POSITIVELY READING

Shining Garnet is having a Blog Challenge this week, asking us to write every day about a certain Positive Thing, and today the topic is supposed to be:

A Book That Had a Positive Effect on You

WHOA!  I read a lot, and while admittedly some of it is rather junkish, there are many many many books that have affected my thinking in some way or another.  And what constitutes “positive”?  If the book is sad, is it positive?  If the book is horrible, could it affect me positively?  I think so. 

Books
     Are
          Wonderful.

And the memories are numerous.  Here are a few:

As a child, I read and re-read A Dog Called Scholar by Anne Hitchcock White.  My favorite chapter was when Scholar, who had been trained not to eat the food till someone told him it was “paid for,” visited a birthday party.  When the hostess gave him a piece of cake, the poor animal began to piteously foam at the mouth, waiting for the magic words.  Chaos ensued over the “rabid” animal.

It’s nice to choose a special book to read during the holidays, because then you can remember exactly when you read it.  I remember a babysitting summer reading The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox while sitting on the porch steps.  This book completely changed my thinking about slavery.

Or there was the college Christmas when I read Les Miserables for the first time.  Surely one of the greatest books ever written.

I finished Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy in Las Vegas standing in a casino.  It was during a college summer when I flew to Los Angeles with my mother, aunts, and grandma.  Grandma was a gambler and insisted on a drive to Las Vegas every time she visited her California daughter (always stopping at the Roy Rogers Museum on the way, just in case he stopped in–he did one time, you know).  Grandma was so old by then that somebody had to pull down the handle of the slot machine when her arm got tired.  I myself played the machines with an investment of $5, using the winnings to purchase some beautiful German Christmas ornaments (which still grace our Christmas tree every year).   Then I was able to get back to the true excitement of finding out how things were ever going to get put back to rights after Hari Seldon’s predictions about the future did NOT come true.

The second time I read the Foundation Trilogy, it was as a read-aloud.  My new husband and I always took turns washing the dishes while the other one read aloud.  It took us a long time to read, and we finished it in the long car trip from our house in Buffalo to Indiana at Christmastime.  The book was new to my husband, and we had to keep stopping the car so he could use the restroom–the book made him that excited!!

So many memories! 

*     Finishing T.H. White’s The Once & Future King (King Arthur) while on my first trip overseas in Britain.

*     Enjoying a second round of The Lord of the Rings during a college summer while riding down to Florida with my feet propped up on the dashboard of a pickup truck.

*     Sharing a fourth round of The Lord of the Rings with my youngest son; when it appeared that Frodo had died, my voice broke and I could barely read aloud Sam’s great grief.  We held each other and sobbed (tears come to my eyes while writing this, the pain and sadness was so real).

*     Reading aloud the entire series of Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman (the unexpected widow who volunteers to be a spy for the CIA) while my sons played with Legos on the living room floor.  “DON’T send us to bed!  Read more!  Read more!”

*     Spending two whole days with a sore bottom and stiff limbs during a recent Christmas break, because I was GLUED to the chair reading The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White) by Ted Dekker.  I absolutely could not tear myself away, even to eat and drink.

So there you have it, just a little bit of positive thinking about books and their power.  I’ll end with a quotation from a favorite childhood book called Seven Day Magic (by Edward Eager):

          On every hand were what looked like thousands of books, ranged on
           shelves, stacks and stacks of them.

          “Think of all those we haven’t read yet!” said Abbie.

          “Maybe some of them have magic inside, too!” said Fredericka.

          “ALL of them, I should think,” said Barnaby, “one way or another.”

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