I love that quote. He also wrote: "The time I kill is killing me." I know.
Back to reading. School just started for most children in Southern California, which started me thinking about the day I learned to read, the happiest day of my life. I still remember every halting word I read aloud from Dick and Jane. Several years back my youngest granddaughter came out of her room one day and told her mother, "Sit down. I'm going to read this book to you," and she did. No one realized until then the kindergartner had learned to read. That evening long after bedtime her mother found her completely hidden by her covers, reading by flashlight.
My husband, a retired elementary school principal, told our daughter never to punish her child for reading. He also learned to read at an early age too, and by the time he started to school he was reading Huck Finn. His first grade teacher would ask him to read to the class whenever she had to leave the room.
My avid reader with the flashlight entered fourth grade a few weeks back. Every summer she signs up for summer reading programs and always excels. One summer year she was awarded tickets to Lego Land for reading so many pages during school break. She's one of the lucky children who can read while riding in a car.
Our firstborn daughter was like her. She came five weeks early and was still small for her age when she started to school in the rural Tennessee town where we lived at the time. Her legs were too short to reach the first step of the School Bus and the driver stepped down off the bus every morning and helped her up. That was the year we discovered she was near sighted and had her fitted with the first of many pairs of glasses she required over the years.
She wears contact lenses now, and her legs are still short but she has always been a speed reader. The summer before she entered second grade we moved to a newly built subdivision in Southern California where two afternoons a week the Bookmobile stopped in our neighborhood for a three hour stay. At their scheduled time I'd load our youngest in the stroller and walk the other three around the corner to check out five-books. Once each child could write her name they could apply for their own library card and for the next few years their library card was their proudest possession. Our oldest daughter would hurry home with her five books, promptly read each one of them and ride her bicycle back to the Bookmobile to return those books and check out five more.
Everyone in our family likes to camp and when our girls were growing up we often camped at a desert oasis with dense, spreading limbs. On arrival she'd pile out of our Volkswagen bus with an arm load of books, roll out her sleeping bag in her tent so her bed would be ready at bedtime, then climb up in a tree with a book. She'd pay her sisters to make her lunch and keep her supplied a cold drink. She only came down when she'd finished a book and needed to pick another one from her stash, or when it grew too dark to read in the tree. Then she read at the picnic table by lantern light.
Like ours, the walls of our oldest daughter's home are lined with books, romance novels to begin with, but now she reads mysteries, having cut her teeth on Nancy Drew books. When the hardback bestsellers became too pricey she joined her County library and began downloading books to her e-Reader. She has at least four.
Another daughter earned her doctorate in education two years ago and is the Assistant Superintendent in charge of Technology and Curriculum for a consolidated school district in Northern California. She reading preferences lean toward biographies, science books and travel guides instead of romance.
Our third daughter devours Nicholas Sparks novels and any book with a horse in it, while the youngest, an elementary school teacher and the mother of the flashlight reader, women's fiction and Oprah's books.
I have a friend who reads romance while riding on the back of her husband's motorcycle or while standing in line while waiting to pay for a purchase.
What this all boils down to this: it doesn't matter what you read or where, but it's important to frequently expand your horizons with a good book.
My novels are print-on-demand, or are available for download everywhere.