Monday, November 1, 2010

Thankful : Day 1 - For the Love of Reading

One of the things that I am most thankful for is something that was given to me by my mother. My love of reading is something that I truly believe was planted in me by my mother at a very early age. For as long as I can remember,  my mother always had her head stuck in a book of some kind. My mother read the newspaper every. single. day.  There were books everywhere in our house. I think seeing this from birth until I could understand it, made me curious about it. My mom talks about watching me as a baby, that could only crawl and sit, holding one of her books, with no pictures in it,  in my hands and staring at it, trying to figure out what was so fascinating about it ! LOL  I have a sister who is only 14 months younger than I am and we are very close. We  grew up close to my mother, who raised us as a single mother until my step-father entered the picture when I was 12.  My mother worked very hard to provide for us for many years with no support and reading for her was an escape and a way to relax. I think that me and my sister were drawn to reading as a way to connect with my mother. I have very vivid memories of me, my sister, and my mom, all three laying up in her bed together, all reading a book, in silence for hours upon hours.  We shared books, reading them in succession, so that we could laugh and discuss together. This was a constant in my life.

We had library cards and used them often, I KNEW the librarians at the Ralph Ellison Library Branch and they knew me. Sometimes when my mom had to work at her part time job. She thought nothing of dropping us off on a Saturday at the library for four hours or more, and me and my sister would select our books, check them out, and then find a quiet area to start reading. We would have snacks and sandwiches with us and let me tell you, we were fully entertained ! The librarians would often direct us to new books and make recommendations of things they thought we would enjoy.  After my mom got married and our finances improved, we would often get gift certificates from B. Dalton Bookstore (way before Barnes & Nobles ! LOL) for birthdays and stocking stuffers at Christmastime. We actually got clowned by our cousins when we would squeal with excitement after receiving those gift certificates. Yes we were "bookish" and teased for being "nerds" but we really did not care.

I think literacy is the key to many things. I mean it is the basis of education right ? It opens your mind and broadens your understanding, fosters curiosity among other things. Both me and my sister always did well in school. Honestly, for a long time it came easy for me. I assume that school is probably a bit more challenging for kids that hate to read. I was blessed to graduate as the Valedictorian of my class, however, I am the underachiever, because my sister is currently working on her dissertation to complete her Doctorate. Both my mom and my sister are awesome writers. My mom is actually working on a book that my sister is helping her to edit. I am extremely proud of both of them. Over the years, I have written some poetry and lyrics, but they are truly gifted. I say this to say that I believe that some of the best writers were readers first.  I hear people who say " I hate to read" and honestly, I just don't get it. I know we are all different, so I don't judge, but I just know that if I lost my ability to read, I would be lost. It has always been such a pleasure for me, I can spend hours upon hours with good books, magazines, and even the Internet. Another thing is,  I have a hard time getting rid of books. You know when you are moving and downsizing, and purging. It is really hard for me to let go of books because, they are sometimes attached to a time and place in my life that is meaningful. I  have two large book cases and really am in need of a third one but don't have anywhere to put it. I have been known to re-read books after several years. I don't mind loaning my books, but one of my pet peeves is people who don't promptly read and return books to the owner, or forget that it's yours !

Something that is music to my ears is the sound of my nieces reading. They love books and reading too, and Savannah in particular has great comprehension for her age and both of them have an advanced vocabulary and articulation. Both of their parents teach college level courses and they are going up in a house filled with books and readers so I guess it's no suprise, but I am so glad the gift is being passed on to them.

I am thankful for the ability to read and enjoy it.

What kind of books do you enjoy ? 

Who are your favorite authors ?

Any good books you would recommend ?

Beautifully Complex


Tazzee said...

Like you I love reading. When I was younger it was an escape for me. I ALWAYS had my head in a book. Having settled into my new life, I'm back at it.

I prefer fiction. Mainly Af-Am and Christian fiction but I read all types. I'm almost finished with the Women's Murder Club series.

My favorite author is Pearl Cleage. I think it's because of how she portrays Atlanta. I also like Tannanarive Due and the Tamara Hayle series by Valerie Wilson Wesley. I could go on and on!

Thank God for libraries or I'd be broke!

Beautifully Complex said...

Thanks for the suggestions ! Bloggers seem to always refer me to the best books/authors. I like Pearl Cleage & Valerie Wilson Wesley but haven't read either in a while. I will definitely check out the Women's Murder Club, sounds interesting.

Don said...

Same here, same here @ I can spend hours upon hours with good books, magazines, and even the Internet. Another thing is, I have a hard time getting rid of books. You know when you are moving and downsizing, and purging. It is really hard for me to let go of books because, they are sometimes attached to a time and place in my life that is meaningful.

I love reading so much that I am willing to read just about any genre, especially if I've already read works by said author.

I share a love for sports so I am known to stand in bookstores browsing different autobiographies, magazines, anything pertaining to sports.

Hmmm. Authors - so many, but I always recommend anything Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, John Grisham, Ralph Wiley, Dan Brown, even Sister Souljah & Richard Wright.

I've been an avid reader ever since I read S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders, as a child.

Beautifully Complex said...

@ Don, I read S.E Hinton's Outsiders as a child too ! It's funny how giving a kid a good book, can send them down the path of become a reader.