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Tag Archives: reading

Broadening my reading horizons

graphic novels

I’m pretty much a dinosaur when it comes to reading; I prefer actual books, I don’t use an e-reader often and I don’t listen to audiobooks. I use my town library a lot. But lately I have been discovering that graphic novels, which I wasn’t very interested in for a long time, just keep getting more diverse and better. The first one I read years ago was Art Spiegelman’s Maus, a work of genius and a hard act to follow. One of the librarians at the Westbrook library, Matt, recommends graphic novels to me. At his suggestion, I read a very affecting one called Billie Holiday by Jose Munoz and Carlos Sampayo. Recently I read Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do about a family of Vietnamese immigrants. The writing is simple and powerful, and the art (done by the writer) is excellent. On today’s trip to the library, I discovered that one of my favorite mystery writers, the master of “tartan noir” Ian Rankin, has a graphic novel, which I checked out and took home. I won’t be giving up reading “traditional” books, but I find graphic novels add an intriguing option. When they’re good, the artwork and text work together beautifully. You can find a graphic novel for any level of reader, child to adult, on any imaginable subject. If you haven’t tried them, you might be pleasantly surprised by how sophisticated they are.

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The pleasures of fall – and the endurance of books

The pleasures of fall – and the endurance of books.

Remember what made you happy…

beach library
London book benches

Advice I came across years ago that I find useful: think back to what made you happy as a child, say eight years old. When you feel overwhelmed by grownup obligations, these memories can help you focus on simple pleasures you may be neglecting that feed your soul.

My eight-year-old self loved books, animals, smart friends, the ocean, holidays of all kinds, writing and drawing, including making little illustrated books for my family. No surprise that I live on the coast of Maine, an animal lover, avid reader, writer and yes, publisher of books for the fun of it, not for profit. I still love holidays and playing with like-minded friends. If too much of what you were drawn to and made you happy as a child is missing from your busy adult life, perhaps you can find those uncomplicated pleasures again and be nourished by them.

On the theme of books and their importance: here’s a beach library, and examples from a clever project in London where bus stop benches are decorated as famous books.

Books that enter your heart

books cat tapestry

boy reading

I learned to read before I went to school, and a magic world opened up. My parents took us to the library and we could check out as many books as we wanted, and they never told us a book was “too adult” for us. Thus, I read some books (Peyton Place, Ian Fleming books and Lady Chatterley’s Lover come to mind) that I did not understand except vaguely until years later. Some of the books I loved as a child include: The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, The Borrowers series, The Little House on the Prairie series, A Child’s Garden of Verses, Kipling’s Just So Stories, Black Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, and any book about dogs or lions. Sometimes I reread one of these beloved books, and it never disappoints. Doing so will recall your young, much more innocent self, a bittersweet form of time travel.