Friday, February 08, 2008

reading dates

Thanks for all your comments about the storms and your reassuring thoughts in our direction. It's been an unsettling and scary week. Harry and Sally demonstrate that in this photo. They are both barking at me, all at once. This hasn't been unusual lately, and you can imagine how loud it is. (the command Hush! doesn't always work. :) We're tired, the storms were pretty frightening, and work plows ahead as usual.

It's been a productive work week--most of the photos for the book have been selected at this point! I've worked with the editor all week long. We're probably going to reshoot a few images one more time so that the projects look just right. I'm also working on the first draft for another article, and for some reason, it was hard to do. Sometimes I plow through when things are hard to write--and at least now, I have a draft. (working writers don't have time for writer's block.) I'm glad it's Friday!

There's no new knitting to show you yet--my hat's getting use (on my head) and the zafu cushions are on display at our local gallery. The art show opens with a reception tomorrow night. I'm still pretty excited about how they came out. (photos in the last few blog entries for folks who hadn't seen them.) I hope others find them as fun to sit on and touch as I felt about knitting them. Not sure how you blog readers felt--there was so much else to comment on this week!
Today, as a reward at the end of a long week, the professor and I took an hour off to go to our local library's used book sale. This raises money for the local library and allows our community to recycle good reads. We love reading and books, and go to lots of book stores whenever we travel. In our town, there's only one big chain bookstore, and one small used book store and that's it. (I don't count the campus bookstore, it's big on textbooks only.) For us, this sale is a sweet treat. We read a lot. One of my education grad. school professors repeated over and over again:

Good Readers Make Good Writers. Good Writers Make Good Readers.

Yup, research shows that is the case for all kids (and adults) who are learning to read and write. It's also true for full-time writer types like me. In an average, busy month, I will likely read no fewer than 4 books. Many months, I read at least twice that, especially if I'm travelling. Not all of it is great art--much of it is not, but in our pile today were books by James Fenimore Cooper, Salman Rushdie, William Stafford, and Horatio Alger...along with plenty of junk fiction. We buy fiction and non-fiction, poetry and memoir, paperbacks are 50 cents, hard covers, a dollar. An empty box stands near our bookshelves, and when we're done with a book, if we no longer want it, we recycle it right back to the library book sale.

We schedule the date on our calendar, and we look forward to it. I bumped into an acquaintance or two at the sale, and their responses confirmed what I already know. "Wow. You're getting an awful lot of books." Or, I gesture to the professor and mention this is our special date. The person looks at me like I have fleas and says, "A Date?!" (The hot follow up will be when we curl up in bed or on the couch with the dogs and READ. We'll read each other the funny parts out loud. If I read a good book, I'll put it on the professor's pile to read. He'll do the same for me.)

Sadly, American households don't read much, and even those who read probably don't invest as much in "the book" the way we do. We're working hard on indoctrinating our two year old nephew long distance. We sent him books for his birthday, and I hear there are a lot of requests for Meat..Ball! Meat..Ball!, which is probably the professor's favorite book.

So, if you're not a fan of the paltry TV offerings, consider reading a book to yourself, your kid, or your sweetie. It could result in a hot date. Or, in my case, it just might make me a better writer.

(Your comments just make my day! What about those zafu cushions? Did you have bad weather where you are? How about reading? A cheer for reading?!)

12 Comments:

Blogger Taueret said...

We used to live for the 'friends of the university' book sale every year which was h.u.g.e. I haven't been for a few years, and have been destashing books recently, having had the revelation that having read them, the best thing to do with most paperbacks is let. them. go. It's been liberating- I don't think my parents ever parted with a book, disintegrating paperbacks and all, and I never questioned that til I was, um, quite old. These days, I seem to be all about audiobooks- if I am free and able to sit holding something in my hands, I want to be kntting or whatever. I guess as my kids get older and I have more time I will read more paper books again. :-)

February 8, 2008 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger foodperson said...

Ah, yes. Cloudy with a chance of meatball. Excellent choice. Has the professor moved up to chapter books yet? ;-)

February 8, 2008 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger weebug said...

yeah for reading! i think that it was one of best things my parents ever taught me.

February 8, 2008 at 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Lisa in western MA said...

When I was a child, home from school with a cold, my mom would go to the library and bring back six or seven books. Often by the end of the day I would have read all or most of them ... and then if I had to stay home the next day, she had to make a second trip to the library! Sometimes I miss those days ... although the last time I was sick enough to stay home I was really sick (mono at age 40) and mostly too tired to read. Healthy is better -- but more reading time would be great. Guess I need some audiobooks so I can catch up on my knitting as well.

February 8, 2008 at 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 9, 2008 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Folks, never fear, I don't remove legitimate comments as a rule...I just removed a comment that both advocated for half price textbooks AND a bigger bosom. (somehow, I don't think that was relevant to me!)

February 9, 2008 at 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Diane said...

I read your italics and felt a little pang of guilt for once more lurking-with-no-intent-to-comment :-)

I was one of those kids who read till 1am with a flashlight - and I always give kids books on their birthdays. As an ex-teacher I can get very heated on the topic of state school system literacy but I'll stay off my soapbox for now!

I love the idea of a reading date. I read to my husband in the car when we toured Europe ten years ago but haven't done it since. I like the idea of starting a tradition though - maybe with valentine's day coming up...

February 9, 2008 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger renaissancewednesday said...

I'm glad you made it through the storms all right! *hugs* I can only imagine how scary that must have been.

I used to read a lot more for recreation when I was younger. Now I read so much for AP English class that I rarely have the time or energy to read for pleasure anymore. Le sigh.

February 10, 2008 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger distaff22 said...

I love to read too, but lately my literature choices have been rather juvenile. As a family we go through a dozen picture books a week and I sometimes even get to read a "chapter book". I once estimated the number of books we go through a year. We don't go to the library every week, so let's say 40 weeks out of the year, 10 books per week; that's at least 400 books per year. This has helped my 5.75 year old to read at a 2nd-3rd grade level and the 2.75 year-old can recognize most letters and some words. And I've found some wonderful books like "Blackberry Booties" and "Pete the Sheep Sheep", not to mention getting to re-read L.I. Wilder's series.

February 10, 2008 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger ilana said...

so glad to hear things are coming together after the storm. glad to hear you guys are hanging in, i'm sure it was mighty scary.
i like to read, but often find that some books don't hold my attention. reading is, however, the best thing i think one can do while on the subway (as long as you don't miss your stop).

February 11, 2008 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Oh, a big book sale is a wonderful thing! I have a hard time leaving with only what I can carry away. I often have a book on tape going for the car, a book by my bed, another one at the kitchen table...I even read while I'm brushing my teeth!

There's a great Arnold Lobel book of poems for kids, and one is illustraed with a cat sitting next to a towering stack of books. The poem is something like: How I love them, how I need them, I'll have a long beard by the time I read them!

February 11, 2008 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger annmarie said...

the downside of my increased knitting time in the last 10 years or so has been a decrease in my reading. I've just never gotten into audiobooks in the same way that I love holding a book in my hands. :)

February 12, 2008 at 3:19 PM  

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