Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Brief Spell of Perfect Weather

I've always been friends with books. I credit my mother who often had a book in her hands and would read on the couch in her apron as she waited for dinner to finish cooking. My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hibbert, told me that to rip a page out of a book or destroy it, was a crime.  I believed her and always felt that books should be cherished and taken care of and given to someone else to love when they are not wanted anymore.  Mrs. Hibbert also helped me be discerning in my reading material as the books we chose for book reports had to receive her final approval. She vetoed my book choice only once, saying it was too pedestrian.  She didn't have to belabor it - I knew the book was poorly written and a bit sensational.  Her comparison stayed with me though, and I believe she gave me a pretty good eye for books.

Today I rarely see a woman reading a book.  Not even an eBook.  When someone has free time, they're usually texting or on the internet.  It's sometimes hard to let go of connections and let oneself become immersed in a book.  But it's such a great feeling to get lost somewhere else for a time and a good book can take you to so many places.  Finding just such a book is harder and harder and that's why I often reread the classics.  But I long for that great new read, that holy grail of a book that takes me away and then drops me back at the end into my real life, changed and better.

I recall easily the long winter nights of childhood when I curled up on the love seat in front of the fire, engrossed in Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and The Wind in the Willows.  Home from college, there was the blizzard that lasted five days, just long enough to devour Anna Karenina.  If the book made me cry, all the better. 

Reading a book is good for the soul and sometimes when the world is too much, I comfort myself knowing that a book is waiting and I can escape for a bit, get lost in someone else's world or best of all, feel less alone because someone on the page has also overcome tribulations. I "awaken" from my book altered and even if challenges await, the respite from my travels sustains me for what is to come.  Like a brief spell of perfect weather just before winter.

Recent Holy Grails:
Ladies of Missalogni
Diary of a Provincial Lady
A Stopover in Venice
High Wages


Ed. Note:  I almost changed the title of this blog post.  It was written several days before we lived through a very frightening hurricane that nearly took the house down.  How did I survive the tumult?  I read under the covers by flashlight and candlelight!  The most important thing is that everyone is safe and I continue to pray for those who lost their homes.
(Me, reading on the love seat by the fire.)

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