Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thursday Thirteen 271: A Life in Books



A Life in Books

1. I honestly don’t know how old I was when I learned to read, but do remember being in the top reading group in first grade, and that we got to choose one book from the class bookshelf to take home over the weekend at end of day every Friday.

2. I also remember a class trip at end of first grade to the town library. I remember being in awe of so many books in one place, and couldn’t wait to get my own library card so I could go there all the time.

3. Alas, I never set foot in there again as my family moved out of state at end of the school year. However, there was a library across the street from where we moved. We were not allowed to cross alone, but did visit almost every week.

4. In second grade, I would carry an armload of books home from the school library every week, tying another girl in my class for most books read. We both received copied of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett as a reward. I still have my copy.

5. We had reading buddies in elementary school. This was when kids in the older grades were paired up with those in a younger class to help them improve their reading skills. I was considered such a strong reader that in fifth grade I had not one, but two, reading buddies. Naturally I bought them each a book for Christmas that year.

6. My sisters and I spent a lot of time at the library or bookmobile during the summer months, sometimes even trading books with each other before returning them. We also learned that not all branch libraries received the same funding and that some had a better selection of materials than others.

7. After Mom died, I found a letter she had kept from my favorite elementary school librarian (the only one whose name I can remember!), commending me on what a great reader I was, how I always knew what I liked to read and where/how to find it. I remember setting that letter aside to keep, but have somehow misplaced it. I know it is in my possession somewhere!

8. I started keeping track of all the books I read the summer before entering ninth grade, and am only missing books from one year, 2004. Actually, 2001 does not seem to be complete, either. No idea why that it is.

9. It’s interesting to look back over the earlier years, to see what and how much I was reading. I only wish I had started keeping track sooner. I can remember a few of the books read in elementary or middle school, but certainly not all of them. Since high school, I’ve primarily read within the mystery and romance genres.

10. Though some seem to consider me a fast reader, I honestly don’t feel like I am. I know I do not read as much or as fast as I used to. There was a time I could read a 400-page book in one day. Now it often takes a few days to read that much. Some weeks I can read three or four 200-page books, but then the next book I pick up will take a week or more. It truly depends on the book, author’s writing style and, of course, life in general.

11. Not having cable the past three years has increased the number of books read. Since I don’t have the distraction of reruns or movies 24/7, I spent most of the time this past summer when I normally would have been watching TV either walking or reading.

12. The most books read in a single year, according to my book journal, was 215 in 1995. The year before that I had read only 34, and read 184 in 1996, 173 in 1997, and 113 in 1996. I have no idea what made 1995 stand out above all others. Guess there were some really good books that year. Of course, it was also before I got a computer.

13. Last year I read 106 books; exceeding my goal of 100 for a third consecutive year. My goal for 2013 is again 100, since I've proved to myself I can do it. I doubt I will ever surpass 200 again--unless I suddenly become independently wealthy and can spend the bulk of each day reading. Yeah . . . not likely to happen.






36 comments:

Shelley Munro said...

I don't remember when I started to read either. I'm glad I did though. I can't imagine life without books :)

Heather said...

Shelley: I can't imagine a life without books, either. I guess my sisters and I were lucky in that our parent salways encouraged reading and trips to the library, and often bought them for us as well.

Kimberly Menozzi said...

I don't remember when I started to read, but I remember my father using the funny pages in the newspaper to teach me. Those are, of course, some of my fondest memories. :)

My mother has always been a big reader, and there were always books lying around in the living room or TV room for me to pick up and admire when I was too young to read them. My house is much the same now.

Happy TT to you!

CountryDew said...

I wish I had started keeping track earlier. I didn't start until 2006! So I am missing more than 40 years. I admire your tracking record!

sandyland said...

books gave always been exciting to me

Mia Celeste said...

Yeah! I love that you love to read. Your book suggestions and reviews are always interesting and helpful.

http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com/2013/01/contests-thumbs-up-or-thumbs-down.html

Adelle Laudan said...

I remember living across the street from a library at one time. I think I inhaled every book of my favorite authors. I'd find a book I loved and read everything that author had on the shelves lol
My oldest daughter has inherited my love of books whereas my youngest, it's like pulling teeth to get her to read a book needed for a school class.
I wish I had more time to read.

Jennifer Leeland said...

I love seeing this. I started reading young too. I can't remember NOT being surrounded by books.

Alice Audrey said...

I was illiterate in sixth grade. They pulled me from regular class to teach me the alphabet because I didn't know the difference between vowels and consonants. By the end of the year they had advanced me through the regular class into the top readers class then back to the regular class. Definitely a different experience than yours.

colleen said...

Nice memories and nice to see how the love of reading was rooted in you from such an early age.

MissMeliss said...

Hello, and happy Thursday 13. This post brought back memories of my own visits to the town library. I would stuff my backpack full of books and be exhausted by the end of my bike-ride home, but it was worth it.

