I saw an article in the paper today about the library’s summer reading program, and it got me to thinking.
I’ve always been a big reader, from the time I was a little kid. I can remember being 8, 9, 10 years old, sitting in the corner of the sofa with a book in my hand. I think my bookworminess is in my genes. My grandmother always had a stack of books, romance novels, and she would sit down around 9pm, watch some TV with the rest of us with a book in hand, and read into the wee (wee) hours of the morning, long after the rest of us went to bed. My mom, too, was a reader, and she also had a stack of romance novels when I was growing up, although she didn’t read as often or stay up as late reading as my grandmother did.
My parents never had a problem getting me to read. I was not one of those kids that didn’t like to read, like my sister was. Every summer, I would join the Summer Reading Club at the local library, and every year I’d be near the top of the list as far as number of books read. But there was always one or two kids that far surpassed me, and I always wondered how they managed to read so much more than me. Of course, I was honest in my accounting, and perhaps they weren’t. I considered lying and saying I read more, but even then I wasn’t comfortable with out-and-out lies.
Do you remember the Scholastic Book Fairs? I loved it when the school would have a Book Fair – I would get the little 8 page flyer and go through and circle the books that I wanted, and there was never fewer than 20 books circled. I can still do that, with the Barnes & Noble or Borders magazines. It’s like Scholastic for adults. 🙂
I read the Sweet Valley High books, and Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, but I was into “adult” romance novels at an early age – Lavyrle Spencer and Judith McNaught and any Harlequin book I could find. Again, I think it’s in my genes – that’s what I grew up with. My reading choices have certainly widened since then. Currently, I’m working on two non-fiction books (The Guinea Pig Diaries, Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven), a fiction book (I Did, But I Wouldn’t Now), and two romance books (Inferno, Dakota Home). I go through phases with romance novels – I’m currently in the “read half a book a night” phase.
I’m a member of an “online bookclub,” which sends daily emails, with the first 20 or so pages of a book. A lot of my book choices lately have come from that, including three of the books I mentioned above. There are a bunch of different genres you can sign up for – non-fiction, fiction, business, mystery, the list goes on. It makes a nice break from my work day – when I need to stop and regroup, I’ll just go into my inbox and find the latest book offering sent to me. www.dearreader.com – sign up through your local library.
I’m also a member of a “real” book club, although we’re certainly not as “real” as we should be. Almost from the start, we talked more about our lives than the book pick for the month. In fact, some months we didn’t discuss the book at all, which worked out well for those of us (usually about half of us) that didn’t bother to read the book. There were a couple of months where we didn’t even bother picking a book. We’re trying to get back on track, though, and pick a book, and I’m making a concentrated effort to actually read the book, if I’m interested. As one of the women says, “We all read books, we just don’t normally read the one chosen.”
Sometimes I’ll go a full month without picking up a book, and then some months, like this month, I go through three, four, five books. I take after my grandmother, in that I could easily stay up until 2 or 3 am reading, especially romance novels. It’s one of my forms of escapism, I’ve known that for years, and often my excuse for not liking or wanting to read a particular book is that, “I don’t want to escape to that place.” I mean, who wants to escape to war-torn Africa, or China during the era of foot-binding? Not that I can’t appreciate the story, but I just don’t want to be those people.
I’m amazed at how many men on match.com, under “Last Read,” will put, simply, “I don’t read.” Many will put a magazine (GQ, Men’s Monthly) or the newspaper, but very few actually have a book listed in that field. And saying “I don’t read” is a huge turn off for me. You don’t read? At all? Are you uneducated? I can understand being busy, and it maybe taking you a year to get through Davinci Code, but at least that’s something. I had a date recently with a man who said he hadn’t read a book since high school. I just don’t get that.
You know, all this has gotten me thinking…
I’m going to start my very own Summer Reading Group! Are you interested in being a part of it? Here are the rules:
- Reading time is May 29 (Memorial Day Weekend) through September 6th (Labor Day Weekend).
- Log the book and the number of pages read (This way, War & Peace and Goodnight Moon cannot be weighted equally as “books read”).
- I will choose a multitude of winners, and you will get a prize – TBD at this point. Prizes will likely consist of more books, food (cookies, or a casserole, maybe, for locals), or perhaps a gift card or two.
- As a bonus, you can project the number of pages you think you will read – the one who gets the closest to it will win an extra prize. Projections need to be posted by June 10th, and must be at least 500 pages.
- Sign up by June 30th.
- To sign up, please email me at allthingsdelightful at hotmail. Supply me with a “username” to use. I’ll set up a page on this blog with the latest rankings. ALL information will be kept top secret – it’s just me, I’m not trying to sell anything, I’m not going to sell your info, etc.
- Be honest! Keep this fun. You’re on your honor.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- Spread the word. If you know someone who would be interested in this, let them know about it! Publicize it on your blog! Let’s have some fun with this!