Monday, July 10, 2006

Reading is to the Mind...

Over the summer, I devour books like food. Every night before I go to sleep, I read, read, read. While the girls are in the pool, I read. If I'm waiting at the dentist or the doctor's office, I read.

During the school year, the pace slows in favor of more quality time with my family. But during the summer, all of us read. (Pictured are the books I've read this summer!)

So far, my favorite this summer is Pride and Prejudice. I refused to watch the new movie until I'd read it, and while I've many books in the same genre...Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Emma, I had never read Pride and Prejudice. I thought it was wonderful, and I bought two movie versions from Best Buy to compare them.

On my list to read next: Wicked, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters, Girl Meets God, The Red Tent, Bee Season, Jewel, The Mermaid Chair...and the list goes on!

Reading has always been important in my life. It saved me from the boredom of being in my parent's restaurant growing up. I read about The Little Princess, losing her fortune with the death of her father, being made to live as a servant in the boarding school she used to attend. I read all of the Anne books, and felt like I lived on a little island in Canada where neighbors gossiped and meadows flourished with flowers. I rode with Laura Ingalls Wilder in a covered wagon as Pa searched for work during the long winter in South Dakota. I admired Jo from Little Women for cutting her hair to help her family. I cried reading many times: In Bridge to Terabithia when the little boy died, in Rilla of Ingleside when Walter died in the war. (And in any book when anything cruel happened to an animal!)

Reading opened up my mind to new perspectives during college, when I read all kinds of multicultural literature like Tracks, The Color Purple, Woman Warrior, and The Joy Luck Club. It made me appreciate the world from a greater perspective than my small town could offer...

Now, if I attempt to put Emma and Grace to bed without reading them each a book, they feel that a great injustice has occurred. We read picture books (the same ones over and over and over) and chapter books (I love that their little imaginations will form pictures without pictures!). Right now their favorite book is Fancy Nancy, pictured above. I love reliving the joy of books with my girls. It's like visiting old friends. Another favorite experience is to listen to Jeff read aloud to the girls. He does all of the silly voices, the lines filled with animation and fun. Reading expands your mind, inspires you, and bonds you to those around you. It has an amazing power to do all of these things.

Now if this isn't an English teacher's advertisement for reading, I don't know what is!

If you have a favorite book or a recommendation, hit reply and let me know what it is!

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