School Board work is putting a dent in my book reading this year. At the moment I’m reading a new novel out loud on Claudia’s Kindle to her that was just awarded the Mann Booker prize. Its the equivalent of the Pulitzer for the nations of the British Commonwealth. Its called the Narrow Road to the Deep North. I’ve read several dozen books to Claudia by now. She’s got about twenty books assigned to her this semester for her seminary classes and I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off so its a challenge to find time to read. Still I’m about twenty percent of the way through it.
Claudia is a much better book reader than I am. A week ago I was reading the list of the 200 “best” American Novels to her after hearing about them on Public Television. As I read them she ticked off 47 that she remembered having read. She loses track of the books she’s read so I’m sure she passed the 25% mark. She told me of how when she was in grade school a teacher asked her class how many books the children thought they should read each summer. The teacher called on her and she told her thirty books. The teacher was a little astonished. If I read three in a year I was doing well. There has been much fear that kids aren’t reading books but that seems not to be the case in this story I read the other day.
As I have gotten closer to devoting this next year to nonstop school board activity I’ve forced myself to stop and smell the roses a couple times. I went out and hunted for agates last week on Park Point for an afternoon. I used to do this all the time. Now its a luxury. Wednesday I went to Barnes and Nobel and shopped for books. I hadn’t meant to buy any but I just wanted to walk the aisles. I found a marked down book on Prez Coolidge and decided to look on the Amazon site to see it reviewers gave it good ratings. They were so I bought it. Then I looked through the History aisle and found one on Lincoln from an interesting point of view, The Presidents’ War. The point of the book intrigued me. It was about the five living former presidents at the time of the Civil War and how they acted as the war went on. Some were Southerners, some Unionists and most played a role of some sort long after their presidencies. I’ve always had trouble remember the presidents between Jackson and Buchanan and I thought this might help me remember them.
The prize purchase of the day, however, was the complete Calvin and Hobbes. I read these cartoons to my children when they were little. Its time I read them to my grandsons. Claudia scolded me because she thinks the cartoons made our son a cynic. I say Tosh to that…….Actually, I was the first of us to suggest that. I guess I say “Tosh” to the possibility I will turn my grandsons into cynics. Hobbes was so lovable. I had to order them by mail from the store. They arrived today. Its like picking up a bar of gold. I can’t wait to read it to them.