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Friday, September 28, 2012


I went to Nashville for a work conference this week which means I lost 2 days of my life in airports and might die from cancer from TSA x-rays or possibly from germs from that kid who kicked my seat from Atlanta to Cleveland.  Sorry, I can be a crabby traveler when the prize at the end of the trip is lectures with religious leaders, statisticians, and computer experts.  I took Harry Potter #1 with me because HP is always a comfort in uncontrollable situations. 

About the 4th day I realized I should’ve taken pictures like Jane does on her blog, but here’s a map of the posh complex where I stayed.  The place is vast.  The only time I got out of the hotel’s bubble was when I took a bus for dinner and walked about 3 blocks with throngs of happy bar hoppers.  Live music was playing everywhere.  Someday I’m going to visit Nashville for fun, even if they do like country music.  My previous trips involved funerals and cleaning out a storage unit, but I’ve seen enough of Tennessee to know it’s very pretty.  I’m also going to diet for about 3 years after all the very excellent food I ate this week.

Food aside, I was glad when I boarded the plane for Cleveland.  Everyone seemed too shiny in the south.  The stewardess had on 2 shades of vivid blue eyeshadow, 1” long eyelashes, and strange pink/purple lipstick on her extra-poufed lips.  Cleveland people are less technicolored, and I was glad when I collected my dog from my brother (Thanks Pete!) and went to couch with her in our quiet home.  We nestled under the blankies and I finished off HP in peace.

One time, my niece got into my car and did the usual obligatory shifting of reading material so she could sit down.  “Why do you drive around with all these?” she asked.  I said that I liked to read something short at lunch time when I was at work, or sometimes something longer when I go to the river or had to wait for an appointment. “No, why do you have them at all?”  “Why do I read?”  “Yes.”  It was one of those magical moments when I was suddenly eloquent and said exactly the right things.  I explained how books can teach us more than tv, they allow us to see into other people’s lives in cultures we’re never going to experience, and how reading allows us to use our imaginations to visualize characters and settings in ways that speak to us more personally than whatever the director of a movie envisions for us.  The more I spoke, the more my love of books poured out of me and into her.  She started reading.

Families who own books have more literate children than families without books, even if the parents are never seen reading.  That makes sense.  Having books shows that parents value them, even if it’s only for decorating.  At least it shows the parents know they’re supposed to value books.

My parents filled a bookcase in the living room, and my siblings and I looked at the big Time/Life nature books.  That sounds like a nice, quiet activity for children doesn’t it?  “That’s me!” was screamed while jabbing a cute otter, “That’s YOU!” was screamed with the orangutan.  My sister’s hair was unfortunately for her exactly the color of the orangutan’s.  She hated that.  Everybody wanted to be a lion, but nobody wanted to be the warthog.  It was a race to stab the pictures with our fingers.  It’s a good thing the pages were made of heavy paper.  Those books took a beating.

The lower right shelf was Arch books full of Jesus parables.  I read them all, then read the Bible, then the Koran too.  I don’t know why Dad had a Koran, but if it was there, it must be read.  Ditto for the classics on the upper shelves and Tolkien and yoga and whatever else my parents collected.  Dad thought the classics were necessary to be properly cultured.

Every book we read makes our world a little bit bigger and makes us more knowledgeable, interesting, empathetic, or something we weren’t before – and traveling through books is a whole lot more comfortable than flying from Atlanta with a kid kicking your back.


