When I was in fourth grade, Mrs. Richardson would read to us often. She’d gather us on the floor while she sat on a chair in front of us. She’d pull out the bookmark, place it further back in the book, curl the pages back and read to us while sipping coffee.
I don’t remember any of the books, but I do remember how comforting it was to listen to a story and watch her turn and fold the pages. The books were obviously well loved, as the pages and binding were very pliable, somewhat yellowed, and spattered with coffee stains. It’s an image and feeling that remains vivid in my mind today.
I’d always seen my mom reading, but there was something about the way Mrs. Richardson held and manipulated the books that I found soothing. So when I graduated from thin story books to paper back novels, I would carefully make a bookmark and read my books just the way she did.
I’ve read millions of books since then. In my younger days I enjoyed the Encyclopedia Brown series, the Nancy Drew, Beverly Cleary, and Judy Blume series. As a young adult my favorites were the Harlequin romance novels (admitting that is difficult for me), anything by Danielle Steele (hard to admit also) and the Jane M. Auel “Clan of the Cave Bear” series (much more sophisticated.) Now I prefer James Grisham, Brad Thor, David Baldacci, Dana Joy Wyzard, and SO much more.
When the kids were little, taking care of them got in the way of my book reading, so I began waking very early to be able to fit in a run and then settle down with some coffee and breakfast and a good book. I treasured that time of day and would look forward to the peace and quiet and comfort it brought.
Breakfast time is still my favorite time to read, although now, I only get to eat breakfast at home a few days a week. I’ve learned to treasure it even more. I gather my food and coffee, and prep my book for handless reading. I remove my bookmark, enjoying the feel and scent of the book, and open it wide to stretch the binding so it will lay flat. Then I escape to another world. I stretch out my meal as long as I can, and always feel a sense of sadness when I have to replace the bookmark and get on with my day.
When Lotta Joy mentioned that she was getting a Kindle, I began questioning my opinion of them. Sure, they’re easy to tote around and fun to play with, but would it bring the same comfort to me that a book does? Right now, I have my doubts. But I’m interested in how she feels about hers. If she likes it, I may have to reconsider.
At the very least, it’ll cut down the size of my pile.