I Can’t Read!

I quilt all the time.

When I’m not quilting, I’m knitting, or working around the house, or outside doing chores or some other such thing.

I don’t watch TV, because we don’t have it here on the ranch, but we do have a lot of DVDs, so I listen to a lot of movies while quilting, knitting, cooking, or some other such thing.

My eyes and my hands are always busy with something.

And because of that, I can no longer read.

I want to read.

I love books.

I love stories.

I love learning about new things.

But if my eyes and hands are busy with a book, I can’t quilt . . . or knit . . . or cook . . . or any of those other things I’m always busy with.

And I choose those over reading every time.

I try to force myself to read.

Set aside a time and sit down with a book for that amount of time.

My mind wanders to quilting, and I can’t even tell you what I read, then I have to start over, so I get nowhere.

I got a library card and checked out some books.

With the 2-week deadline, I figured I’d make myself do it so I could turn them back in.

I checked out my first 2 books in October, and have been renewing the first one ever since.

I relented and turned the other one back in — unread.

I’m only halfway through the first one — after three months.

My daughter, the doctor, is a bookworm — always has been.

When she lived at home, she would read to me while I quilted.

It was like automatic “Books on CD”!

Then she went away to college . . .

I think I’ve only read 4 books since she left.

So last time I was at the library, I went straight to their Audio-book collection.

They didn’t have too many that caught my eye.

I checked out some Louis L’Amour short stories.

I have yet to put them in the CD player.

The kind ladies at the library informed me of a place online where I can download free audiobooks using my library card I hold with them.

I lost where I wrote it down for the longest time, and guess where I found it?

On a slip of paper tucked inside the book I had checked out.

You know — the one I’m only halfway through with after 3 months.

So one of these days I’ll be checking out the selections online to see what they have.

But honestly, there’s a certain selection of books I’d really like to read.

I went to a very small high school for the first three years, and the teachers there did not make us read anything we didn’t want to, so I read whatever I wanted.

“Gone With the Wind” three times, Nancy Drew, and a lot of random stuff.

My senior year, they shipped us off to a neighboring school, and I found that I had missed out on reading all the classics that students are normally forced to read during their high school years.

The librarian was appalled, and immediately made me a list, which I began devouring. I loved her suggestions, but naturally, in what little time I had remaining in school, I didn’t get very far down her list.

When my daughter was born, I began reading to her from the very start.

Turns out, she loved it, and could read on her own before she even started kindergarten.

I made her a little notebook, and in it, I kept a list of every book she ever read.

She still has the notebook.

And still adds to it whenever she reads something.

I also ordered, from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a reading list they put out, that listed books everyone should read, separated out by age groups.

She started on this list, and we’ve marked off all the ones she’s read over the years.

So it stands to reason now that she is very well-read.

Some of those, she read to me, which is the only way I would have ever gotten to read them.

(Note: This same plan did not work on my younger daughter; even though she’s turned out OK in her own right — she’s just not a bookworm — she’s a social butterfly!)

And I still keep going back to that certain selection of books I’d really like to read.

They’re classics.

They’re books everyone should read or at least know a little bit about.

They’ve stood the test of time, so I know they’re good.

And I want to find out for myself.

So I went back recently to the National Endowment for the Humanities website.

And I found this:

Summertime Favorites: A List of Recommended Readings

It’s their reading list, separated out by age groups.

I’m going to start with the ones I’ve missed off their

Grades 9 to 12 list.

Thanks to my senior-year librarian, and my daughter, some of them I’ve already read.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to find some of them as audiobooks.

If not, I’m gonna have to give it a better try at sitting down with a book and actually reading!

If you have a young child, you should consider helping them read from that list.

My daughter has thanked me many times over for starting her on it so young, and I only wish I had done the same thing for myself from the beginning.

I never realized at the time what a treasure we were creating, but can you imagine having a list of every book you’ve ever read in your entire life?

My daughter sure treasures hers. She’s 28 years old.

And I’d love to have one of my own.

But since it’s never too late to start, I’m going to keep trying.

My daughter recommends “Wuthering Heights”.

I think that will be my next selection . . .

