Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Foreword: Self Portrait Challenge

book babe, originally uploaded by roxydynamite.

The first thing I remember becoming passionate about in my life is books. I learned to read with ease and quickly surpassed my schoolmates. In the first grade, I found I could read the same passage at least three times over before the others finished for the first time. Reading isn't about speed, of course, but when you have a voracious appetite it certainly helps.
As a girl, my Nana and Grams fed my addiction to books. Buying me gorgeous illustrated copies of Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I had the whole collection of Little House on the Prarie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The series of shoe books, ballet shoes, theater shoes etc. I dabbled with the girl sleuths Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden.
Around the fourth grade, I got a public library card and then there was no stopping me. Mrs, Dudas, the librarian, would special order books from the main branch for me or put aside new books that she thought I would enjoy. When I tried to check out The Good Earth that year she protested. My mother wrote her a note instructing her not to censor what I read. After that, I was free to roam the adult room and read everything they had by Pearl S. Buck. The first book I stayed up all night to read was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Can't count how many times that has happened since.
In high school, I walked around with a backpack full of books that were not for school. Had to have my Dostoyevsky on hand at all times! Besides the Dickens, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Melville I was assigned, my personal reading list grew and grew.
So has my book collection. I really try not to buy many books unless they are reference materials. I will read a novel in a day or two. So I favor the library, although my town's library is pretty woeful. Working at The Paper gives me the advantage of bringing home review copies. I find myself reading random things I bring home. Usually, I am reading two books at once.
Right now I'm in the middle of The Evil B.B. Chow and Other StoriesM by Steve Almond. The title story was wickedly funny. I'm closer to the beginning of Birdsong: A Natural History by Don Stap. It's sucking me into the world of ornithologists trying to understand how birds learn to sing. Very fascinating stuff.

For more introductions to other SPTers, check in with Self Portrait Challenge for this week's installment. Or browse the photos in the Flickr group.


Anonymous Amy said...

It's hard to tell, but it looks like your beautiful eyes match you lovely walls...

5/23/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous bekka said...

i. love. this. photo. nice angle, great composition, clarity... AND books! And YOU, of course, too!

wow. well, i'm a librarian, so me and books, we're like this: ||. if that makes sense!

thanks for writing about your relationship with books. i love to read those kinds of things.

and, I had no clue that Steve Almond has something new out! i can't wait. will have to find a copy.

5/23/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Kim Carney said...

birdsong looks wonderful. Why do Robins start singing at dusk. I hear them now and have been wondering that. My mom eats up books like you, I read two or three lines and my eyes slam shut! But I have a house full of books that I have a love affair with ;) Great post!

5/23/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Bethany said...

OMG-- Me too! I LOVE, LOVE books! One of the reasons I became a writer. :-)

Love the photo. it is fabulous!

5/23/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger dani said...

yes, books rule!

5/24/2006 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger LeS said...

I love your expression here - it tells the story before you do :)

(and thanks for stopping by - I think my favorite thing about spc is the new people I meet because of it)

5/24/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger dani said...

rachel, bruce chatwin's songlines will probably be a great start for you to learn about songlines. i'm not sure if our indigenous (australian aborigines) are the only ones to have songlines and dreaming in their culture. my idea of songlines: the routes and places you visit often. love, hold dear to you, belong to your family, belong to you, become a part of you are songlines. so if you're lucky enough to have come from a family with generation after generation living these same songlines (areas) a definite energy, song, feeling, atmosphere develops and speaks to you, inhabits you.

5/25/2006 07:02:00 AM  

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