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Saturday, February 1, 2014

My First Love

...Not that kinda first love...that bastard isn't worth the electricity to run my laptop for the amount of time it would take to write ya'll a short novella about that train wreck.

Folks, my first love...was is reading.

I was taught to read around three and a half, by an overzealous mother already forging the path to not "end up like her."  (By the way, although the circuitous route through which she became the person she is today sucked, like, majorly, she is one of the most bad-ass people I know.)  I was blessed as a child, not only to have a mother who insisted I read and would stop chores to watch The Reading Rainbow with me on PBS, but to also have two sets of grandparents that were in love with the written word.  One set owned not only an entire five sets of encyclopedias, but these books (for the life of me, CAN NOT remember what they were) that were full of interesting places and animals all over the world, and entire bedroom full of half-price romance novels (complete with half-naked men and women in Gone with the Wind fashion) with an occasional Clive Cussler novel thrown in the mix.  My other set had literally every single National Geographic since 1945, and a gigantic collection of Reader's Digest and various religious books.  I read all of these (with the exception of the smut in the aforementioned bedroom, but don't worry, I gave in to that sin years later.) at least twice.

My sperm donor, who thought I was a fat ass that was too lazy and obviously too damn stupid to actually be sitting on our Goodwill loveseat reading, once grabbed a book from me, and threw it across the living room.  Even at six years old, I had the makings of a grand champion smart ass, because I quoted to him from Education of a Wandering Man, "A book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think."  Baffled, he stalked out of the house, and later had to be retrieved from a local bar.  (Side note: That damn Louis L'amour got me sent to the Principal's office in first grade.  We had "quiet reading time", and I broke out The Walking Drum that I had pilfered from the sperm donors' collection stacked by his recliner the night before.  The old bag snatched it up, and proceeded to drag (not a joke) me to the Principal's office.  I remember sitting there thinking what in God's good green earth is going on?  Then my mom came through the door, face as purple as a beet, and told me to follow her, where she proceeded to march right in the Principal's office, grab him by the tie and pull him across the desk, and shout (I'm not joking), "What in the HELL is the meaning of this!"  When he recovered himself, he explained that I was found to "make-up" books I had read, and that it was impossible that I could have any comprehension of what I was reading at such a tender age, and that the subject matter was inappropriate for a first-grader.  Two weeks later, after going to a psychiatrist who my mom could not afford along with the results of a college-level reading comprehension test & two I.Q. tests, I was out of the old bag's class and into a new one.)

Later in life, around age 10, I began to dread summer.  No way to use the school library, my mom worked too late to take me to the regular library, so I did a sweep of the house for reading material.  Lo and behold, in cardboard storage boxes tucked under my mom's bed, was book after book of V.C. Andrews.  Flowers in the Attic...need I say more?  Eventually, I got busted reading them, argued my case, and it was decided I could read the books, but I had to discuss the whole entire book with my mom before moving forward.

Shortly after my summer of V.C. Andrew's incest and smut, we moved to town and the first thing I did was get a library card.  Growing up, on more than seven occasions, I either was "grounded" or "sick" at times, just to finish a book that had gotten too good to waste hours doing anything but finishing it.  I have also been known to call in sick and work on paint-by-numbers, but that's another ramble for another day.

So, that being said, I have read some excellent books so far this year.  Be forewarned, I'm not an elitist reader.  I will read dang near anything that moves me.

First book:  Salvage Man by Kurt Meyer. (Also has an awesome blog, The Hoosier Contrarian.)  I bought this book at 10 am on a Sunday, and was crying on my couch, Kindle in hand, by 5 pm.  Mr. Meyer was my high school newspaper teacher, and I'll admit, I bought it because I felt obligated to. (His first novel, Stardust, is easily in my top 10.)  First mistake.  I'm nervous to tell you what I feel this book is about, because I want you to read it that bad.  I've already made four people read it, and no one has had a dry eye or anything but love for this book.  It's about a man who isn't at the top of his game, trying to survive in a changing world, with changing family dynamics, in a changing community.  It has a wild twist in it, that, if written by anyone else, would have cheapened the novel, but Mr. Meyer pulls it off brillantly.  At the end, I literally could not help but feel a sense of loss and at the same time, a sense of hope for the Salvage Man's future.  A must read in 2014.

Second up, The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene.  Another glorious book.  I stayed up late in the night because I couldn't sleep not knowing how this one would end.  Hazel Grace is a sixteen year old suffering from cancer, who meets Augustus Waters in a support group in the Literal Heart of Jesus.  What follows is a love story, but we aren't talking a Nicholas Sparks love story, we are talking about the kind of story where you sit the book down and feel like you knew the characters, that a little piece of you will always wonder, what if?

The next book I haven't read, but intend on remedying that this evening over a couple beers.  Treadwell is a book by Joy over at The Witless Relocation Program.  I was glued to my laptop a solid four hours last Sunday reading through years of posts on her blog, when I stumbled across this gem she has written.  Once I finish it (tonight) I'll update you (tomorrow.)

I want to thank everyone who stops by my little corner of the interweb, and those who comment.  Even though most of this drivel is a therapeutic release for me, it makes the world seem like a better place when people read what you write and are compelled to comment.

2 comments:

  1. I have NEVER been as nervous as I am now. I lived, and loved, my precious Indiana.....well, you'll know when you read my book.

    I wish you could have read my first blog. TWELVE YEARS destroyed by a hacker.

    There are some Neanderthal haters on the internet who never read my book, cast aspersions on my book, and said it was at the Dollar Store for $1.

    So I can't wait to hear from someone who actually reads books.

    Lord, Lord. I'ma nervous wreck!

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  2. Don't be nervous! I stayed up half the night to read it, and let me tell ya honey, you have found your calling. I understand though, putting something out there so close to your heart, hoping people understand what you are saying. Makes me sweaty sometimes, the things I put (or more accurately, attempt) to put into words on this blog.

    The interweb is full of folks emboldened by the fact that they can bring other people down to their level with a few clicks of a keyboard. Indiana is full of folks that know how to hit the broadside of a barn with a Mossberg with a cigarette in their mouth and not spill their beer...I like my chances.

    The Dollar Store is the Panera Bread of Indiana, and I have never once seen your book there, so fear not.

    Hackers...where do I start...if they are so intelligent to be able to disable a password protected blog, why the hell is the unemployment rate so damn high? Furthermore, if you can make meth in a bathtub, why can't you get a job? Meth may seem like a a mess of fertilizer and Draino, but that's chemisty...I guess I'll never understand.

    Be forewarned, I'm not a book critic and I probably didn't do your book justice, but the post was written with love.

    Mandy

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