I love this quote – there’s nothing like a good book to send you off to sleep. And on a rainy day, as this one has been, there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book. From the time I was very young, I discovered the magic of reading. Through books I could venture to far-reaching places, travel through time and history, and discover new things. Reader’s Digest and The World Book Encyclopedia were as interesting to me as anything from the school library. If ever I found myself in a state of boredom, I could pull out any volume of World Book and soon be lifted, my mind eager to learn about people, places, and things. My parents’ encyclopedia investment was not wasted on my siblings or myself!
One of the earliest “grown-up” novels I read was an Agatha Christie entitled Sleeping Murder. Had I known that it was Miss Marple’s last case, I might have chosen one of Dame Agatha’s earlier works to read, though I’m not sure how much I had gotten out of it; my reading skills were still developing. I must have enjoyed it enough, though, because I became a fan of the mystery genre and have probably read about 40+ Agatha Christies over the years, not to mention many other novels in that category. And it was during that time, when I was maybe 11 or 12, that I discovered the public library and got my first library card. Today it’s different – the children in my community are introduced to the library when they are babies, before they start to read. In fact, there are a variety of special programs for children to attend, including one called “Roll Over and Read” where children can build their reading skills and confidence by reading aloud to a trained dog! And there are programs designed for infants, too. I am thrilled to know that our children are able to take advantage of this incredible resource, especially since many children in our area can walk to the library.
For me, reading often comes in spurts. I mean, I’m always reading something, but to get into some serious reading, that requires being in the right mood and having some time with no distractions (like blogging!). When I am engaged in the reading habit, it’s all I can do not to think of the next book I’ll want to pick up. Summer break from school is the best time of the year for me to really get in the groove. Whether I go away on vacation or stay at home, I know I’ll have lots of moments to spend with my nose in a book. If I’m not reading mysteries and thrillers, you can bet that I’ll be reading stories of ghosts and hauntings. There’s a sense of mystery in that, too. And when I do travel, I like to purchase books about local ghosts. Reading accounts and legends of ghostly activity adds another dimension to my visit. One of my favorites is a book I picked up during our honeymoon in Italy. Venetian Legends and Ghost Stories, by Alberto Toso Fei, showed me another, very dark and mysterious, side of Venice that I did not completely see while I was there. Back at home as I read the book, I could picture the scenes and feel like I was there all over again. Imagine if I had read the book before my trip! I would have been seeing specters around every turn. How frightening and fun!
Sometimes reading ghost stories before bed is not a good idea. The imagination can go wild, that is, if I can stay awake! Maybe you are like me: I’ll get comfortable, settled in with the book I’ve been eager to read, when I become a little too relaxed. I’ll start to read a paragraph, only to reread it several times, my eyelids heavy and my neck drooping to the side. Eventually, I realize that it’s no use, and that I’ll have to give in to the overwhelming need to sleep. Darn. I really wanted to read! If I am lucky, I’ll put the bookmark between the pages I was reading before falling into a deep slumber. Oh well, I guess there’s always tomorrow!