Read

READERS ON TRAIN VINTAGE - ArtsyBee - PX

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Reading makes the heart grow bigger:

Reading brings you entertainment, adventure, knowledge, comfort, and hope.

Reading quickens your mind, stirs your soul, fires your imagination, and enlarges  your dreams.

Reading opens the door to places you’ve never been, sets the calendar to times you’ve never experienced, and introduces you to people you’ve never met.

Let your heart grow bigger. Read a lot.

 


Photo: Courtesy of ArtsyBee @ pixabay.com

author/sandrapavloffconner

 

 

~~~

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax (with Cinquain)

 

Exif JPEG

Relax
And read a book.
Release your mind from toil.
Let soul take flight on words with wings.
Renewed.


 

Visit Daily Post to participate.

 

 

~

I Guess I’m Just a Book Club Dropout

MOBY DICK
People often ask me what I like to read, but almost no one asks me what I do not like to read. I wonder why? Well … of course, I know why. They just aren’t interested in what I don’t like to read, and I don’t blame them. I’m not interested either.

However, today I got to thinking about several authors whose works I do not like. Actually, the list is very, very, very long, but I didn’t have much time to post today, so I’ve narrowed it down to the ones that came to mind quickly. Now, my total lack of appreciation of these authors’ efforts does not mean that they do not have a talent for writing. It just means — simply — that I don’t appreciate their talent.

I do not like works by Nicholas Sparks, and I won’t go to the strenuous mental effort it takes to read Herman Melville or Victor Hugo. (At least, now that I’m out of school and don’t have to.) Stephen King and J. R. R. Tolkien are on my hit list, along with C. S. Lewis. And I absolutely despise works by Hemingway and Dr. Seuss.

When all is said and done, I doubt that there’s a book club anywhere in the world that wants me for a member.  

~~~

Friday Fictioneers – 4/30/13 — ‘Entrusted’

Time for Friday Fictioneers again, and this week’s prompt comes from a photo by Claire Fuller.  My story is below the picture. When I do a word count, my computer counts my ellipses marks as words, but the actual word count is exactly 100.  I’m going with that.

Copyright-Claire Fulller

ENTRUSTED

Oh, Donovan! Am I dreaming?”

No, they are very real.” He caressed book after book, counting each stack again.

How … ?”

Right before his arrest, Father called me to his library. His face awash with tears, he told me the new government police were confiscating and burning every book they could find. He begged me to help him bury his 1000 books.

“We worked all night, and when they came, they found all the shelves bare.  He wouldn’t tell them where … so they executed him.”

But you — ”

