Hooked by a curious monkey

I love books. Give some of the credit for that to Curious George and some to my mother. As a lover of the written word, I’m always sorry to hear about the demise of any bookstore. So I’m sad to hear the news about Borders Bookstores’ problems. http://tinyurl.com/4r2eh4k

In my house, books are considered great gifts to give and receive. In fact, some of my unread gifts are piled on the floor of our living room turned library. I plan to read some of these now that my life is a little less hectic than it has been for the last four years.

Before I tackle the pile, I’m reading a book I just purchased (and mentioned in an earlier post), Iron Butterflies by Birute Regine.

My love for books started long before I could read. I don’t remember going to book stores back then, but trips to Knoxville’s Murphy branch library were an almost weekly adventure.

My mom or one of my five siblings would walk with me to the library up the hill from our apartment to Murphy branch, a low red brick building filled with rows of shiny wooden tables and chairs and shelf after shelf of books, new and worn.

 I remember the smell of the books and the cool quiet in the library. We didn’t have air conditioning at home so on hot Tennessee days, I would spend hours at Murphy branch looking at picture books and eventually reading hundreds of the books there.

One of the proudest days of my young life was when I could write my name. Writing my name meant I could sign for my own red and white plastic library card. The first time I ran my fingers over the raised lettering that spelled out my name on the card was unforgettable. Walking home clutching an armload of books that I had checked out with my new card made me feel grown up.

Even after I learned to read, having my mother read to me was always a treat.  All of us would crowd on the couch around her and spill onto the floor as she read Horton Hears a Who! or Curious George Rides a Bike, two of my early favorites.

My mother is still a great reader. On a recent car trip from Richmond back to Knoxville, she read to me from Charles Kuralt’s  America as we drove south on Interstate 81 hugging the Appalachian Mountains.

 The last book I read was Paint the Sky Purple by local author, Vanessa Womack. She signed it and gave it to me in August 2010. I didn’t get around to reading it until I took time off at Thanksgiving.  http://tinyurl.com/4jltunq

I feel a little ashamed to admit that it took me that long to read it.  Now, I don’t have any excuse not to find time to read more and I won’t feel guilty if I pick up a book or two at Varina library’s book sale this weekend (Feb.26).  http://tinyurl.com/4a93yuv

Read any good books lately?


7 thoughts on “Hooked by a curious monkey

  1. Samieh

    There’s nothing like cozying up with a book! My guilty pleasure is reading ‘chick lit’ – as I explained to my husband, they are the book equivalent of chick flicks. Just read ‘The Little Lady Agency’ by British author Hester Browne. For more serious reading, I enjoy anything by Barbara Kingsolver, a Kentuckian and author of The Poisonwood Bible.

  2. This Common Reader

    Reading your description of your first visits to the library takes me back to my frist adventures with the library. The books I remember were Mrs. Wiggles Cabbage Patch, Little Women, Little Men and Caroline and Her Friends.

    Good descriptive writing.

  3. Kate Line Snider

    I loved the library when I was a child. Your blog evokes great memories for me- especially that indefinable smell of old books; the way the afternoon sun shone through the large windows of the downtown Richmond Public Library. I carted home bags of books, especially those by Enid Blyton, who wrote fiction for young people, and I especially remember a book called “No Children, No Pets” thought I can’t remember the author. It was at the library that I first ‘met” John Masefield, reading his short children’s novel, “Jim Davis”. Later, I learned to appreciate his poems.

    Sometime in about 1959 or ’60 I discovered their music department. I spent many happy hours in the sound booths, listening to recordings of classical music. (Sometimes I was allowed to check out those magical black folders containing first-rate LPs! I was always reluctant to return them!) I was already somewhat versed in the Bach-Beethoven-Brahms kind of classical music, but it was within the walls of the library that I discovered the less publicly familiar works of Ralph Vaughn-Williams, Paul Hindemith, Griffes, Aaron Copeland, and others. The library nurtured for me what has become a haven of enjoyment.

    The internet is a valuable resource for scholars and I embrace it as a research tool. This is where I buy my books and cds, search for friends, and surf for vacation ideas. However, the library is the ultimate inspirational source. It pleases me that my grandchildren love it!

    “Thanks for the memories”!

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