Thursday, January 10, 2013

getting literary

I have a cousin-in-law who is pure inspiration in her yearly reading accomplishments. Last year she read fifty books! (Fifty!) This year, she got pregnant and "only" read forty-five. (Forty-five!) Now I'm a fast reader by nature, one reason my major (English) and career (editor) were perfectly suited to me. And so I decided to copy her this year and set some reading goals for this past year. Should've been easy right? My goal: Read. A book or two. Aim high yo.

Seriously though.

I took an interesting route toward reading. I re-read books from my childhood. I actually read a decent handful, which made me really proud. I totally EXCEEDED my lofty singular book goal guys. Here are a few I recommend.


The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White: I know I read this when I was very young. But I remembered very little of it. This book is a quick and easy read (for adults) and I can't wait to read it with my girls someday (soon!). I just love the swans' dialogue and the way they think. It should come as no surprise that E.B. White - the author, most commonly known for his Charlotte's Web  - seemed to tunnel right into a swan's world and settle down.

"'All swans are vain' said the cob. 'It is right for swans to feel proud, graceful—that's what swans are for.'"

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman: So my best friend in high school was ob.sessed. with this book. I have very clear memories of her and her perfectly permed hair, hiding behind her book and her glasses, totally lost in the Canadian wilderness of Mrs. Mike. I remember really liking this book back then, but now? I simply love this book. It's a lovely (clean) romance of a young girl who falls in love with a Canadian mounty in the years when the Canadian wilderness was being settled. It's beautiful in its depiction not only of history but also of loss and love. And the authors have a beautiful way with words:

“But death does not stand at the end of life, it is all through it. It is the fear of losing, the knowledge of losing that makes love tender.” 

Side note: I had to venture in to the romance section to get this book at the library. You know what section I'm talking about. I felt so awkward walking over with my babies and sliding my book out from between two scantily clad covers. Someone really needs to re-evaluate where that poor book is shelved.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery: I LOVED this book as a young girl. Devoured it several times. My goodness, I think I love it even more now. Could there be a more beautiful place than Montgomery's Avonlea? And let's not forget how much I adore Anne. Oh, Anne. I adore her wit and wisdom and long-windedness. 

“Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?But am I talking too much? People are always telling me I do. Would you rather I didn't talk? If you say so I'll stop. I can STOP when I make up my mind to it, although it's difficult.” 

I borrowed a copy from the library, but I just purchased the Anne of Green Gables suite on my Kindle, and have already dived deep into Anne of Avonlea. Hello, Gilbert Blythe!


This year, I think I'll keep reaching back to my childhood for reading material. It has been so much fun to visit not only my past but also these lovely books.  I just really love them - they're clean and clever. And I feel like it helps me sort of get ready to evaluate what lies ahead for my children.

And this year, my goal is totally the same: read. A book. Maybe two. Setting my expectations high, yo.


Rachel said...

You should not be impressed- I may read a lot, but you probably pay more attention to your kids :) I love reading books from my childhood. It is extremely possible that if baby 2 is a girl her middle name will be Anne- my mom's middle name is Ann, but I need to add an 'e' for my dear Anne of G.G.
And, I've never read Mrs. Mike, I need to pick it up!

singingrae said...

I love this idea! What a great way to revisit your childhood and great literature at the same time. Did you happen to re-read Summer of the Monkeys? I remember loving that book but I haven't read it in years.


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