I couldn’t betray his trust …. ”

~~~

To join the fun, visit here: http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/

‘Read’ Me A Story

Will you read me a story?” Just how many times I asked that question of parents and grandparents during my growing-up years I’ll never know. But ask it I did, because I loved stories. In fact, I loved the whole idea of someone being able to pick up a book of pages filled with letters, and being able to understand those letters to such an extent that they told a complete story that I could then understand and enjoy.

Reading. It was one of my fondest dreams and proudest accomplishments when still a very young child. Along with learning how to write those same letters on a page myself so that they would make sense for someone else. To say that I was fascinated with books would be an understatement indeed, and I have since spent my life pursuing the adventure of devouring written matter in virtually every form in which I could find it.

Now, in my middle-age season, as I work toward getting more of my own written work published, I’ve naturally been looking into all the various media currently available for getting written material into the hands of the public. With each passing day, I’ve become even more aware of the fact that I am now living on a new planet — Computer-World. Virtually every kind of transaction and correspondence is carried on via the internet, and even a good deal of our entertainment and recreation is now often found in the hallowed halls of the computer terminal.

But I’ve been especially concerned personally with understanding the whole electronic book media, since it is gaining more ground every year. One of the young men who was working with me a few years ago in the development of a publishing enterprise threw me for a loop when we were talking about my getting two or three manuscripts to him in order for him to help critique and edit the material. He suggested that I just send the manuscripts by e-mail. I looked at him in surprise and said, “But then you’d have to print them out yourself, because you wouldn’t want to have to sit in front of the computer to read whole books.” He gave me what I call a sympathetic but condescending look, smiled sweetly, and said, “We’re a new generation . . . we read off the screen.”

I’m sure my face registered my shock, and his words stayed with me for weeks after that conversation. (Now, I think I should add here, for the sake of any writers out there who are working on editing their work on the screen: Be sure you print out a hard copy of your manuscript and do at least one edit from that. Every good editor knows that you will inevitably find errors that simply do not come to your attention on the screen.) But back to my main thought:  I began to ask myself, “Is that what we’re coming to then … a time when nobody will want to pick up a book and hold it while they read the words printed on the pages?” Something deep down inside of me answered, “No.”

Shortly after that, I spent a couple of hours talking with the owner of three large independent bookstores, and I asked him if he thought there would be a total shift to electronic books soon. He said that he could see a slight swing in that direction, but he believed it would be another four or five years before it made any major difference. It’s now all those five years later, and it has made a definite difference, but it still hasn’t emptied the hardcopy bookshelves enough to see the dust on them.

So still the question has been hanging around in my head … and in my heart. I say in my heart because the idea had made me a little sad … like realizing that instead of sitting with friends and being able to touch them while you visited, you’d have to just listen to their voice over a phone line. There’s just something about picking up a book and holding it in your hands … feeling the weight of it … smoothing your fingers over the cover … whether it’s made of fine leather, soft paper, or some other material … it doesn’t matter … it’s a book. And then there’s the expectancy of opening it for the first time … or even the hundredth time … and moving through the pages, smelling the scent of paper and ink that no computer will ever be able to simulate.

Those experiences are the appetizers, leading me into the bountiful main course of the book itself, which is followed, of course, by the sense of being satisfied and replete at the end of a magnificent meal. Nothing else can quite compare to that sense of fulfillment and that gratified smile that accompanies the reading of the words, “The End” at the conclusion of a good book, and the feeling that I’ve truly completed something worthwhile when I close the back cover for the last time.

But then I thought, “That experience can’t be the only reason I prefer to hold a book while I read it.” And as I meditated on my reasons, I came to this conclusion: I enjoy television programs and movies; I see a real merit to using audio books if one has a vision problem, or is driving for long periods; and I can understand the value of e-books scrolling across my palm pilot if I’m sitting in a busy airport or bus terminal and don’t want the fuss of several heavy books to carry. However, it’s a fact that when I’m actually holding the book in my own hands and reading the material, I’m somehow absorbing what I’m reading and becoming a part of it more completely than I do when I’m just looking at the words or actions on a screen.

Then I began to think about how blessed I feel to be able to walk into a bookstore or a library and let my eyes feast on aisle after aisle of shelves covered in beautiful books. I thought about all of the excitement and joy of choosing from all of that bounty and wanting to hurry home, quickly getting other chores out of the way, so that I can sit down and open my treasure and … read.

So I’ve decided: No, I don’t believe that any other media will ever totally replace reading a real book. No other media will ever be able to give the joy and total gratification that is ours when we hold a book and let our eyes search out and devour what resides within it. Or when our children or grandchildren cuddle up with us and lean in close to see for themselvesthose printed words that make the special magic when we “read them a story.”

