Tuesday, November 8, 2011

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”

This one is.

Do you remember the first real book you ever read, oh non-existent readers? I don't mean Dick and Jane or the like. I mean the first book with a plot, characters that felt like your friends, descriptive wording that made you feel like you were living the story.

I remember being read to when I was little. I loved it. Mom would read either Mythology, The Little House books, Swiss Family Robinson, or some other delightful tale to Natalie and me. I also remember first learning to read. I hated it. My comprehension, as is the case with many children, was far more advanced than my ability to sound out words. Oh how frustrating it was to struggle over the most basic of words, when all I wanted to was to feast on a actual chapter book with a storyline! Hop on Pop and Rod & Staff readers are not exactly rich literature. It was quite discouraging. I saw how much Natalie loved to read, and I thought something was wrong with me. I wanted so badly to love it as much as she did, but I just didn't. One day, we went to the library, and Mom picked out a book for me. On the front cover was a little girl surrounded by sweet-faced little animals all staring with wide eyes at tiny spider hanging from the title, Charlotte's Web. I'll never forget opening that book for the first time. I was instantly absorbed into the story. For the first time everything made perfect sense. The letters formed into words, which formed into sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters. I was reading with ease...it came so naturally to me. Reading is a beautiful thing. Every time I think of this book, I feel the same excitement and get goosebumps just like I did back then. This is my favorite book. It was the first taste of the bliss reading offers. Charlotte's Web taught me the word gullible, it made me cry, it made me laugh, It made my imagination blossom. I distinctly remember this portion of the book being my favorite:

“Mr. Zuckerman had the best swing in the county. It was a single long piece of heavy rope tied to the beam over the north doorway. At the bottom end of the rope was a fat knot to sit on. It was arranged so that you could swing without being pushed. you climbed a ladder to the hayloft. Then, holding the rope, you stood at the edge and looked down, and were scared and dizzy. Then you straddled the knot, so that it acted as a seat. Then you got up all your nerve, took a deep breath, and jumped. For a second you seemed to be falling to the barn floor far below, but then suddenly the rope would begin to catch you and you would sail through the barn door going a mile a minute, with the wind whistling in your eyes and ears and hair. Then you would zoom upward into the sky, and look up at the clouds, and the rope would twist and you would twist and turn with the rope. Then you would drop down, down, down, out of the sky and come sailing back into the barn almost into the hayloft, then sail out again (not quite so far this time), then in again (not quite so high), then out again, then in again, then out, then in; and then you’d jump off and fall down and let somebody else try it...When he (Avery jumped off he threw the swing up to his sister. She shut her eyes and jumped. She felt the dizzy drop, then the supporting lift of the swing. When she opened her eyes she was looking up into the blue sky and was about to fly back through the door. ”

“I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” --C.S. Lewis And, so I picked up one of my copies again this morning (I tend to buy multiples of my favorite books-- I have at least five Narnia series and 4 Lord of the Rings...I think it's a sickness) and began reading. It's just as good as I remember.

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