I Am Just as Surprised as You.

by Alexa on December 5, 2012

1. In which I attempt, rather pathetically, to return the favor

I am still going through your excellent comments, and feeling absolutely gluttonous. So many books I want to read, and I want to read them all at once! This is a marked improvement over the anxious what-on-earth-will-I-read-next-oh-no-two-chapters-left!? feeling of scarcity I had before, so thank you.

You have all been so generous with your recommendations that it seems only right that I share a few of my own. Unfortunately, I tend to recommend the same things over and over, so I’m pretty sure that if you have been reading here for a while you have heard most of my old standbys. But, because we were discussing mysteries I feel I must once again strenuously suggest Sarah Caudwell (brilliantly witty, only wrote four books so I reread them again and again). And certainly Rex Stout is new to no one, but just in case, I will remind you all that he is marvelous.

Oh! Yes! Not a mystery, but: Diary of a Provincial Lady, by E.M. Delafield. I recommend this to lots of people in real life, however a quick search tells me I have never mentioned it here. It is the first in a series–there is A Provincial Lady in London, A Provincial Lady in Wartime, and a few others, and they are absolutely marvelous and I just reread them for the zillionth time during my pregnancy with Twyla (are you sensing that I do a lot of REreading? I do). Whenever I hear someone talking at length about how REVOLUTIONARY it is to blog about everyday life as a mother, I think of these books, which are essentially a precursor to this whole enterprise. They are British, written in the 1930s, and the humor is exquisitely dry. I am sure those of you who are familiar will back me up in comments.

2. A perception problem

All of the reading I have been doing on my phone has brought up an issue I hadn’t foreseen: when Simone sees me curled on the couch, engrossed in a book, she doesn’t KNOW I am curled on the couch, engrossed in a book. I realized this a few weeks ago, and it alarmed me, so I called her over to show her that I was reading! See, it’s a BOOK!

No it’s NOT, she said, scornful. It’s a PHONE.

(No, but look! See! It’s a story! It’s a book ON my phone!) (It’s not a BOOK.) (And so on.)

Maybe this shouldn’t bother me, but it does. I saw my parents reading all the time, and I grew up surrounded–quite literally, surrounded–by books, and I honestly think I owe much of the good in my life to my love of reading. I could go on (and on) (and ON) about how important I think reading is, and how much joy books have brought me, and another day, when I have the time, I will, but for now, it is enough to say that I think that nothing has been more useful in my life as a human. I thanked MY BOOKS in the acknowledgements of my own book, for pete’s sake.

The point is, a love of reading is one of the gifts I most want to give Simone and Twyla, and now that Simone is getting older, I am starting to worry that I am failing. She probably watches more TV than she should. I haven’t taught her to read yet, because I can’t seem to figure out how one even does such a thing. We read a lot, and she knows all her letters and the sounds they make, but it seems like such a leap from there to actual reading, and I honestly am not even sure how it happens, and I don’t want to push it because I want reading to be fun, not work. But I feel like I am not doing enough, and if anyone knows how you make a child into a reader, not just a person who can read, but a READER, well, I would love for you to tell me.

3. I really can’t add anything to these pictures.




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