About Me

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Michigan, United States
a registered yoga teacher, and a Thai/Yoga Bodywork practitioner.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A reader asks: how did I get here from there?

Why was I a reader?

Did the books we were made to read in school inspire me?

I don't recall any "reading circle" stories from elementary school. I remember visiting the tiny Nottawa library with Mom and bringing home books. I remember reading to myself during "silent reading time" in class (lots of horse stories and Little House books), and I remember the teacher reading to us (Superfudge, most vividly).

However, the forced, generic reading-for-comprehension didn't stick in my long term memory. That doesn't mean it was useless, I suppose. It certainly didn't make an impression, though.

I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' homes due to necessity (after school and summers) and by choice (Gramma who lived farther away, in my favorite house).

At the first grandparents' home, there were not many books. There were not many kids, either. We couldn't leave her massive yard as it would put us completely out of sight. No kids came down the dirt road. There was my little sister, me, a few, old toys, and lots of soap operas on TV.

So I read for sanity:
Reader's Digest.
The Bible.
Our Daily Bread (bible lesson booklet)
Sears and JCPenney's and Mongomery Ward catalogs.
Library books I brought along.

I started the Chronicles of Narnia (my uncle's books left behind) out of desperation, despite the cryptic covers.

I recall those summers at my grandparents' house the way one might recall a long, dusty walk without enough water, but the monotony made me a reader.

At the other Gramma's, there were always books. She rarely watched TV unless it was Tigers Baseball, Michigan State basketball, or PBS.  I could walk into her house once a week and there would be a two or three different, thick novels. It was my habit to look them over: the cover art, the dust jacket synopsis.

The difference at her place was how she talked to me. My visits were a rarity, not a ritual. When I came over, she closed her book and we talked. We talked about what her life had been like, what my dad was like as a kid, what was happening in my social life.

I admired her and raised my standards to match her own. I read what she suggested. We visited the "big" library together. If you look at my living room "book spot" it is always crowded with something from the library--much like Gramma's little table.


  1. I LOVE YOUR CLIP ART! (wink)

    I really love this post. It makes me yearn for a wonderful grandma who clears off the table, puts down the book, and talks with me for hours!
    DO tell, what's on your book table right now??

  2. For me:

    Structural Yoga Therapy, Kitchen Confidential, Restaurant Man, The Art of the Sale.

    For the kids: The Lightning Thief (audio), nine picture books, Green Crafts for Children, The Black Stallion, Ivy & Bean, The Last Dragon Slayer.

    1. I've got a stack of "Dover Classics" that I just got from Amazon. Several books from Henrik Ibsen, a couple of Shakespeare classics, Silas Marner by George Eliot, A couple of Thomas Paine titles, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, and even a few more than that...

      ...gosh, reading those titles makes me want to get off line and read. TA!


  3. Thomas Paine was a life-changing read (from religious to skeptic started with Paine); Heart of Darkness was one of the few pieces I had to read in college that I did NOT enjoy (maybe would now...?). George Eliot's Middlemarch lost me around chapter 6. Somewhere between my BA in English and after having children, I became far less likely to read "anything" -- esp. fiction. I became all-practical.

  4. OMG, I just typed out a long reply and then I accidentally deleted it!!!!
    Well, the crux of the post was that Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason" totally changed my life too.