As I was lounging at my sister's beach house in Guatemala, my brother in law was enjoying his Christmas gift, a Kindle. He kept going on and on about how awesome it was. Finally, I shifted on the lounger and said "You're probably reading some techie shit on it!" He was. He laughed, I knew it probably involved Math and Business theory and God only knows what else. I happily lugged 2 books with me to Guatemala (Slam & You Suck!) both hilarious, and then read 2 of my Mom's books (History of a Face & The Bookseller of Kabul) both depressing, balanced diet people!
I explained to him why the Kindle so disturbs me. I love books. I love the way they smell and the different textures different papers have to them. I love writing my name in the front cover and reading the back cover, as well as the pages that list all the other books the author has written. I never fold a page over to hold my place, EVER. I am sure I would pull several strands of y hair and use them as a bookmark before I did that. I love how the pages yellow, how after you have read it a million times, the glue starts to give and pages come loose, so you read it one more time before the books falls apart. I love loaning out my books, even if months later when I want to re-read that particular book I can't even remember who I lent it to: Confederacy of Dunces, A Dirty Job...come back to me, I need you!
I then informed him that I only read fiction, no self help crap, of stuff that would help me at work or marketing nonsense! I read because I love to read, the way I love to watch TV, it entertains me. If if is Historical Fiction, well, then HELL maybe I will learn something.
Last night, my eldest son shows me two brand new books he had bought: Fight Club and Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. My reaction was: Why did you buy them new?! You can get them so cheap on Amazon!
His answer- I like to be the one to make the first crease on the front cover!
Wow, sounded like my rant! Of course, we do the same thing, we read a book we like by and author and then read everything he ever wrote.
I really love books, the have played such a giant part in my life.
I can hear my mother reading Where the Wild things are to me, remember begging her to read Madeline and Harold with the Purple Crayon.
I can feel the cold linoleum under my legs as I lay on the kitchen floor as my mother makes dinner reading Amelia Bedelia.
Giggling under my cover reading with a flashlight, just having to finish one more chapter of Tale of a Fourth Grade Nothing.
Crying for the first time reading a book, we were on a family vacation and was sitting in the back seat finishing Across Five April's.
Then there was A Catcher in the Rye, I just wanted to crawl in the book and live there.
By the time I was got my reading list for the first semester in College I had read ever single book on it, at least once (really 1984 was on the list!) Well, no worries as I did not make it to college, sidetracked into the shotgun wedding and the hubs and the now Fight Club book lover.
But, something better happened that year anyway. The Hubs "Ingles" was not all that, so I decided to start him on reading books in English before we move to the States to expand his vocab.
First assignment- Animal Farm- loved it. All out of my own collection- Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies, A Separate Peace, Brave New World, 1984, The Hobbit- loved them all. I hand over Kafka "The Metamorphosis", he's ready. Couple of hours later I hear- WTF!?!
He comes to me "I don't like this book. It's ridiculous. The guy is becoming a roach!" We go over symbolism. He gets it, reads the whole book that night and loved it.
My whole life I had taken for granted that someone sat and read to me, that someone bought books for me and gorgeous books marks, and spoke with me about those books and the meaning in them and that those books had made me far wiser than any 18 year old girl I knew. In fact wise enough to be able to get married and have a child and not go insane by 19. However, a safe sex book (with condoms as a bookmark) might have been a good book to have gotten me to, but oh, well.
Teaching your children to read is a necessity, if you don't do it, school will. Teaching you children to LOVE books, to think when they read, to be excited to get their little hands on a new book, that is a GIFT.