TBT – Love of Books

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world.  Love of books is the best of all.” — Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” — Maya Angelou

Hi and Happy Thursday! Here is a photo of a young Ian looking at one of his board books.  This was before he could read.  Once he learned, he was unstoppable and now loves to read.  He wasn’t sure he could learn but did and we are so proud of him.

Speaking of books, I just started reading a book called, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Children’s Book.”  It includes life lessons from notable people from all walks of life. For each of these people, there is a quote from the book that influenced them, the title, person’s name and what that book meant to them.

It is really cool, has a lot of great information, and reminded me of a few of my favorites.  A few featured people are: Jay Leno who liked Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and the inventor of the artificial heart who liked The Wizard of Oz. This book has me thinking of what books have influenced me. There have been many.

I never seem to be without a book.  I love to read and cannot remember a time that I didn’t.  I love to be transported to another world and be immersed in the stories and the character’s lives.  One of my favorite books as a child was “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I loved this book and the mystery of that garden and seeing what it meant to the lead character.

I have the book and plan to re-read it soon as an adult.  I wonder if it will have the same allure and amazement to me as a grownup?  I wonder if it will mean as much to me now as it did then?  I cannot wait to find out.  I will share my impressions with you.  I just have to figure out when I want to start on this journey back to my childhood.

A few other favorites from my childhood were:

  • The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  • anything and everything by Richard Scarry
  • The Mouse and The Motorcycle
  • The Nancy Drew Mysteries
  • The Hardy Boys Mysteries
  • The Little House on The Prairie Series
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series

Ian has some favorites too.  Some that he has enjoyed are:

  • Good Night Moon (which I must have read 200 times or more to him)
  • The Foot Book and many other Dr. Seuss books
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • Star Wars: The Jedi Academy series
  • A Dog’s Life about a stray dog
  • James and The Giant Peach
  • The Warriors series by Erin Hunter, which he just finished

As an adult, I have other books that I have enjoyed reading or that have influenced me:  Roots by Alex Haley, Jemima J by Jane Green, Thunder Dog, as well as books by Danielle Steel, Carol Higgins Clark, Jane Porter, and so many others.

How about you?  What books have meant a lot to you?  I would love to hear from you.  Please share with me and the other readers.  I hope that your children enjoy books as well.

Hope you have a great adventure with your next book.  I know that I will.

The Help

Last night I finished reading one of the most thought-provoking books that I have read in a while — “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.

As you probably know, it was turned into an award-winning movie, which I haven’t yet seen.  I wanted to read the story first before seeing the movie.

And yet, I almost didn’t finish reading it.  The material was hard to read.  I was raised to believe that all people are created equal — no matter the color of their skin — so to read so much about people being treated poorly and like less of a person because they looked different was disturbing.

But, the sad fact is that this was a terrible part of our country’s history.  As much as I don’t like it, it did happen.  I suppose the best thing to do is to learn from mistakes like this so we don’t repeat them.

And, the other thing is to teach the next generation — like my son and his cousins — that all people are created equal and can be your friend. And, more importantly that all people have value and are worth knowing and spending time with.

I have been fortunate in my life to have friends of a variety of races, religions, and walks of life.  It has been amazing to learn the different things about them, but to also realize that we are very similar in the things that truly matter.

I did like seeing the strong female characters in this book.  And, ones who were willing to stand up for something that mattered to them.  That is something encouraging and interesting and did allow me to become truly engrossed in this novel.

Another thing is that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things.  A new concept does matter and can make amazing changes in people’s lives.

I am curious if you read this book or have seen the movie, what your thoughts were about it.  Please share them with me and the other readers.

I can’t help but wonder what Minny, Aibilene, the other maids in this story, Skeeter, and the real maids who lived at this time would think about our current president.  Definitely something to think about.

The Power of Books

This morning I finished a really good book by an author who I have enjoyed for a while now — Jane Green.

It was called “Promises To Keep” and without giving away the story, it is one that will make you think and truly appreciate your loved ones and how truly precious and short life is.

When I picked it up I didn’t realize the true subject of the book as it is deep in the story where you find out a main and loved character is very ill.

I have several friends who are ill right now and I couldn’t help but think about them and shed a few tears as I was reading the end of the book.  As I closed the book, I said prayers for my friends and asked for the Lord to pour out His love and mercy to them.  And, I prayed for their families as well.

Isn’t it something how much a work of fiction can affect us?  In either a good way or a bad way. We can lose ourselves in another world and truly come to love the characters we are reading about.

Then when you finish the book, you want to read more and not let those characters go.  You want to continue to go on their journey. That is how I have felt today with that book I finished.  I didn’t want it to end yet I knew that it would.

That to me is the sign of a great story.  There are many kinds that I like — chick lit, mysteries, stories about Amish people, police stories, romances, and many others.

Another book by Jane Green that I really liked is “Jemima J.” I have read this book three times. The book is about ugly ducklings and swans and the main character trying to lose weight (something I can truly relate to).  Jemima is a great girl who you can’t help rooting for and hoping that she will succeed. I imagine I will be reading about her once again.

I also like several other authors a lot and have read many of their books — Carol Higgins Clark writes wonderful mysteries as does her mother, Mary Higgins Clark.  And, I also really have enjoyed Danielle Steel for several years and recently discovered Michael Connelly.

I still remember one of my favorite books when I was a girl, “The Secret Garden.” This is the first book that I really remember enjoying and getting totally swept into. I want to re-read it and see if it holds any of the magic that it used to.

My favorite book series growing up were the “Little House on the Prairie” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C. S. Lewis.  These were two very distinctive and very different worlds that I was transported into.  I imagined the lives of the characters and wanted to be there with them.

Most of my family loves to read and we like a wide variety.  I am glad of that and enjoy talking to them about a story that was one that they couldn’t put down. Reading books is something to celebrate, in my opinion.

My son Ian has loved books for a while and is now in the early stages of reading.  We regularly go to our city’s library and check out 15 to 20 books at a time for him.  He grins and enjoys each story. I truly love seeing him light up when we read him a story and he later goes back and reads it to himself.

Recently, he has discovered Dr. Seuss.  We have “The Foot Book” and the ABC book as well.  He really likes both of those and recently quoted from The Foot Book.

I hope to write a few books one of these days.  I really want to write a children’s book or book series and will chat with Ian and my nieces and nephews about some ideas.

One idea is in the back of my mind, however, and has been for years.  My grandfather told us stories for many years about a few characters.  I want to compile these into stories for my family. Maybe this year I can work on that. I just need to see what they remember so we can get them recorded on paper before we all forget them.

I am also toying with the idea of writing either a short story or a novel.  I have a story already started and will see where it takes me. I will keep you posted on the progress of this endeavor.

I would love to hear about the books that you enjoy reading.  Please share with us the ones that really spoke to you.

I wonder if I can write as interesting a book as I enjoy reading.  I am going to try, that’s for sure.  Happy reading!!