On books…

We have a tendency towards keeping busy around here. Rarely do we find idle hands, both child-sized or adult. If we aren’t actively doing something together, we’re busy with our own projects that span a huge variety of interests.

If you walk around our house on any given day, you’ll find little vignettes here and there that show just what has been occupying us of late. From this Mama, you’ll see puddles of yarn with knitting needles or crochet hooks at the ready, bits of embroidery, the remnants of baking (for it never seems to last long), and the beginnings (or endings) of a project being shared with 30 girls at our weekly Girl Guide meetings.

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Elsewhere, you’ll find art projects and latch hook projects, beading, jewelery making, and little bits of origami.

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But one thing you can be sure of is that everywhere you look, there will be books.

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We have bookshelves all over the house. The family room sports three huge ones plus two skinny ones. Each child’s bedroom sports at least one, and the bedroom I share with The Man We Call Dad has two (and desperately needs another). In the basement, our craft room has an entire shelf dedicated to books of a crafty nature while The Man We Call Dad’s office and my office add another 4 to the count.

And yet despite all the bookshelves in the house, we constantly find ourselves running out of room for books.

A few years ago, I dove into the world of e-books and bought a Kindle. I love my Kindle. It’s the most amazingly wonderful way to carry a whole library with you wherever you go. I add to it regularly, using the Amazon free books list and subscribing to a couple of newsletters to acquire books for free or nearly so, but I also do spend my hard-earned dollars regularly on authors I love and books that come highly recommended by friends.

But as K pointed out last week, there’s nothing quite like the feel of a real paper book in your hands and as nice as the Kindle is, it just isn’t the same. Shortly after he made that statement, B reminded him that they both received gift cards to Chapters for Christmas that they hadn’t spent yet. And immediately after that, The Man We Call Dad announced that it was time for a trip to the bookstore.

You might think, knowing that our bookshelves at home are full to overstuffed in every room, that we had enough books. You might also think, knowing that our Kindle is practically a full-featured library in its own right, that we had more reading material waiting to be read than we have spare minutes left in our lives. And you might remember this post from just over a week ago where I mentioned having just gotten an entire pile of new books from B’s Scholastic book order at school.

Do we really need more books?

Silly question! Of course we do! And, armed with gift cards and spending money, we filled not one, not two, but three shopping bags full of books to read.

There was much debate about who was buying what since we all want to read almost everything the other people bought, but in the end it was all sorted out and everyone is eagerly anticipating reading and sharing and borrowing all around.

I had wondered, once upon a time, whether it would be weird watching my children read books I myself love to read as an adult. Whether I would worry about the violence in the books, or the sex, or the heart-wrenchingly sad moments that leave a tender-hearted person feeling just as devastated by fictional events as they might be by real events, if only for a moment.

But I find myself so crazy proud of my young readers and thrilled to be sharing my most favourite books with them as well as discovering new ones together. It provides so much fuel for conversation and thoughtful exploration of the world we live in, with all its good bits and bad, its sorrows and joys. When I see my children tucked into a corner with a book in hand, expressions intent and focus absolute, I am certain that in this, at least, I have done something right.

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