Thank God for Harry Potter books, Oprah Windbag’s book club, Kindergarten, Bob Books, The Mighty Signal and my mom stretched out along the couch. Some are reasons I love to read, some for my little cherub and the remainder may be for the rest of you that have tried to escape.
One of our wannabe movie-star clients came in with the latest Harry Potter, instead of a script, tucked neatly under her size two tricep. I asked her how she liked it and she practically cooed. When I ask someone how they like a book it’s not just to make conversation, I earnestly want to know so I don’t base all my choices on bestseller lists or pretty dust jacket promises.
While stairmastering at the gym I was forced to watch Oprah’s book club, in mute, appear to be reciting a current favorite, then, I thought I made out several well-known authors discussing said book in round table discussion. Much like a book club at our local bookstores. I was fascinated. Although my mother grimaces when I choose one of these books usually, but not always, I can get something out of them. What it’s proven to me is that there are resources everywhere for book selections. And, I remind my mother, it’s important just to read anything.
Samantha started kindergarten two weeks ago and nestled in the plethora of paperwork Mrs. Bingham sent home was a reading list. Not a list of what to read but a blank list numbered 1 to 25 or so for me to fill in (with encouragement to write more on the back no less.) At open house a few nights ago I pinned Mrs. Bingham down, “Kids like repetition, how does Sam get credit for reading a Caldecott winner (again choosing books based on the promises on the cover) like “Make way For Ducklings” twice a day for a week?” She told me to write that down on the list and quickly moved over to another parent who was in a panic for never getting the list because it is due, filled out, before September first.
And then to my utter astonishment, Sam read, and not from memory, one of those easy Bob Books! Was it due to reading The Mighty Signal in front of her at breakfast every morning? Stopping every now and then to read a cartoon, her horoscope or a column about a mountain lion sighting in Saugus? (I was so tickled when we read Saturday’s in bed and she ran off to come back with a Disney catalog to “read” as well.) Was it because my mother has been stretching across my couch, sister Charlotte’s and her own for over forty years, the last five while Samantha played at her feet?
In a staff meeting years ago I pestered my bosses into inviting a stress management therapist to speak. She spent the first few minutes “interviewing” the staff, getting to know them by asking the last book they read. She didn’t learn much from them on that subject because not many could remember the last book they read. Now maybe it was so long ago Harry Potter and Oprah’s book club didn’t hit the mainstream yet. But Liza, one of my favorite co-workers still working through college, was the only one that had read anything—outside of her schoolwork mind you—which she easily recalled. It was a bit astonishing, what with people’s busy lives there are plenty of excuses, but a bit disconcerting as well as these are the same people with young children at home. I felt sorry for all of the kindergarten teachers out there battling this. And I starting exchanging books with Liza.
I did go through that terrible teen time when I would only do the opposite of the things my mother did, say from thirteen to twenty-five—and resisted reading. But, like coming around to hiking with mom all these years later, I worry that I missed a lot of reading in my younger days. Now I feel like that old Twilight Zone episode when Burgess Meredith embraces the fact that the world has been destroyed because now he has the time to read all the books he’s ever wanted to. Then he breaks his one pair of prescription glasses and is left whimpering on the broken concrete stairs up to the massive library.
Don’t let that happen to you! Just keep a novel, autobiography, self-help book on your nightstand. One in your purse. One in your car. If you see me reading, while dangerously crossing Riverside Drive, honk if you’re reading at the stoplight! Maybe we can start the next craze as people start putting down their cellular phones and listen to books on tape in their cars instead.
Special note: Thanks to our local Vibe Performing Arts Studios and Darrin Newhardt for presenting a Summer Showcase that kept me choking back tears. The lively youngsters included: Caitlin Hearn (This Little Light of Mine), Meagan Moore (My Favorite Things), Chelsea Bogart (Reflection), Samantha Bushman (Do-Re-Mi), Sarell Diamond (I Whistle A Happy Tune), Cathleen Argonza (Can’t Help Lovin that Man), Melissa Cooper (Can You Feel the Love Tonight), Kiley Wolfenstein (I Whistle a Happy Tune), Casey Cornejo (Reflection), Taylor Rouch (Let ‘Er Rip) and Lisa Tenorio (Memory).
And, if there’s a tiny space left to print, congrats to Coffee Kiosk boy Brian who is no longer bachelor #1 for SCV, he’s gone off and gotten married, who’ll be next to lessen the ranks?