Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why I Read, II

I read. When I meet people who read, I know it instantly, and I like them. They can have a million other likable qualities, and unlikeable ones, and I will love them if they love to read. While I was on vacation I finished two books, and started a third.

I started Three Cups of Tea. I don't love it so far, but will likely finish. It's just the way I'm built. I read People of the Book. I liked it. In fact, I even loved parts of it. If you like books and libraries and the people that keep both alive you will probably like it, too. I read Water for Elephants and I LOVED IT!

Water for Elephants got inside my head and I have a few things I want to say about it. Upon finishing the book I decided to issue the following wish.

When I am old, and I mean really, really, really old, I hope I can remember the happy, amazing details of my little life. For it is these memories that I will watch, rather than T.V. when my kids ship me off to the nursing home. I hope I remember every detail of my husband's face, particularly the first time I realized how long and thick his eyelashes are. I hope I can recall the very squeal of my children's unabashed laughter. And I hope I can remember what really good food tastes like. (Actually I hope I can always eat really good food, but if I'm forced to eat Jell-O I want to imagine it's tiramisu and believe myself.)

When I am old I hope I can endure the patronizing ways of my children and undoubtedly their wives. I'm pretty sure I'll know when they think they are stooping to my level, I just hope I can pretend I don't care. When they do something nice for me I hope I can't tell they are doing it because it just might be the last time.

When I am old I hope I can find someone kind to usher in the very end with me. Someone who permits me to grasp the very last of my dignity on my way out. Someone who speaks to me as if I am a grown up, but with the patience they may offer a child. I would like if this person was my husband, or my children, but in the end... I really just hope there is someone.

And last, when I am old, and I do mean right up until the very last moment I live, I hope that I can read. I hope I will remember what I have read, what I am reading, and what I want to read next. What will I do if I can't read? Seriously, what will I do?

PHOTO NOTE: Here I am, with the person who taught me how to read.


Melvin said...
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Glenda said...

It was a privilege to start you on your path down the literary world.

African Kelli said...

Such a great photo! And I'm with you -- may my love for reading always be present.

Adamo said...

Claudia here, checking in on Adam's work computer...Loved your post. Glad that I have someone to talk to about books and get book recommendations from (I just finished The Hunger Games--fantastic!). Three Cups of Tea was hard for me to get into, but so good (I actually listened to it on CD as I packed and unpacked when we moved back in October.) I, too, learned to love reading from my mother, who took us to the library every week. Reading is still the best escape there is!

Debbo said...

Have to respond - you made me cry. Beautifully written. And had it not been for reading we would never have met! Perhaps, my friend we will be there for each other wrapped in our old quilts that only we loved and discussing our latest book club choice!

How odd that I, too have Three Cups of Tea on my nighstand and am trying to get through. You will most definatley finish before I as I have already given up on it. It's moving to the bookcase. I truly admire him the story just isn't holding my interest.

Water For Elephants. Are you kidding me??? I read it and LOVED it, too. Haunted for days. Actually dropped everything one night and ran up to Tattered Cover when I realized the author was doing a signing. I thanked her for the journey I began on a raining Saturday morning and ended that same evening. I could not put the book down and so I didn't. I told her I spent the next week missing the next page, the next chapter...almost like a friend had moved away and I was sad. As she signed my book she said, that's why I write, so that you can get lost on Saturday and yearn for the journey again on Sunday.

And that's why I read. Next book; Nine Lives, Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum.


Angenette said...

Looks like I'll be checking out water for elephants on my list.

Plumptom said...

Reading...awwwww. I love it!