Up, Up and Away

On this beautiful Sunday, it’s nice to take some time and reflect on something I love to do--reading. I’ve been traveling quite a bit this June, so this is the first Sunday I’ve not had to be planning for the next excursion for either pleasure or work. It’s just a day to relax for a bit and recover from delayed flights, lost luggage, and uncomfortable plane seats. I’m still a little jet lagged, so please bear (or is it bare? Wait, no that would mean…yikes, never mind) with me if my post repeats anything already discussed.

One part of air travel I love is that I see TONS of people sitting in airports or on planes reading, and not just magazines or newspapers, but books. I also see many with laptops and other electronic devices that could be used as e-book readers, so probably some of those folks are indulging in the joy of the written word as well.

Statistics show that there are way fewer readers today than a decade ago, and those same statistics indicate men read less than women, but I’m heartened by the fact I see people of all ages in both genders reading when they could be doing something else to pass the time waiting on a flight or in flight. And might I add at this point, is there anything sexier than a man holding a book? Is there? No, there certainly is not! Well, maybe if he’s holding a puppy, too. Or just a puppy. Or wearing a uniform. Or cooking dinner. Or…

What was I writing about? Oh, yeah. Reading.

Anyway, most of these readers looked like they’re really into the books, the world around them a distant buzz of activity. I get that way when I read. On one particularly harrowing flight to Canada, I remember reading a Dave Barry book and laughing hysterically as the plane veered up and down, left and right. I swear the pilot was practicing maneuvers and nearly went into a barrel roll at one point. The thought briefly flitted across my mind that his flying style was no more than a blatant attempt to ruin my reading time, since I don’t get much that doesn’t involve more unpublished books than actual published ones. It couldn’t possibly have been the poor pilot was trying to keep the plane in the air. I really didn’t care either way. I just clutched the arm of my seat with one hand and my precious book with the other, figuring if we were in real trouble, I’d get hit with an oxygen mask, see flight attendants go on alert, or hear a big splash. Until then, I determined, I would keep reading, and I did.

Readers are important to us—to society, to publishing, to us as individuals in that they are friends and family. I come from a home of voracious readers, with my grandmother able to put away 2-3 mass market paperbacks in a day if she wanted. My mother read all the time, too, especially as her illness progressed, and my aunts constantly brought over huge brown paper sacks of books to trade. Mom and Grandma made plenty sure they read to my sister and me when we were young because they knew reading to young children assists in vocabulary development, promotes language acquisition, and instills in them the ability to learn to read and enjoy it. When I asked my mom once how she and my grandmother, both of whom dropped out of school with only my mother returning to get her GED, knew they should read to us, she casually replied, “I read it somewhere.” Go, Mom!

I was reminded the other day how much those stories we heard as children affected my sister and me when I did a Notes exercise on Facebook. The challenge was to write down fifteen books that have stuck with you in fifteen minutes and tag fifteen friends to do the same. My list included picture books and YA novels, as well as some adult classics and current favorites, and I could picture the covers of those books just as easily as if they sat in front of me right then. Then I remembered how we always had books around the house, lying everywhere. There were more books than toys, and in some cases I think our books became our toys, the poor things. The point is, my sister and I grew to be avid readers, with a craving for the written word just as vital to us as the primitive drives of hunger, thirst, sleep and sex.

Because of this, and to selfishly build a future fan base, I volunteer every chance I get to give books to kids. Not MY titles, certainly, as they aren’t appropriate for the age group, but I buy some of my favorite children’s classics as well as other fiction and nonfiction. When I can, I read to kids; even teens need to be read to now and then. Actually, truth be known, I also read to my friend’s dog when I dog sit. She seems to like it, or maybe she’s humoring me. I’ve heard of people reading poetry to cats, and I’ve also heard cats are reincarnated poets, hence their penchant for playing with any writing utensil unwittingly left within reach.

By the way, reading to young children also helps develop the imagination. Can you tell? lol

It’s been said the most voracious readers usually become the best writers, and I think we’ve seen the evidence of that in my fellow bloggers here at Fierce Romance. Perhaps we can pass along the joy of reading by becoming Fierce Reading Advocates, too. Something to ponder later; right now, for some reason, I feel the need to pick up a book.

Happy Reading!

PS In the first picture in this post, I bet that couple just got done reading a nice book of erotic poetry. In the second picture, I think the hubba hubba is holding a book right above his head, waiting for some lucky lady to try to grab it. And finally, how nice is it of this hunk to volunteer to read to this poor gal who is blindfolded? She's so grateful she's giving him a kiss, and then they'll get started...reading. Yeah, reading. :)


Nicole North said...

Great post, Cameo!! You made me laugh several times! I loved the interpretation of the pictures. wink-wink Needless to say that flight would've terrified me. I love reading but don't think I could've read through that. LOL

Esmerelda Bishop said...

Great post! I'm also a huge reader, refuse to fly and probably would have been a cowering mess with what you went through, but a huge reader, lol. our house is full of books, I keep myself surrounded by them. I read to my kids, and read in front of them in hopes they too will always appreciate the written word. So far, so good. Neither can read, yet, but they sit with a book on their laps and make up stories from the pictures. I'm very proud of them and hope it continues:)

Carol Ericson said...

Cameo, I have great memories of our public library growing up. My sister and I used to check out a armful of books each and have them finished by the 2-week due date. Alas, the reading bug seems to have skipped my two boys, although occasionally they'll find a book they like. My younger son was reading for 20 min. today and I have to put the timer on for him because he doesn't want to read any more than he has to. Well, the timer went off and I came into the other room and he was still sitting in the chair reading! A miracle. He read for a few more minutes to get to the end of a chapter. The movie, The Reader, has some exquisite scenes about reading, and hearing Ralph Fiennes' voice-over, reading from the classics brough tears to my eyes. A fantastic movie.