I grew up in a house without colour TV and cable. In fact, until I was in high school, we had one small black and white television (I know... it sounds like I was completely deprived!) that we used to fight over. Imagine watching the Muppets in black and white!!!!
What our house never lacked though was a good book. Both of my parents have been avid readers for as long as I can remember. I was lucky enough as a child to inherit the "book loving" gene! From what I'm told, my mum even taught me to read before I went to kindergarten. Fast forward to my adult life and it would seem that books had almost completely disappeared from my life. Every so often I'd pick up a book in the airport book store and read it, but as far as my everyday life went, books weren't that high on the priority list. Sure there have been the odd times that I've read books along the way, but it's definitely not like I always had a book on the go like when I was a kid. I'm not sure when this shift happened. I think it may have something to do with spending 6 years in university studying music history and researching for my thesis and being forced to be constantly reading that took the fun out of it for me.
But whatever the reason was that I stopped reading regularly, I realized when Evan was born how important it is to read to him from the very beginning. When he was just a few weeks old, I remember rocking him and nursing him and reading to him from his big Curious George anthology. He's had stories before bed since day one and as a result, he loves books. He wants me to read to him all the time and he's very excited about learning his letters.
I think that I've thought for the past 3 1/2 years that I'd been doing a pretty good job making sure books and reading were a big part of his life. That is until a few months ago when I said something about the "library" to Evan and he said back to me "What's the library, mummy"!!!!! I was shocked. After all, I can remember spending hours and hours at the library as a child. Had I been failing my peanut all this time??? If my university professor mum had been there to hear that, she would have been absolutely mortified! So, the very next day, I picked Evan up from daycare and we drove straight to the local library, got ourselves a new library card and got Evan some books to enjoy for the week.
Since that day, we've gone to the library once a week, every week. Evan usually picks a special movie and a few books to bring home and I tag along helping him decide what to pick, not really concerning myself much with the "grown up" books on the shelf. That is, until about a month or two ago, when I was at the checkout desk and noticed the "New Fiction" shelf right by the door. I grabbed a book off the shelf and read it in a few days! That was it... I was hooked. The next week, I grabbed another one. I've been doing it each week since. There's just something so fantastic about a book that can make you laugh out loud or cry uncontrollably. The fact that you can get lost in the pages of a good book and forget all about what's going on around you makes reading addictive.
I tend to gravitate towards the fluffy books... not quite the Harlequin romances, but definitely not Dickens or Tolstoy! You know the type... Confessions of a Shopaholic (I admit to having read all of them), Twilight (yes I know they were written for teenagers, but I admit to being madly in love with Edward!) and now, my latest favourite... Souvenir by Therese Fowler. I picked up this book last Friday. I've been reading it each night before bed and have just finished the last page today. If you're in the mood for a good cry, I highly recommend this book. I literally was crying on each page of this entire novel. In fact, as I was straightening my hair this morning, my teardrops were falling on the pages. This, to me, is the sign of a good book!
So, I guess that really is my point. A book can give you a glimpse of other ways of life you've never experienced before; a book can let you travel to parts of the world you never thought you'd get to; a book can introduce you to people you might not otherwise ever meet; a book can allow you to explore emotions and confront your own vulnerabilities; and sometimes, a book can just make you laugh at a time when you just really needed to. There really is nothing quite like a good book!
Gee, my mum would be so proud of me for writing this!!!