Sunday, June 29, 2008

Books

I know I said I wasn't going to post this weekend, but mother-in-law snuck out early this morning before I was even awake, and Little Mouse was so exhausted from the "sleep"over that she is still sleeping. It is quiet and I have thoughts...my own thoughts, even!

Books have played such an important role in my life. I have been an avid reader since I was very small. In our house, we don't have broadcast or cable television--our TV is used only for DVDs and video games, and even their use is limited. Many evenings will find all four of us sprawled across various couches, together, but each absorbed in their own book. I still read to my children every night before bed, even though my oldest is nearly thirteen, and they still look forward to this ritual very much, and are sad when circumstances do not permit us to do it.

Some books I adored as a child and read over and over again, like "The Swiss Family Robinson", and an old English novel by Ethel Noakes called "The House of Many Pages." It has been a joy to introduce my own children to these books, and to say reverently, "These books belonged to your grandfather when he was a little boy, so you must be very careful with them."

Books by Ray Bradbury, Sylvia Louise Engdahl and Octavia Butler opened my young eyes to the endless worlds of fantasy and science fiction, ignited the fires of my imagination, and started me down the path of telling my own stories.

Some books have come along at just the right time...Ann Maxwell's "Timeshadow Rider" came into my hands just after I broke up with my first love. It restored my faith in love eternal, and made me believe that my soul mate was out there and that I would one day find him.

Some books I feel I owe a lot to, given how they have changed (or even saved) my life. Pamela Peeke's "Body for Life for Women" and Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" got me off my butt and got my feet firmly on the path to wellness and health after I stopped taking my bipolar meds and needed to reclaim my mind, body and creativity.

Books by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mercedes Lackey, and Lois McMaster Bujold are like old friends that I return to again and again.

Writing Prompt: What role do books play in your life? What books did you love as a child? Which books opened your eyes to new worlds and new possibilities? What books have you read that still haunt your dreams? What books have you read more than once?

8 comments:

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
What a lovely post! In a time when everyone seems glued to their TV sets, and families can't even seem to eat in restaurants together without someone being on his/her cell phone, the image of your family reading together makes me feel all is right with the world.

Susan

Jazz said...

Susan--
I'm trying really hard to limit the "electronic input". I figure the kids will have their whole lives to muck about with cell phones and whatnot. They do have video games, as I've said before, but I limit their time on them. I have a cell phone, but the only people who have the number are the children's schools and my parents, and I only ever turn it on if I'm out and the kids are at school or home without a parent.

The kids don't seem to mind it too much...although I imagine I will have a fight on my hands in a few years! It's amazing you know, if I have to pick my son up at the middle school after school, there will be a whole crowd of kids out there waiting for their parents to pick them up and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has a cell phone glued to their ear!

I have to wonder if this generation is even going to know how to communicate face to face.

Mariah said...

People think it's weird that I still read actual books, when most teenagers my age aren't aware that LOL is not something to put into a research paper.

Throughout my life, books have make me think and discover new things about myself and the world around me, and possibly beyond.

Nearly every day I hear, "Did you see that new TV show last night?" I'd like to hear, "Did you read that new book last night?" a bit more often.

Jazz said...

Mariah--
It's teenagers like you who make me believe there is hope for the future! I see you have Sylvia Engdahl's books listed on your profile. I loved her stuff when I was your age, and I've read "Enchantress From the Stars" to my kids, and they loved it, too. I have to admit I've read the Maximum Ride books, too, waiting impatiently for the kids to get done with them so I could read the next one!

Gianna said...

Did you read The Once and Future King as a kid.

It's British and no one ever knows of it when I bring it up...it was a big time favorite. I read it very young---9 or 10 and it simply blew me away!

And I loved Octavia Butler too...so much!!

I don't have concentration to read too much these days, but read voraciously for all the years before I got drugged silly. Never watched TV as a kid either. Hopefully my reading abilities will return...sometimes it literally hurts when I think about how I miss being enthralled in a novel.

Your family does, indeed, sound lovely.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
I found the same thing to be true when I was taking my photography classes at community college. As we waited for the class to begin, those of us who were older were talking to each other. The 18-20 year olds were sending text messages. Talk about not being in the here and now? Wow!

Susan

Jazz said...

Gianna--
I have read it, but it was years ago, and I can't remember anything about it but the title!

I hope your ability to read comes back...that was one of the things I lost when I was on so much medication...I stopped reading because I just couldn't concentrate long enough. I remember it taking me a couple of months to get through a novel, where before meds I could read a novel in a day or two if it was really compelling, or a week at most.

The meds also made it really hard to read to the kids. I still did it, but I would trip over the words a lot...very frustrating.

Jazz said...

Susan-
Constant text messaging is one of the reasons my kids don't have cell phones! I will keep cell phones out of their grubby little paws for as long as I can!