Sunday, June 20, 2010

What does reading mean to you?

I'm reading the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which is really about how reading changes people.

For Mark, reading is a tool to slowly accumulate the full universe of information. Mark believes that it all can be known, and that one day, over the rainbow and in the eternities, he'll capture it all. He reads very slowly, mentally cataloging each morsel of knowledge.

For me, reading is an education in art and relationship. I often can't manage non-fiction because (on the opposite pole from my husband) I don't really care what happened, I just want to know how people felt about it.

For Roscoe, reading is an escape to the world he loves best--the one in his mind. Reading is a portal that takes him there and lets him retreat from the chaos of life and the hassle of communicating with others.

For Logan, reading is something that can be listened to. He has listened to hours upon hours of audio books. He's been through the entire Narnia series multiple times. It's reading surfer style. Because when you listen to an audiobook, you don't read the words, the words come to you.

For Levi, reading is a gateway to the world of his big brothers. He sees all the trail markers: he's got to read all the Magic Treehouse books, and then one day he'll be ready for Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and Artemus Fowl and The Lord of the Rings.

For Haley, reading is a bright spot in her life where she is above average, successful with no worry or strain. She doesn't know that for her reading is also a catch-up tool, giving her little insights into things like where apples come from and why Amelia Bedelia was wrong to dust the living room and how Angelina loves ballet.

For Jesse, reading is a shining doorway. He's just barely beginning to see its glow, to register the importance of reading and the delight everyone else takes from it. Usually he can't be quiet long enough to hear someone read all the words on a page. But every once in a while I hear him use a storybook line or make an allusion. And woe to her who tries to hustle him to bed without his bedtime story.

What is reading to you?


  1. Reading for me is . . . wait, you already explained that.

    -husband Mark

  2. I'm usually most like Roscoe, I guess. Using reading as an escape. But I do try to throw in some Mark-like learning/absorbing and some Ang-like empathy of feelings. I make myself rotate between books that will bring out each of these parts. But I guess, in all honesty, these days reading is about what will make time pass the quickest.

    I loved the Guernsey... Enjoy!

  3. I am a mix between you and Roscoe. I LOOOOOVE that book. One of my favorites.

  4. Words that create a picture and emotion. My time is so valuable, I will not read a book that is not well written. This is my problem with most LDS fiction, modern best sellers, Harry Potter, etc. They just don't do it like Emily Bronte or Jane Austin. There are a few gems out there and Guernsey was one of them, and Book Thief and History of Love. They are hard to find. It has to be more than a good story.

  5. That's Austen (been in Texas too long)