My own house is wall-to-wall books, even three years after my transition to mostly eBooks.

I am Harriet said...

I have a lot of wonderful library memories as well. We had a fantastic library.
http://harrietandfriends.com/2013/01/1-fiscal-cliff/

Paige Tyler said...

I love to read, too! I think I started before I even went to school!

*hugs*
Paige

My TT is at http://paigetylertheauthor.blogspot.com/

Heather said...

Kimberly: Both my parents were readers, though Dad seemed to read more than Mom--he loved westerns, especially anything by Louis L'Amour.

Heather said...

Anita: Thank you, I'm glad I started keeping track back around the 8th or 9th grade. I think it's interesting to look back at what I've read, and how much I remember about a book based on title and/or author.

Heather said...

Sandyland: Books have always been exciting to me, too. I love discovering new-to-me authors and series.

Heather said...

Mia Celeste: Thank you. I'm glad people like to see what I am reading or think of a book, even if I don't write long reviews. :)

Heather said...

Adelle: Maybe your youngest just needs to find that one book that will inspire a love of the written word. My youngest sister wasn't much of a reader in school...struggled with it...but is now a voracious reader.

Similarly, a friend's daughter loved books as a little girl, went through a couple of years where she didn't really like to read, and now, as a teenager, once again loves books.

Heather said...

Thanks, Jennifer! We may not have had many, but we always had books in the house, too. Little wonder my apartment is overflowing with them! *G*

Heather said...

Alice: Wow, I never would have guessed that. Did you have a reading disabilty? I have a friend who is dyslexic and though she is super smart, she still struggles sometimes with reading.

Heather said...

Thanks, Colleen. I'm a firm believer that a love of reading starts early, and that it helps to see the adults in kids' lives reading. I love that my youngest niece is now of an age that I can start buying her some of the books I loved growing up.

Heather said...

Hi Meliss! You sound a lot like me growing up. Each trip to the library, whether school or local, I would cart home as many books as we were allowed to take at one time. I never had difficulty finding something that interested me, and there were some I read more than once.

Heather said...

Harriet: I'm glad this post brought back good memories for so many. My sisters and I frequented the main library in town, as well as three branches, depending upon where we lived at the time. The Main library is currently closed, as it is undergoing extensive and much-needed renovations.

Heather said...

Paige: I think I started in preschool (age 4), which would certainly account for being in the top reading groups through elementary school, and advanced English classes in high school.

Pearl said...

I entered school being able to read but because I read so quietly without moving my lips to any degree, I was placed in the slow readers group in grade 1.

It's cool that you kept track of that. My mom records all that she reads too. I find I have no idea, especially when I borrow books. This year I'm keeping track.

Heather said...

Pearl: Thanks for visiting. I think keeping track of what you read is even easier now, what with all the computer and phone aps available, and book sites such as GoodReads.

H.A. Fowler (Heather) said...

This is a great 13! I wish I had thought to keep track of all the things I read before I was an adult. I'm a voracious reader too, and books have been part of my memories and libraries a central part of my life since I can remember.

The Gal Herself said...

I loved following your love affair with books. I'm a rather serious reader myself -- though nowhere near as voracious as you are -- and I related to your passion for the subject. My first favorite book, the one I remember reading more than once and all by myself, was The Little Leftover Witch by Florence Laughlin, about a girl-witch whose broom breaks on Halloween night and she's left behind. A nice family takes her in. I've never forgotten it.

Rekaya Gibson said...

Wow, impressive. Thank you for sharing your love for books.

The Food Temptress

Maggie Nash said...

I remember when I learnt to read. I was 4 years old, and I was accepted into school a year earlier than originally planned. We'd moved from another state and the starting age was different. The nun who accepted my siblings told my mum I could come too. I was so excited! Anyway, it wasn't very long after that I was reading. John and Betty was the book I learned on. Run John run. Skip Betty skip! Anyway, it was love at first read...I was also in the top reading group, and going to the local library was like getting Christmas presents everytime I went. Great post Heather!

Heather said...

Heather F: It's nice knowing that books and libraries were such a major part of other peoples' lives growing up. I propably could have come up with another thirteen easily!

Heather said...

Gal: I've heard of that book, but it doesn't sound familiar, though I loved books about witches when I was younger -- do you remember the Dorrie books?

Heather said...

Thanks, Rekaya. And thanks for visiting!

Heather said...

Hi Margie! Thanks for sharing your reading story. Your "John and Betty" book sounds a lot like our Dick and Jane series.

kandyblossom said...

I love to read. With my huge family though, I don't have near enough free time though. I miss it.

Good luck on your reading goal for the year.

http://kandyblossom-gnomesweetgnome.blogspot.com/

Heather said...

Kandyblossom: Sorry you don't get as much time to read these days. Maybe once the kids are all grown. ;)