Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

August 2, 2011

Thoughts on Reading

Filed under: Family,Reading — Janice @ 11:36 pm

I visited with a friend tonight and she was telling me about the list of 700 or so books she has read in the last 4 years. Yikes. I don’t know if I’ve finished 70 books in the last 4 years. My Internet habit has replaced my television habit that replaced my reading habit long ago.

Not that I don’t read. I really do. Right now I am reading 4 books. Sarah Bird’s latest “The Gap Year” is at the top of the list and it is the reason I look forward to going to bed and getting in a few chapters before I have to make myself sleep. On hold for the moment is the autobiography of Keith Richards. I had to put it aside to read a book for my book club last month (“The Gay Place” by Billy Lee Brammer) and there it sits. I’ve got a book about Comanche Indians on the Texas Plains called “Empire of the Summer Moon” going and I keep it in the car for when I go out for lunch alone or get stuck somewhere for a while. Sadly, that isn’t often enough and that book has been neglected for a while. And I just began “The Art of Racing in the Rain” at the recommendation of my friend Beth. If I read as fast as my friend Susan (or as much) I would have finished those all before this paragraph was written.

I definitely grew up with a mother who read constantly. In the summer, when I was home to observe her, I would see her do the gardening in the morning and get the house clean and then she would lay down on the bed to read for a  while in the afternoon before making dinner. After dinner and after some TV with the family, she was usually the first to retire to the bedroom so she could read.

My Dad was a gas pipeline land surveyor and his job frequently took him out of town from Monday through Friday or even for two weeks at a time. Those summer days when he was gone seemed to stretch forever. Without his leaving in the morning and arrival in the evening to give the day structure, we three just floated on a never-ending bookmobile. Mom would pull the mattress off of her bed onto the floor and Mackie and I would sleep on the floor mattress and she would sleep on the mattress that was still on the bed. We three would read and read and read late into the night. That is a very pleasant memory for me. The windows wide open because the nights are so cool in the summer in the Panhandle and the only sounds were from a coyote in the distance or our dog outside the window and pages turning in the room.

We also were allowed to read at the dinner table when Daddy was out of town. That was a real treat, too. Probably a treat for Mother more than anyone!

We made a lot of trips to the library in Canyon in the summer. Canyon had the best library in the world when I was in junior high. It was a long narrow military building of some kind, like barracks. I don’t know if it had been moved onto that lot, just off of the square in Canyon, or if it was originally there. It was dark and crowded and you could lose yourself in there for a long long time. When I was in high school they moved into a large modern spacious and airy new building and I never got the same enjoyment from it. There’s something about those dark crowded shelves that made me feel like I was discovering something that no one else knew about.

3 Comments »

  1. Good memories! Wonder if even the Panhandle has cool nights this hot summer?

    Comment by Pat — August 4, 2011 @ 10:46 am

  2. Thanks Janice, reading your blog always brings back so many wonderful, fun memories. As I was reading, I was wishing for a cool night in the Panhandle. Tonight is a little cooler than it has been because it is raining a little northwest of us. Sometimes when Daddy was out of town during the week in the summer, my mom would move a mattress to the floor in the living room – it was much cooler under the swamp cooler and we could watch TV.

    Comment by sandy — August 5, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

  3. Good memories. I still remember the smell of that old library and the books. No Kindle or Nook can give you that!

    Comment by Mackie — August 7, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

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