“You can’t read all day unless you start in the morning,” a friend recently advised. Many a day that’s advice I follow happily. I’m not a reader who takes a book and reads from start to finish before looking at another. No, what I’m reading depends on the time of day, my mood and even the weather.
I read across the spectrum. I may escape in some light detective fiction just before bedtime, but daytime hours are likely to find me deep in biography, travel or serious fiction. Although I enjoy them all, I do have a favorite genre—memoir. That’s why I was more excited than usual a few weeks ago when a book package appeared by the front door. A new memoir to review for Story Circle Book Review! Saturday morning I braved the rain to head for the Black Hole Coffee House to sip a latte while I read The Secrets of the Notebook: A Woman’s Quest to Uncover Her Royal Family Secret by Eva Haas. Actually, it was three lattes. The book demanded to be read straight through. Check at http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org/reviews/secretsofthenotebook.shtml and see what I think.
I read all sorts of memoirs, not just for reviewing but for pleasure and learning. I’ve just finished taking a personal writing class; we are used a book of essays (Book of Days) by Emily Fox Gordon as a source for our writing prompts. I became intrigued by the author’s style and bought one of her earlier books, Are You Happy? It addresses memories of her early childhood. I stepped right into her Mary Janes. Or mine. For as I read about her life in Williamstown, Massachusetts, I remembered the little girl in Amarillo, Texas half a continent away.
While reading, I started a list of those suddenly-surfacing memories, a patchwork of little Trilla’s life. And, no surprise, the earliest memory I have is about a book. My sister is in the brown chair reading from an orange story book. I’m tucked between her and the arm of the overstuffed chair. I look at the pictures and wish I could read too. She starts to read the story about a chicken to me, but she’s only in the second grade; she gets tired of stumbling on the big words. Mother promises she’ll read it to both of us as soon as the ironing is finished and supper started. I know she’ll keep her word, but I want to be able to read it to myself right now.
|It's ours for sure--Sarah Nan|
and Patricia Louise Nordyke!
|A wonderful book--still!|
A few days after I enjoyed this memory, serendipity struck. When I’m not reading or writing, I often spend some time trying to simplify our lives. Part of this involves going through boxes unopened for, sometimes, many years deciding what we can live without. That day I opened yet another box marked “miscellaneous papers” to find not papers but old books. Near the top was a bright orange, well-worn book, The All About Story Book. The book! What was it doing here? When I’d remembered it, I assumed it was long gone, now I held it in my hands. I turned crumbly pages until I got to 37 and found “All About Miss Fluffy Chick.” I sank down to the concrete floor and read it.
Later, I went to the computer and did some detective work and found an affordable copy. Guess what my sister can look forward to for her birthday? If I can wait that long. She knows she’ll likely be getting a book, she almost always does, but this one will be a real surprise.
Now we’ll see if she reads my blog. Nan, give me a call and you won’t have to wait ‘til your birthday to get your All About Story Book!
|Think she'll be surprised?|
(This entry also appears at http://storycirclenetwork.wordpress.com/category/interviews-book-reviews/book-learning/ )