A Love Affair with Books
...or not loving them at all
There's a joke in our house that if the house catches on fire, we rescue the books first. If people ever listened in on our private family jesting, they would probably assume interesting, and not-so-nice things about us, but books are something that we treasure. I've rescued books that I have no need for from friends who were going to throw them in the garbage. How can you toss a perfectly good book, after all?
Earlier this year, my then 8 year old informed her teacher that she didn't have any books to read at home. I actually gasped loudly, my eyes bulging slightly as I stared at her. I turned to the teacher, and stammered something about having plenty of books in the house. Finally, my daughter sighed and declared, “I don't like to read.” I was stunned into silence. My child didn't like to read? I certainly have been failing as a parent if she publicly states her dislike of the written word. By now, I was getting dizzy and starting to sweat. How could this sweet little girl not like to read? It was unnatural!
On the car ride home, we discussed books. Ever hopeful, we decided to go through all of the books we had packed away in her older sister's closet; the sacred books that she's years beyond, but refuses to let anyone touch because they are hers. The characters she had attached herself to during those moments when fantasy became reality through written word are still inside her, and she loves them all. I felt sure that I could convince her to loan a few books to her younger sister once she knew the danger the sweet young girl was in.
The oldest loaned the books, but with strict rules about what condition they must be returned in, how the pages were to be bookmarked, and what consequences to expect if even the slightest infraction occurred. It all sounded silly until I realized that these were the same rules we had always given her when we loaned our books. Reluctantly, the little one agreed to the terms and conditions, and carried her treasure to her room like it weighed a thousand pounds. There was no smile of victory. No excitement at the prospect of adventure. There was deep pain in her eyes as if every book was a knife through her heart. I asked myself again: How did I raise this child? Yet, I held out hope that she'd find just the right book, and from there, the love of reading would spiral out of control.
That was seven months ago, and while she has found a few stories that she likes to read over and over, she still professes her dislike of reading. Truth be told, she is more like her mother than anyone knows. My love of reading didn't start until I was 19 years old. My husband, an avid book lover, who instilled in me all of those silly rules about book lending, presented me with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I half heartedly told him I'd read it, but I never expected to love it.
This was my first experience with staying up all night because I just couldn't stop reading. Jordan was my first love when it comes to authors, and I can still feel that moment of ecstasy when the words took on a life of their own and activated my imagination. Someday, perhaps my little girl will find the book or author that brings that joy to her own life. Until then, we take her for who she is: A funny, witty, beautiful kid with personality enough for two.
Oh, and don't worry. If the house ever does catch on fire, we rescue kids first. The books first conversation really is a joke. No humans, or animals will be left behind should disaster strike.
Jordan's series is now 13 books long. Book 14, the last in the series, is scheduled to come out in January 13, 2013.
Robert Jordan passed away in 2007 and the last two books are written by Brandon Sanderson, an author Jordan personally chose to continue his work. Jordan left plenty of notes, and the first book by the new author was excellent. I noticed the difference in writing styles immediately, but the story itself is a part of me, and I'm just as excited for the final book as I have been for every other new release in this series.