Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book Love

Oldest, who will be ten in September, came into the bathroom a few nights ago while I was overseeing our three year-old’s bedtime routine. I think his face was actually glowing. “Mom, I love reading so much I could die!”

I know the feeling. And I’m so thankful we share it. All five of us, in fact, get awfully excited about books. We get so geeky and excited at the library or at a good used book sale—I personally think it’s beautiful.

We each have our own particular ways of loving books and of sharing them. Oldest reads me passages that make him laugh. Middle retells entire stories and passes along little bits of information she’s discovered. Youngest “reads” in bed every night just like everybody else, and is thrilled with the idea of learning to read. And—this may say more about my housekeeping skills than anything else—every bed in the house has a mess of books around it (or on it) that must not be touched because “I’m reading that!”

Anne Lamott says it so beautifully in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Lifewhen she explains why the work of writing is so important:

Because for some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. They are full of all the things that you don’t get in real life—wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. And quality of attention: we may notice amazing details during the course of a day but we rarely let ourselves stop and really pay attention. An author makes you notice, makes you pay attention, and this is a great gift. My gratitude for good writing is unbounded; I’m grateful for it the way I’m grateful for the ocean.


  1. as a middle aged child (8-9) our son would pick up a volume, riffle the pages under his nose while inhaling, and pronounce, "mmm, good book"

  2. :) Another excellent way to love a book! I love the feel of a book, too--the physical aspect is definitely part of the pleasure! Do you think Kindles will come with a "new book scent" someday?

  3. What a great post! It does seem that books and reading is a pleasure that cannot be replaced by anything. It was fun taking my kids to our new library and having them get so excited about a book that they could hardly wait for me to get our account set up. Oh the joy of books!

  4. Getting to know our new library has been a really important part of settling in to a new town. I bet yours is fantastic! We miss you guys and hope you are doing well!


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