the Harvard Bookstore Cafe where we drank tea and ate croissants and read the shelves' newest childrens' books. I think we both thought we might end up writing for kids. I still do.

-Reading Ruth Flanagan's (same girl from above) copy of _East of Eden_. She read it first and wrote all kinds of cool things in the margins. She knew I was reading it next so they were written to me, about the book but with lots of good boy gossip and doodling thrown in. I wish I still had it.

-Going to amazing old bookstores in NYC and browsing for an hour at a time, sometimes more, in the dusty aisles. I missed two auditions by doing this. I was supposedly in NYC to be starting my career as an actress, not as a reader/book lover. Escape...

-Reading Shakespeare, in college, with an amazing professor - John Hunt, once I'd left NY and decided to go to UMass.

-Reading _A Prayer for Owen Meany_ by John Irving, while escaping homework in college.

-Reading the Harry Potter series to the kids. We all love the story and I'm getting to use my acting training again. I went mute for a few days while reading one of the earlier books as a result of my Dobby (the house-elf) voice.

-Hearing the Little House on the Prairie series in the car with the kids. It's so surreal to be in traffic, surrounded by cars on a highway, listening to how far Laura and Mary Ingalls are walking to school .

So I like my book list to the right. I'll move it further down on the page once I figure out how, and I'm not in any rush. There's a book critic, a librarian and a book store/coffee house owner in me and for now they are being tamed by my book list.

Anyone have a favorite book story? The book can be the hero or the villain.


littlepurplecow said...

I LOVED "A Prayer for Owen Meany"! As a child, the "Diary of Anne Frank" weighed heavily on my soul. I'm attracted to non-fiction and stories of individuals who have lived colorful and sometimes painful lives. I just finished "The Color of Water" - a beautiful tribute of an African American man to his white Jewish mother. Quite a story.

Madeline said...

I love both of the books you mentioned. I remember finishing Diary of Anne Frank on Thanksgiving Day, when I was about ten or eleven and not wanting to put it down to go have the dinner.

Thanks for commenting Stephanie.

kelli said...

I also loved reading Owen Meany. I remember reading it in college too. I was very struck with the sadness but also the light shining through too.

Just yesterday I had a book moment. We were watching the new Charlotte's Web on dvd. And I was noticing how I was comparing the voice of Charlotte (Julia Roberts this time) to the old cartoon. And that got me to remembering the book being read to me in elementary school. Sitting in the library for library time, listening to Charlotte's Web. How I loved being read to :) (still do ;)

Madeline said...

Ah, E.B. White. Did you ever read _Trumpet of the Swan_? so good. As is Charlotte's Web. I so think of Debbie Reynolds voice as Charlotte. I can't imagine Julia Roberts' in that role.

As for Owen, I sometimes have moments when I think I am learning something or other (like he did the basketball move) in order to use it in the future in a big, destined manner I can't yet imagine - good for moments when the learning is hard!