Wednesday, September 5, 2012

For The Love of Reading!

Early morning on the Little River Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - August, 2012

I come by it honestly.   After all, I am the daughter of a librarian.   As a child, my disciplinary infractions most always involved a book in one way or the other.   From bringing a book to the dinner table to getting caught long after lights out trying to read just a few more pages while balancing a book and a flashlight UNDER THE COVERS!!   I read anything and everything I could get my hands on with favorites being mysteries, biographies and (no surprise here) anything travel or adventure related.  As I grew older and hopefully, a little more mature, my selections began to include lots of "classics, " both fiction and non-fiction. 

But somewhere along the way, I seemed to have forgotten how much I loved finding a new book by a favorite author on the shelf at the library. Or a tempting title catching my eye at Barnes & Noble.   Heck, I couldn't even tell you the last time I was IN Barnes & Noble, a place I used to spend hours.   And my mom, who used to bring me stacks of books to review for her church library (which she founded and is still considered one of the premier Church Libraries in our state), has stopped doing that.   What makes me sad is I hadn't even noticed.  

So what happened and why I am I writing about it here?   Two things happened.    They didn't happen at the same time, but once they intersected, I became aware of what was missing.    You might have figured this out by now, but the writing of this blog and the reading of so many others gradually took priority over settling in for an afternoon with a good book.  And that isn't a bad thing!  Not at all.   I love writing this blog and love even more, reading yours!  But I will not let it overtake my life to the exclusion of other things which are so much a part of me.  

It was the bursted blood vessel in my eye and subsequent eye infection that caused me to remember.   I was more or less placed on computer abstinence for 10 days so that my poor, strained eyes could heal.  And then there was the insinuation that as long as I insisted on spending most of my waking hours staring into a laptop, I could expect more problems with dry eyes and infections. 

So the laptop took a long hiatus and I almost instantly remembered that the calming print of a real book was a sweet respite indeed.   I've mentioned that I haven't been feeling well on several levels (we are currently working on that) and the truth of the matter is I've spent a luxurious amount of time resting, relaxing and READING!  I think I like those three R's better than the more familiar ones - don't you???  

But most important of all is the peace that comes with rediscovering a piece of yourself that had taken a back seat and putting it back in the place it belongs!  Once more, there is a stack of real, hard bound BOOKS right beside me, I've become reacquainted with the folks at my closest library branch and yes, I called my mom and asked, "why?"   And her answer made me cry.

Here on the homefront, things are settling into the fall routine.   We are loving our new normal.   I am working hard to confront head-on these health issues that are plaguing me and fighting with everything in me to find solutions.   Yesterday morning, for the second time in my life, I endured the full battery of allergy testing and learned some interesting results that directly conflicted with results reported from the earlier battery in 2008.  Go figure!  I see my Rheumatologist later on this week to go over the results of today's appointment and hopefully make some decisions regarding medication that can get me off some of this temporary stuff (Prednisone) that I hate so badly.  Other appointments are coming up in the next few weeks that have me hopeful for progress and solutions.

I am so grateful that, although inconvenient and often uncomfortable, none of these problems have kept me off the hiking trail because if that were the case, I'd be seeking MENTAL help!!   My mountains, the trails and my trail "buds" keep me sane!  

Through all of this, my weight is remaining stable.  I am hovering right at goal weight give or take a couple of pounds which fluctuates daily.   Right now, it isn't difficult!

I've got a cool roadtrip coming up in a few days that promises cooler temps in higher elevations and some chances to hike in one of my favorite areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  So stayed tuned....Gains and Losses is revving up for the fall season.  

But in the meantime.........Mary Jane Clark and her Wedding Cake Mystery Series is wooing me back to her pages!

Are you a reader?   What was the last thing you finished reading?


  1. I'm a HUGE reader! Just the other night my mother accidentally took my kindle with her when my parents left, and all night I banged around the house wailing about the loss of my book! I'm always in the middle of a book, I feel weird when I am not. It's like leading two lives, and I have to live both of them or I'm only half a person! :

    Right now I'm reading Haunted on Bourbon Street (I'm all about fiction. I read about 5 books a week, usually.) Then I have about 5 more novels lined up after that. :)

  2. First I am sending you prayers and good wishes for healing. Congrats on maintaining your weight while taking prednisone as I understand it can be a tricky for some.

    I was just thinking about this very subject yesterday afternoon. I was sitting down, icing my foot and wishing I was in the middle of a good book. I love a good story!

    I use to be a reader, always had a book going! As a kid I read late into the night and my dad would always check on me before he would go to bed as I often would fall asleep with the light on,still clutching a book. Even as my kids were growing up I kept reading books. Taking one with me when I would be waiting for them in the car after school or at their activities.. Alwyas reading right before bed to wind down from the day.

    Like you the computer has slowly taken the place of that activity. I even have a stack of books that my mother gave me over a year ago that I have not even looked at! That is so sad.

    The last book I read was "The Help", I couldn't put it down - great read.

    I will be choosing a book to read real soon. Maybe we need an on line book club of some sort!

  3. I want to be a reader...but I just am not. Every once in a while I'll read something "self help"ish, but as for fiction novels, I think the last thing I read was The Help.

    What did your Mom say that made you cry??

    I hope you find all the help and relief you are needing as you visit these doctors. And I can not wait for the stories of fall season!! It's going to be a good one!

  4. Hi, Sharon, I'm Gayle from Washington. I love to read. I'm on a very tight budget and so I'm always looking for ways to find good reading without spending money. Our local library is very small but I have found treasures there. The last book I read was "A Family Place" by Charles Gaines. It's about a man and his family building a cabin in Nova Scotia. I now want to travel to Nova Scotia. It sounds beautiful.

