World Book Day

When my children were growing up we would often walk around a local town, Nyack, NY, especially when there was a street fair. They knew that the response to “can we get that?” was almost always “no” until we got to the bookstore. There they knew all three of us were likely to leave with a purchase.

Many years later when my younger daughter began to raise her family in Florida, my granddaughters knew that a visit from Grandma meant a trip to the bookstore. And when it was bedtime we would “fool” mommy by getting under the covers to read by flashlight. I will never forget my younger granddaughter, whose experience had only been with the library, asking me if it were really true that she could keep the book I had gotten her forever. I told her that not only could she keep it, but that perhaps one day she would read it to her little girl.

As the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated this week, I can’t help but think of the role reading has played in my life and how lucky I have been to have unfettered access .to the people, places and ideas I found in books. I have switched from print to digital and from buying to borrowing, but my love of reading is unchanged.

As a child I worked my way around the children’s section from A to Z. Today I am more discriminate and I refuse to finish a book that doesn’t hold my interest. While I have always preferred fiction, I find myself increasingly gravitating toward non-fiction, although the highest compliment I can pay a work of non-fiction is that it reads like a novel. And while I no longer have to hide under the covers, my habit of reading late into the night, usually when I can least afford to be tired the next day, continues unabated. If I start a mystery I need to know “whodunnit.”

I recently accepted a challenge to tweet the covers of 7 books I loved, without explanation. It was very hard to narrow it to seven and not describe them or offer my reasons. There are books I have loved for many years, like Bronte’s Jane Eyre, about a woman who learns she can “live alone if self-respect and circumstances require her to do so,” and books I just only recently finished , like Michele Obama’s Becoming, about a smart, talented woman who struggled to believe in herself. Alexander McCall Smith’s #1 Ladies Detective Agency series is categorized as “mystery,” but is really a quiet reflection on human nature and a love letter to Botswana. My all-time favorite leadership book is Leadership on the Line, by Heifetz and Lansky. I try always to remember that change is about loss when I am trying to lead people in a new direction.

Thanks for indulging me in a walk down memory lane and a chat about my passion for reading.

Barbara Viniar2 Comments