Tired of Reading?

Scary title, huh!  Remember, this is a blog entitled “Father Knows Books!”  If you have read with us at the site here long enough, then you know we love to read.  We are a family of readers and if you don’t see us with a book or two under our arm at any given moment or activity of the day, something is probably amiss.

But in all honesty, we do get tired.  More specifically, I get tired.  Let me explain – we are reading the wonderful chapter book Ella Enchanted right now.  It is about 230 pages and a little more than 30 chapters…and is one of the most creative and fascinating books I have read in a long time.  I will save the story details for a book review day to be published here this summer, but for now I’ll tell you about the “tired” part.

I started reading the book to the girls at bedtime around the first week in May.  This time of year presents a number of exhausting things that happen during the day. There are end-of-school work and grading projects, musical concerts and choir events, piano recitals, graduation ceremonies, family reunions…and the list goes on and on.  By the time we get to those precious quiet minutes before the lights in our house are dimmed and the pajamas are worn and the teeth are brushed, I am worn out.  There are many nights that the girls don’t even ask me to read because they are worn out as well, or at least they sense my own exhaustion and just kiss me goodnight without a word about books.

When you combine all of that with a chapter book, it often means that we will be reading the same book for weeks or even months because we are moving through it so slowly.  It doesn’t mean the book is not wonderful, it is just means that life has placed a few speed bumps in the road.

So last night, I had nearly given up on finishing the book.  A number of days had passed since we had last read together and I wasn’t sure they were still excited about me reading it to them anymore.

I was wrong!  They were ready and our youngest (age 9) came up with a plan to help me.  She suggested we read in a new location, somewhere in the house that we had not even considered yet, and that we do it before bedtime.  I know it sounds so simple, but for some reason we had made ourselves a rut and were sticking to it like glue and it was simply not working anymore.

Thankfully, our girl had a plan and we implemented it last night.  And guess what?  It worked!  We’re back together and we are reading and laughing and talking together.  We are also enjoying the opportunity to find some great new spots in and around and outside the house to read together (we’ll start keeping a list and post it here very soon).

A simple course correction and the “tired-of-reading” blues are no more.

“Thank goodness,” Father Knows Books said happily!

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Sleepy Readers

CJ BOOK SLEEP

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.

‘Thank-Full’ Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico

*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!

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Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and painting his bedroom…but he did not like to wake up happy.  Here is his story:

It was early- too early for a little iguana to be awake – but the aroma from the kitchen was too good to sleep through. Baby Frederico lay there in his Battlestar Galactica sleeping bag (which he always preferred over the scratchy flannel sheets that his Momma Mia put on his bed in the wintertime) and tried to guess what his senses were telling him.

There was the smell of turkey…and bread dough…and something chocolate…and coffee.  There was the sound of a mixer…and music…and someone talking…and a timer ticking.

He began to think about all the things that were good about this particular holiday – family and friends and food and music and cold weather and piles of leaves to jump in.  There were also those wonderful smells and exciting sounds.  There were books to read and shows to watch and hiking in the forest behind his house and telling stories…and no school or homework.

By the time Baby Frederico climbed out of his sleeping bag that morning,he was brimming with happiness.  In fact, he was smiling so big when he came down the stairs to greet his family that Momma Mia said with surprise, “Baby Frederico, are you alright?  You are smiling from ear to ear, and it’s still early.  You never smile in the morning.”

And that is when Baby Frederico realized what Thanksgiving meant.  He was thank-full and he knew why.