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Winter is not usually my favorite season.  I don’t like the cold, and I don’t necessarily
want to be out in it more than I need to be. 
I miss working in the garden and running in shorts and just playing
outside in a t-shirt and flip-flops. 
Most winters, I end up feeling pretty blah.

 

I had decided that this winter would be different.  I was going to embrace the whole hibernation/
snuggle up approach to winter, and so far, it’s working.  (I think working on projects during the day
that inspire and excite me helps, but that’s another story.)  Part of my winter hibernation is reading…
lots and lots and lots of books.

 

I am a reader all year round.  My whole family is.  But this year, I have begun the practice of
reading more than one book at a time, and I like it very much.  There are just too many fun things to read,
and I can’t wait to begin some of them.

 

My latest passion is reading and re-reading juvenile
fiction.  I loved, loved, loved reading
as a kid, and I can remember so many wonderful books that absolutely pulled me
in and created worlds for me that I have never forgotten.  All of Beverly Cleary’s books fall into that
category as do Caddie Woodlawn, Island of
the Blue Dolphins, The Witch of Blackbird Pond,
and anything by Laura Ingalls
Wilder. 

 

Harper Lee is developing very different tastes and doesn’t
always like the same books I enjoyed, but she has introduced me to a lot of new
ones as well.   I recently discovered
Lois Lowry.  I have a copy of The Giver, but I haven’t read it
yet.  It’s on the end table right now
waiting to be picked up.  Harper Lee just
finished The Willoughby’s, and I
finished Gossamer last night.  We plan to trade this afternoon.

 

I’m finding myself particularly drawn to these books I think
because much of my own writing seems to be turning in that direction.  Some of my favorite pieces that I’ve been
working on recently would probably be categorized as juvenile fiction, and I’ve
developed a curiosity about what else is out there.  The styles and genres and subject matter all
vary greatly, and frankly, I’ve been surprised by all the new books and topics
I’ve discovered.  It’s been quite an
adventure.

 

We should never fall into that snobby grown-up attitude that
literature is only for adults.  I have
run across some particularly fine pieces of literature that are most certainly
for kids.  I think sometimes there is an
attitude that writing for kids couldn’t possibly be that difficult.  It’s just all about seeing the dog run,
right?  To assume so is to vastly
underestimate the mind of a child. 

 

In fact, as a writer, I’m beginning to think that no one
deserves a finely crafted sentence more than a young reader eager to learn
about the world and open to the possibilities of anything and everything.  I know that literature certainly affected me
in profound and positive ways, and I can think of nothing better than writing
something that might have the same effect on someone else.

 

I joked with the librarian the other day, as I was dropping
off yet another donation box of books, that I had to cull my shelves because
our house was beginning to look like that of a crazy person’s.  There are books and magazines stacked
everywhere on every conceivable surface, so I decided to donate and share some
of the wealth.  Of course, we’ve only
managed to fill up the spots that were briefly empty.  Some of them are from the library, but others
were recently ordered on Amazon or taken from friends who are also in the
process of clearing clutter.

 

The truth is I will never have neat bookshelves—you know,
those that are actually color coordinated in the home design magazines.  What’s up with that?  All green bindings on one shelf and all blue
on the other?  I just don’t see it.  Books are meant to be pulled off the shelf
often, opened and placed face down on a table or chair arm while you get
another cup of coffe, dog-eared, and written in with notes and smiley faces in
the margins.  They are meant to be read
and savored, touched and smelled, loved and made real like the Velveteen
Rabbit.

 

Here’s my reading list right now:

The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

One Year to a Writing Life by Susan M. Teberghien

The Boy Who Sang the Birds by John Weston

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

 

Isaac is currently reading:

Alvin Ho- Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by
Lenore Look

*just finished Otis Spofford by Beverly Cleary

*ANYTHING that has to
do with natural disasters or sharks

 

HarperLee is currently reading:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Adventures of Tin-Tin

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

 

What are your favorite books from childhood?  What about as an adult?  Leave your comments here with books we should
add to our reading list.  Bring on the
books!

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