  5. I used to be a voracious reader as a kid. Now I still read a lot, but it is all non-fiction. I'm afraid tv/movies have replaced reading fiction as my entertainment. That's because I can do my handwork while watching but not while reading. I've been thinking lately about getting so I can listen to some novels and some classics. Between your blog and Lori's I've gotten some interesting book recommendations!

    Hope all your ailments clear up soon. So happy to hear you can still hike!

  6. I've been suffering with the same dry eye complaints when going to the computer. I'm pretty sure I'll never have an electronic reader because of that. I've also let my reading go downhill because of this blog and other things. The good news is that reading a regular book does not bother my eyes. I love mysteries best but will try other things from time to time. I've just started the #1 Women's Detective series that my husband has been recommending for quite a while. I'm ready to start the second one in the series.

    As a child, I also got in trouble for trying to read after I should have been sleeping. My stepmother could not stand that I spent so much time reading and would say to me "You believe everything you read." I'm not sure why she said that but it was not a compliment I can assure you. Both of my children are readers and both have been ridiculed for it. "You read? Eweee. I hate reading." When they find a person who also reads, they are so happy. Mostly, they don't talk about reading to people their own ages. Sad, huh?

  7. If I couldn't read, they might as well lock me up! I've had my nose stuck in a book since I was a small child. I love to unstress with a book! Hope you get lots of photos to share with us when you take your hike in the Smokys; I won't get to take my fall trip there this year.

  8. I am a voracious reader. I always have been. I read very fast, too. The last few years has been almost all nonfiction books and I have decided to get back on the fiction bandwagon with new stuff and catching up on old classics.

    I just finished Water for Elephants.

  9. I hope you get some health answers soon, Sharon! And, of course, that you feel better!

    LOVE to read and have since an early age. I do watch a few TV dramas, but I find it difficult to sit still for a movie. Give me a book anytime! I enjoy the experience, plus they're portable so I can carry them with me to get in a little mid-day reading. This post reminds me that I need to reserve some MJC books at the library. Have you read her KEY News series? (I also am really liking author Lee Harris's Christine Bennett series.)

  10. I am glad you are doing better. Even though you mentioned health issues in previous blogs, I didn't realize you were not doing well. I thought you were out on the trail some place enjoying fall. I hope you find the solutions you need soon.

    I'm glad you've found solace in your old friend, books. I like to read too. I'm in a literary society at church. We used to call ourselves a book club until we read a book about a book club that called themselves a literary society. We liked that and adopted it for ourselves. LOL!

  11. Hi Sharon, I'm not a reader--never have been. I will read things that interest me, but it's not a passion. BUT--I'm feeling some of the blog over-balance that you are feeling... I love Blogging and it is a passion. However, I find myself not having time to go to other blogs and comment. Then it makes me feel very guilty.... Taking a blog break should help... I hope!!!!

    Beautiful picture from our Smokies.... We certainly had fun at Tremont...We got the best picture of Lower Spruce Flats Falls that we have ever gotten... BUT--it seemed very dry there overall...

    Glad you are taking care of your health.

  12. I recently rediscovered reading myself. I haven't read much for years now, though I used to check out 6-10 books at a time when the kids were younger to keep myself entertained while they were watching the kiddie shows. The computer eventually replaced books for "down" time somewhere along the way, I started having problems with dust and fume allergies from books, and then I just fell out of the habit. I bought a Kindle not long ago and it didn't take long to get re-addicted! Last night I checked out a link someone else posted for free Kindle books since the library is so slow getting anything in and added 8 new items, just like the old days! I still have 2 checked out from the library that I haven't started yet, so I better get cracking. I'm finishing the last book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series (got to say I haven't been impressed, but once you start a series you feel compelled to finish) and recently read the Hunger Games series which I enjoyed but wasn't as bowled over by as everyone else seems to be. Next up is "Port Mortuary" by Patricia Cornwell and then I have quite an eclectic collection from the free website, including a book about Machu Pichu, one about bird watching tips, and a book called "Wildlife Heroes: 40 Leading Conservationists and the Animals They Are Committed to Saving". Really looking forward to that one! Like Lori, I recently read "Water for Elephants" and enjoyed that one a lot! The Kindle supposedly reads like paper, it doesn't have a backlight. So light and portable, too.

  13. I am more of an audiobook listener. I love being read to and I always have a book in my car to listen to when I'm driving. Makes the time go by so much faster!
    I'm thinking of you, Sharon. Hope you are feeling better soon. Those allergy tests can make you feel like a human pincushion, can't they?

  14. I think reading for pleasure is one of life's greatest pleasures. I read a great deal professionally, not to mention all the things I read from my students, but when I can, I love finding a good, non work related book to read. My latest was The Help whicH I picked up second hand and read on the way Co. Excellent.

  15. What a wonderful blog! Sending good vibes to you for your health. Thanks for sharing about yourself. It gives hope and inspiration. I am a life long reader.
    I just got a Kindle Fire for my birthday from my mom. I'm not reading anything at the moment. I just finished Creole Belle by James Lee Burke. He is my favorite author.

  16. Sharon, I'm really sorry you're not feeling well. I pray that you'll soon find the right medications to help ease your pain so you can get off the prednisone. Thank goodness you're still hiking!

    And, yes, I'm most definitely a reader. Almost a compulsive reader since I'll pick up almost anything close at hand and read it! I've worked at several libraries, and that was pretty much my dream job---to be in the middle of books all day long! Right now, I'm reading Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen that I borrowed from the library. I like it a lot. Next up, Birds of America (short fiction) by Lorrie Moore.

  17. Hi Sharon. I'm just getting back to Blogger after a 2 month summer break. If you're still looking for a Montana blogging friend, I will be happy to do that. Bless you today...........Denise