I read an entire book the other day. I read “Sister Noon” by Karen Joy Fowler. It was an incredible book, unputdownable, if you know what I mean. I’ve been a big fan of Karen’s since I first read “Sarah Canary,” and that book still resonates. Karen is a master wordsmith.
But to take the time to read an entire book in a day is to hearken back to that summer between seventh and eighth grades. I alluded to that odd summer a few days ago, when talking about the biking summer between sixth and seventh grades. The summer between seventh and eighth was when I fell in love with reading. Fiction caught me in its trap and I have been ecstatic about being its prisoner ever since.
That summer I spent entirely in my swimming suit (don’t ask me why). I would wake up in the morning, and with both parents gone to work, I would get up, brush my teeth and then go back to bed and read. I slept with a pile of library books, and when I finished each one in the stack, I put them in the basket of my trusty bike and went back to the library for another pile.
That summer I devoured everything I could find by H.G. Wells, everything by Edgar Rice Burroughs including all the Tarzan Books, the Pellucidar series, and some of the Mars books, everything I could find by Heinlein, Serling, and Ian Fleming, and then became magically transported to the dark side of Edgar Allan Poe.
It was an incredible summer. I read every possible waking moment. With no one to nag me about taking out the garbage or “go outside, it’s a beautiful day,” I had the luxury of feeding my soul.
Perhaps that summer has taken on some mythical aspects in my memory. Perhaps it wasn’t precisely as I remember it, but that’s okay. What I do know is that I read all those books in those short months, and that I have never been the same since.
Would that every child had such an opportunity.