One of my favorite parts of babysitting is the required reading. The kids are required to read t least twenty minutes a night, which means I also get to read for twenty minutes while I’m there. Usually I stretch it to at least twenty-five or thirty, just because I’m so engrossed in whatever I’m reading that I don’t want to stop to go back to whatever we were doing before reading time started. It’s fascinating watching them read, too. They always fight it at the beginning – ALWAYS. It’s a hardcore struggle to get them to get a book and sit in a chair or couch. They whine, and drag their feet, and attempt to bargain with me about exactly how long they have to read, or try to convince me that they don’t have to read because they totally read at aftercare. But once they see me settle in with my book, they get settled in with theirs, and they get so wrapped up that they don’t hear the timer go off or notice me get up to fix their dinner or hear me call their names when it’s time to eat. They mutter that they’re just going to finish this paragraph or page or chapter because it’s really really good right now and they’ll be there in just a second. Tonight, when I announced it was time for bed, they even both asked if they could sit up in bed and read while they waited for their father to get home. Ploy to stay up past their bedtime or not, it made me ecstatic inside to see them reading of their own volition rather than being forced to it like a dog to the vet. It makes my heart swell with joy, and just a little bit of pride. Both their parents have told me that it makes them really happy that I love to read so much and so openly, because they like having a good role model for the kids. I like to think that me being so into reading has at least a little, tiny bit to do with them getting more and more into it. It makes me eager to have my own kids so I can introduce them to books and read to them and introduce them to all the magical worlds and friends that I so adore. And, oh, yes, I am essentially bouncing up and down in my chair from excitement as I type this. You’re just jealous.
Category Archives: Sharing The Love
Last summer, I read The Bluest Eye. Now I’m reading Beloved. Never in my life have I read more depressing books–somehow Morrison’s words wiggle past my brain and brand themselves onto my soul. They make me hate my country, my past, even myself at times. The worst thing about them, though, is that I can’t bring myself to hate them. Even while describing people treating other people as animals, describing the most foul and terrible things a human being can do to another human being, her words are so beautiful that I never want them to end. I want to have Toni Morrison’s words in my eyes and brain forever and for always. I never want to write another word again, because on my best day my best words will never be nearly as amazing as the worst thing she’s ever written on her worst day. She writes about sadness and despair with such poetry that I would rather read the most depressing parts of her words than the happiest part of someone else’s work. It’s my most fervent wish that one day I become a quarter of the writer Morrison is.
Still sans computer, so apologies for my erratic posting. Gives me more time for reading, however, which: YAY!! I’m in a children’s lit phase now–at least while I’m out of the house–and I’m loving finding the grown up perspective to books that are supposed to be for children. It’s easy to forget while discussing children’s lit (especially in our think-of-the-children-hysterical culture), but these books are written by grown ups. They’re written from an adult perspective, and by definition informed by the author’s feelings about chidlren–what they like, what they are like, what is appropriate for them (which changes from generation to generation). I just finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is in many ways less deep than the movie version we all grew up with. Oz isn’t a Wonderlandesque subconscious realm where a teenage Dorothy’s fears and character flaws come to light; it’s a real place you can “get to from here”, so to speak, and while it’s certainly a foil for the grey, grey, grey Kansas, it’s relatively separate from the “civilized” world–a place where a child (roughly 4-6, I think) has autonomy and power. There’s apparently a pretty serious breakdown of the book that suggests it’s a parable for populism, so that’s been added to my TBR list, hopefully sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’m moving on to Peter Pan, a book whose author was obsessed with childhood, at least partially because of the untimely death of his older brother. I’ve previously read it as part of a Children’s Lit class in college, but I’m excited to dive in on my own. Cheers!
In case you didn’t get it from the title of my blog, I’m obsessed with libraries and bookshelves. Honestly, when I consider my future life and home, 90% of my fantasies center on my imaginary future library (the other 10% is focused on my imaginary future backyard, which opens onto the beach). I currently live in an apartment which isn’t super small, but I do share it with a roommate. Naturally, my books are jammed on to a bookshelf I’ve owned since childhood and shoved into a trunk my godmother gave me when I graduated high school, with the excess piled up on my nightstand or on the floor. As much as I love my roommate, there are times when I imagine him moving out and me turning his room into a library. Just huge shelves full of books, with huge pillows and a big cozy chair for me to curl up in. Not that I think about it all the time or anything. That being said, just imagine how excited I was when my friend sent me a webside named BOOKSHELF PORN on facebook. It’s my new obsession. Tons of paces I’d love to just live in, like above (bright! airy! light! chandeliers! floor to ceiling bookshelves! why don’t I already live there?), and tons of things I secretly think I could buy and sneak into my place without anyone knowing, like the chair below (sooo comfy looking). I could honestly spend hours on this site, mentally planning my future house (in Maui). It makes me want to get cooler bookcases for my current apartment, just so I’m prepared for the future. Seriously. Just try getting off this website in less than a quarter of an hour. I dare you.
This here is the image on my desktop. I’m not really sharing it for any other reason than I really love it, and I felt like it reflects my personality. I’m going back to to watching comedy specials and enjoying my vacation now 🙂
Oh, and here’s the full version of the quote which I chopped up for my own selfish purposes:
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery. celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to. –Jim Jarmusch
I don’t really have this “reblogging” thing down, but this post from Nona Merah, which I stole from a friend on facebook, is just too good to pass up.
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
– Rosemarie Urquico –
Now that my niece is born I’m super excited to share my favorite children’s books with her. I really hope I get to spend enough time with her to pass on my love of books and reading. Children’s books are some of my favorite books, and the genre as a whole is really rich and delicious and I enjoy it thoroughly. Obviously I like the classics, the most basic learn-to-read books tend to bore me. Because I’m a grown up and I already know how to read, so learning sight words isn’t really titillating to me at this point. I’m seriously debating with myself as to what I’m going to read to her. I’m super excited to share Where The Wild Things Are, since it’s one of my favorites–such ripe, simple words, such incredible illustrations–plus I just bought the movie; my terrible pronunciation isn’t going to stop me from reading her the French version of Le Petit Prince–the flow of words is incredible, the illustrations rough but fit the storyline perfectly, the quotes and themes will stay with you forever (Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité, dit le renard. Mais tu ne dois pas l’oublier. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.…..sigh). I’ve got a fantastically illustrated version of Louisa May Alcott’s Fairy Stories that I’m excited to share (there are quotes hidden in literally every illustration–I’ve had the book for ten years and I still get lost in them every time I read the book) but I’m a little leery about the Grimm’s Brothers anthology that I also own. On one hand, I’m pumped to provide her with a non-Disney-fied version of the tales, and hopefully put a little crack in the spell those movies tend to put on little girls (clearly, I’m not anti-Disney, but as a feminist it’s hard to hard-core love them). From a literary perspective, they’re also pretty fantastic and I thoroughly enjoy them. Essentially I just want to pass on my love of reading to my new, beautiful, fantastic, amazing niece, and I want to ensure that the books I choose to read to her are the books that will inspire that in her.