When you are old and gray and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire, take down this book and slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep. – William Butler Yeats
There were several especially quiet days during this past Christmas holiday that my 3-year old niece and I found a good chair to sit in so we could read together. No matter what book she chose, there were certain times of the day that I could barely make it past page two without her falling into a deep sleep. It would sometimes take me several minutes to realize she had fallen asleep, and most of the time the book was so good that I just kept reading until the end. As I quieted my reading and eventually trailed the words off into a whisper, she would sometimes try to open her eyes or even smile just a bit, but otherwise she was, as my grandma always says, “out like a little light.”
It made me think about how relevant books are to the rhythms of life. There have been so many middle-of-the-night anxieties that have awoken me over the years, but the one thing they all have in common is the time they have given me to read (or pray!). It is little wonder that books are as abundant on nightstands around the world as they are in libraries around the world. There have been times that my nightstand is stacked so high with books that I can hardly find the switch to turn on the lamp that is surrounded by them.
From there, the chronology of events is always the same: I think I will never been able to fall asleep, so I begin reading. Eventually, I feel the book start to slip from my hands and I try to keep my eyes open long enough to read until the end of the chapter, or at least the end of the page. And then, without warning, I am “out like a light.”
One thing I’ve learned: sleepy readers are the happiest readers I know.
* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page…
Today’s great book: Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak (1962, HarperCollins)
Time to Read: short and funny; bedtime or anytime
Summary: from www.goodreads.com…Pierre’s ‘I don’t care!’ intrigues a hungry lion. ‘A story with a moral air about Pierre, who learned to care.’
Best Quote: “I don’t care,” said Pierre.
Our View: The moment you start reading this book you are going to love every word and idea of it. The rhyming rhythm makes it so easy and accessible for a read-aloud and the several characters (mother, father, doctor, son, lion) are so much to read in different voices. This is a favorite at our house. Our youngest found it in a box of books for sale at a local church bazaar and we bought for a quarter. I’ll never forget her reading it to us from the backseat of the car on the way home that day. We laughed and were so surprised by this little book with the big heart. We learned one thing – it pays to care!
Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – “Lion’s Mouth!” – created by the kids to accompany this particular book.
Does anyone make waterproof books? Our great English major friend says kindle now has a waterproof cover, but we agreed that we’re both afraid to use it! So I am sitting here at my in-laws pool watching my kids and their cousins swim. One brought a book and is trying to figure out how to read it…in the pool. It’s true. People who love to read, love to read everywhere.
That is why it’s a good idea to always have a book along. When the girls were 2 or 3 we started keeping a backpack of books next to them in the car. Whether it was across town to visit the grocery store, waiting for a doctors appointment, in line at the drive-thru bank, or traveling out of town, that bag of 10 or 15 books saved the sanity of those of us in the front seat. We kept it fully stocked with a good variety of that month’s favorite books, and it rarely failed to keep the girls content. I can still see them strapped down in that massive 1995 carseat (so big it nearly swallowed our kids whole) with a harness seatbelt mechanism that practically took an engineering degree to secure it in our Camry. But bringing that backpack along was never a struggle.
Gone are their days in carseats, but the books in crazy places remain…even on a raft at the pool.