Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday news & views

The nest is getting emptier. I spent Friday moving child No. 5 (Tim) into his dorm at K-State. I think it went pretty well. Joel and I came back down Sunday to bring him a few things he forgot or decided he wanted after all, so I met his roommate (who wasn't there yet Friday). Tim's first class was at 7:30 this morning -- I'm assuming he made it, but I will not call him to ask him. I didn't do that with the others, but they were all farther away. It may be a little harder with him on the same campus as me. The pic at left is from graduation Sunday.

I've also been reading. I went to the library Sunday afternoon while I was in town and checked out some good books, including Relentless by Robin Parrish. I also saw Waking Lazarus, by T.L. Hines on the new books shelf. It's neat to see books by authors I know a little (or at least know something about). But the book I started reading is called The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, by Lewis Buzbee. It's subtitled "a memoir, a history," and that aptly describes this little book. He describes his path to being a book lover (as well as bookseller and writer) along with some of the history of bookmaking and bookselling. It's fascinating and highly readable.

One of the subjects Buzbee talks about is how important it is for children to have books. He's not a literary snob -- in fact I suspect he's around my age because he, too, has fond memories of My Weekly Reader and the Weekly Reader book orders. He makes it clear that children should be encouraged to read, even if it's Nancy Drew or the Babysitter's Club. But he also makes it clear that for many kids, probably around the time they enter their teens, they have a transformative reading experience. For Buzbee, it was The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. This was the book that completely pulled him in and opened his eyes to the larger world. For me, I think it was Jane Eyre. I read it when I was 13 and was enthralled. I'd always been a voracious reader, but Jane Eyre captured my imagination in a new way. But here's the point I want to make, and I think Buzbee implies this: If I hadn't already been a reader, I never would have read Jane Eyre. I think my daughter Julia went from The Babysitter's Club one year to Great Expectations the next. At least it seemed that way. What was your formative book?


jimcoonce said...

Wow! It's hard for me to nail down a single one. "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" both were fairly transformational. However, "To Kill a Mockingbird" was probably THE book that opened my literary world the most. Hmmm, maybe I should re-read it. It has been a while.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm still finding transformative books - The Places In Between is the present book which gives me hope in more nonfiction. I honestly do not remember a single book that made me want to read more than I already did. Maybe that's because you & Dad started reading Tolkien to us at such a young age.