  1. I had the kicking kid syndrome on our recent flight to Rhodes Linda, what a pain some kids are on flights ;0) Glad you enjoyed my photos. There is nothing like a book is there...lots of people are buying Kindles now but to me real paper and print just can't be beaten. Next time you fly take the camera....I would love to see some photos of your travels. Enjoy the weekend,
    Jane x

  2. Like your weekly posts I never read a book I couldn't get something out of. Great post and like your notice art.

  3. As a voracious reader, a lover of books (not that Kindle/Nook stuff!), and someone else who always keeps a book on hand in her car, I really appreciate this week's post, AND your book label. I hope you reclined your seat the whole flight!!! ;)

  4. Ah, the comfort of a good book. Glad you're safely home again. I have fond memories of my time with Harry Potter.

  5. I so agree with you, reading does indeed expand our world and our knowledge, whether it's factually, understandingly or spiritually. My place is covered in books, and it's an understatement to say that I read a lot. Despite what you conclude about families who owns books, none of my children have gotten a liking for reading. I have encouraged them all the way, and read for them when they were smaller. But no, not interesting enough. But maybe one day they will see it differently...

  6. Books... so wonderful -I also grew up with loads of books around me. It's fun to know you feel comfort in reading Harry Potter books.

  7. It saddens me when I get a tutoring requests like "my 6-year-old needs someone to read with him". Why not mom or dad?!?
    What you say is so true about books - how they broaden our horizons. My childhood home was (and still is) STUFFED with books, even though I was usually the weirdo with the sketchbook. You're a good aunt :). Nice illustration, as always!

  8. Couldn't agree more. Love, Love, Love books and great writing.

  9. Now you know why the South lost the Civil War.

    Beautiful illustration, Linda. They always are.

  10. Your knowledge and voracious reading of books is a feather is your cap.

  11. I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves reading and likes the feel of a book in my hands when I'm doing it. I haven't actually put that book plate in any of my books yet, but I might :)

    Thanks for the follow Mit!!!

  12. The warning on your illustration will also encourage good borrowing habits! I love the story...I can remember the many times spent on the cozy chair in my daughter's room, reading books together. I am sure it set the course for her love of books.

  13. Heh, Linda, if it was there it must be read. Yes, do you ever feel guilty with a book that you own because you have never read it? I used to buy books that I thought I might read one day - I threw out two garbage bags full of them a few years ago when the second hand book store I bought them from refused to take them back - I felt sick but had no choice my library was full and is now wven fuller.

    My wife however, did save The Nature of The Lunar Surface amongst others - so you can imagine that my taste is slightly eclectic.

    Harry Potter 1 ? You mean before J Rowling had writing lessons :) That one? I saw her interviewed the other night. She seems to be in shock and that one day she will wake uo and realise it was all a dream.

    I really came her to say how much i likeyour book plate.

    My Book plates say " This Book was Thieved From Andrew Finnie'

    I hope you are well :) see you!

  14. You said it SO well, Linda! I love to read your posts and my apologies for such a delay in returning. I wish I had Hermione's magical time transporting thing (forgive me, my HP is rusty!) so that I could be here and visiting you and my other blog friends more regularly! Gosh, what a great opening for you to start the love of reading for your niece..awesome! We love books here too - my eldest loves to read..my littlest is beginning to. I never read much as a child but finally began in my early adult years. You are so right..it makes your world bigger. LOVE your bookplate illustration and design Linda!

  15. Thanks everybody! As long as there are people like us who like to read, there will always be jobs for authors and illustrators, right?

    I have a pile of books I'm finished with too Andrew. I shove them in the library's after hours slot when I don't try taking them to the second hand store. I figure even if the library doesn't want them for their shelves, they can always sell them in their book sales. I like your book plate too. Much more to the point than mine :)

    And Theo, I'm sure my love of books is due in large part to my dad putting me on his lap and reading whatever he wanted to read. Sometimes kiddie books, and sometimes things way over my head. I just loved the closeness. You've given your daughter such a gift!

  16. What a great idea :) No more guilt for me :)

  17. I remember all those old sets of books from the 70s! We had the Encyclopedia, but I think we also had Time Life books and some kind of science series. We also had a cabinet full of plain wooden blocks that could be arranged in endlessly different castles. Of course my brother would knock them over if he could. Seems a bit like ancient history. Isn't it hilarious how the cutting edge of technology at that time looks so quaint now. Sheesh. Just give me my books.