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Monday, August 18, 2008

The Richness of Books

“You must get into the habit of looking intensely at words, and assuring yourself of their meaning...you might read all the books in the British Museum (if you could live long enough) and remain utterly “illiterate,” un-educated person; but if you read ten pages of a good book...you are forever more in some measure an educated person.” by John Ruskin (1819-1900)

As a child, my grandmother instilled a love for reading within me. She was and is still such a saintly woman. We always knew we were of importance to her. Strolling down memory lane, here is what I remember of my dear Grandma Good.

Grandma would always make us our favorite breakfast as soon as we awoke in the morning. Even if it was a package of Ramen Noodles. I personally picked ham, onion and cheese omelets and boy were they good. We would make sawdust “cakes” with mud frosting and use some of our grandmother’s happy violets for the decorations. Grandma always had on hand extra clothes for us to wear if we forgot play clothes or jammies. She even put bags with tape around our shoes so we could play out in the rain or snow. Grandma always has a smile on her face and a kiss for every rosey cheek that enters her humble little home. Grandma never had a television which was rare for any household. However, instead of being glued to the tube, we made beautiful artwork with stencils, water paints, markers, colored pencils and old outdated magazines. All of which were beautifully framed on grandma’s fridge. To this day you will still see updated pictures on grandma’s fridge from the younger grandchildren and great grandchildren. My grandmother made gorgeous dresses and night outfits for my favorite baby doll named Allysha. I would awaken to a newly clothed Allysha doll. I thought my grandma was a magic worker.

I could write so much more about my grandmother and all the wonderful times we shared together, but I will move on to the topic at hand. One of the most important things grandma did with me was help me learn to read, then give me gifts of wonderful books. My first book I remember receiving from grandma, was Treasures in Grandma’s Attic which I have to this day. It was followed by Mandie books which I also still have and have added to the collection. What a wonderful series for young girls. It’s paired with God, and morals. Not to mention lots of mystery's. When I was about 12 or 13 my grandmother gave me the book The Velveteen Rabbit paired with a stuffed rabbit she had made to go with the book. To this day, that is still one of my most cherished gifts.

Fast forward to the present. You will see my house is bursting with books. Our many bookcases cannot contain them. They are piled up high onto my dresser, scattered on my desk and found here and there throughout our entire house. I simply cannot get enough of the pages in each one of these adventurous books. From cooking, to cleaning; health and home. Our learning goes on through fiction and biographies. Learning about our precious saviour and getting simple encouragement from others before us. Reading about the adventures of explorers and hearing of past and present martyrs and missionaries. Books are not just fun for reading and putting away. They are wisdom and knowledge that last for a lifetime. They are something we can take with us in our minds on a daily basis. They broaden our understanding of life, love, hope, and adventure. Below is a quote I recently came upon which really spoke to me.

"The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead." By Clarence Day

From Mark Twain to Jane Austen; Strobel to Grisham, the world of reading is so diverse. I would recommend when looking for books, check out your local library for book sales. Try to find unabridged versions. It seems like today everyone is working so hard to make everything simple to understand, that we have lost some of the old and beautiful languages of the past. Let’s bring them back. Let’s open up our children’s minds in this wonderful world of reading. Sadly enough, children are given toys, video games and more that take up most of their time.

“The state of literacy in the United States today is declining so precipitously, while video and computer technologies are becoming so powerful, that the act of reading itself may well be on the way to obsolescence.” by Janet E. Healy

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