UPDATED TO ADD: I forgot to say . . .

If you have any suggestions for books I should read, other cool lists, or ways I can actually do better about getting it done, I welcome them all!

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Published in: on January 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm  Comments (8)  

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  1. I had the same problem until I joined my libraries online books and I listen to books all the time. My husband and I are also members in Audible in which we pay a small fee and get several audio books downloaded on our smart phones each month. I go through all of my books pretty quickly, so I use my husband and daughter’s library cards to check out books too! I think you will like it if you try it.

  2. Shelly, my husband gave me a Kindle last May for my birthday (the Keyboard edition, with 3G plus Wi-Fi). For the same reasons as you, I had read very few books in the past few years, and I am a huge lifetime bookworm, so I felt deprived.
    I have read dozens of books since I got the Kindle. I can take it with me anywhere and read while I’m waiting for something else, and I don’t have to worry about trying to finish books in 2 weeks, plus the inconvenience of returning them to the library. Most of the classics are free or very low cost. It even has a text-to-speech feature that enables me to listen to some books in the car!
    My older daughter got the Kindle Fire for Christmas. I played with it last week at her house. I may have to get one of those before too long!

  3. Jane Eyre–readily available on audio book and something everyone should read at least once.

  4. I love that you kept a list of every book she read. I couldn’t keep it up with Elsa! LOL. I download books from audible.com so I can listen on my ipod. I recently read (for real, not listened to) Rules of Civility. It is AWESOME. If you can get it on audio, please do. You’ll love it!

  5. Well Shelly I am like you and can’t do both the sewing/quilting and reading at the same time. Also, if I did a book on tape I would probably just end up tuning it out. So my way of looking at it is that when I am dead and gone if I sew and make quilts there is something left on this earth to show I was here. If I read books, there’s nothing. The other thing I thought was interesting is that you were talking about the high school. I was only there a year before you came, and I came from a suburb of Chicago…..there would have been 500 kids in my graduating class there. If I remember correctly, there were 23 in our graduating class. Truthfully, I’m having a hard time remembering the library, I do remember the librarian. Must be old age. Ha

  6. I used to love to read. When I was little, I read everything I could get my hands on. But guess what? When I started home schooling my children, I never read for pleasure anymore. Not for 22 years!!! So last year, for the first time in 22 years, I started reading again. It started with Pride and Prejudice. I loved the movie, and I wanted to read the book. Then I read Emma, and Persuasion. I ended up reading all of Jane Austen’s works. And then Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. Then last summer I started reading Jan Karon’s Father Timothy’s books. I devoured them. ALL of them. My son is like your daughter. He read everything I put in front of him. Big books like The Count of Monte Cristo, and Les Miserables. I am so sorry that books will become dinosaur’s. There is nothing like curling up under a quilt, with a lamp by your side, a cup of tea and reading til you just can’t anymore.

  7. I appreciate the lists. I printed off the 4 – 6 grade list for Mak. (my granddaughter). She just learned to love reading this year. We have lots of books we can shop for together now.

    I printed off the 9 – 12 grade list and checked the ones I had read. Actually not that many of the titles…………However, I have read something from almost every one of the authors – just not the title listed.
    Don’t we all love lists. I used to keep a list of every mystery novel that I had read. It got too big………let alone a lifetime list. I prefer mysteries at this stage of my life. Carolyn Hart (author of the Murder on Demand series) says that we like murder mysteries because it helps us understand the emotions both under control and out of control in those around us. I agree. I always want to understand………..Shelly can tell you.

  8. If you can listen to books-on-tape, I have several that I got from a library that was cleaning out the audio books. I really liked Barbara Kingssolver’s “Prodigal Summer.” I think it has ten tapes, so you can listen while you work on several UFOs! I got a lot of ironing of quilting fabric done as well as a trip to OPKS. I’ll take it and some others to the guild meeting next month for you. Have you watched/listened to any of the PBS Masterpiece Theater series online? I am enjoying the current series on Downton Abbey as well as the mysteries. I also found “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” on YouTube that runs the movie in a continuous format. My grandson is Judah in his school’s performance next week. (I hadn’t seen the movie before.)


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