So now, although I’m going with the flow – Facebooking, blogging, online news reporting, and formatting my own books for digital readers – I’m also committing myself to help the “new generation of screen-readers” to discover and understand the unique satisfaction and thrill of picking up a book and reading it. I’m making it my job to encourage them not to get so involved with trying to get in touch with their computer that they get out of touch with books. Even those friends of mine who feels that man’s best friend is the “mouse” can benefit from taking a break and picking up a book.

So let me offer this personal invitation to one and all. Take some time to visit your nearest library or bookstore and wander through the aisles of beautiful books. Choose one; take it home; sit down in a comfortable chair and prop your feet up. Smooth your hands over the cover a few times; smell that sometimes new — sometimes musty — but always unique scent of a book. Open the cover, and turn the page. Give yourself the gift that no one else can give you: read a REAL book!

 

Can Anyone Help Me Find ‘Miss Read’?

I have just conceived this “brilliant” idea  which I hope will help me conclude a search that has been going on intermittently for the past couple of years.  But it’s only now that I have found some “friends,” via the blogging community, who, because they live in England, just might be able to help me.  I have exhausted all the resources I can find, but to no avail.

I am looking for Miss Read (actually Dora Jesse Saint) the English author of  scores of the most delightful novels I have had the privilege of reading.  Although she has written of other things, her most popular works — and my favorites — are her lighthearted renderings of the everyday life of people in the fictional English villages of  “Fairacre” and “Thrush Green.”  For those who are unacquainted with her work, I might say that you could liken their tenor and quality to the stories of The Andy Griffith Show in the United States, with their unobtrusive, kind-hearted, home-made comfort for the soul.

When I am stressed, troubled, down-hearted, or just in the mood for a quiet, relaxing evening, I pick up a Miss Read book, prop my feet up, and live happily ever after — at least for a while. I have read most of these books at least three times each, and some a few more.  But for some reason, I never tire of them.

Knowing Dora Saint was born in 1913, I guess I had just assumed she was no longer with us. However, only recently I discovered that she is evidently still very much with us and is currently living in a hamlet near Newbury in Berkshire.  But there is no contact information for her online anywhere that I can find, and my experience in the past with trying to go through publishers to pass on information to authors has proven useless.

I would very much like to just send her a message to say how much joy and refreshing her books have given me.  I’m sure, with all the praise she has had from more worthy sources throughout her career, my words would seem small.  Nevertheless, as an author myself, who is always thrilled to know my work blesses anyone, I believe that she would appreciate hearing that ‘thanks’ from even one more person. And I feel it’s important for me to tell her.

If I knew she lived in a small town in the U. S., I would simply call the local post office, tell them I was sending a letter to her in that city, and ask if they would be so kind as to make sure it gets delivered to the correct house.  Post offices have done that in the past.  But I have no idea how the postal service works in England — or what other means of communication might be available in a Berkshire hamlet. So I’m calling on any of my English “friends,” whom I have recently met through WordPress,  for help: if the names of these communities are familiar to you, and/or  you can add to the information I have concerning where Miss Read lives and how I might mail, e-mail, or fax a message to her personally, I would appreciate the input very much.

Also, I do know that her husband (now deceased) was named Douglas.  They had one child, a daughter named Jill. Perhaps even that information could be of help to someone who understands how to obtain contact information in England better than I do.

What a treat it is to be able to communicate with people from all over the world through the technology available today.  I am blessed to have that opportunity, and to live in what really is “a small world after all.”

Thank you for any help you can offer.  It is really a “long shot,” as we say in the States, but for me it is important enough to at least try this avenue!

Please Tell Me It Kept You Up Until 3:00 A.M.

I was browsing this week through some old newspaper columns I had written and came across one that focused on Winnie the Pooh, By A. A. Milne.  In the column, I had mentioned that, had he still been with us, Milne would have turned 125 that year. But as I perused the article, I began to think more and more about how long-lasting books and their effects on us can be. I still remember so many things that I read in books as a child. And I am constantly amazed when I look at the authors that I have loved best over the years and realize that, since those books were written (some even hundreds of years ago), every single generation has discovered them anew and chosen them as favorites.

I was especially blessed to learn that one of my little nephews, Josiah, at the age of two, had come to love one of my favorite poets almost as much as I do.  There’s no question that Robert Frost has been one of the most quoted, most loved, and most written about poets to grace American literature. And several succeeding generations have read his works with great pleasure. But I did not suspect that a 2-year-old boy would find him so appealing, until I realized that amid the scores and scores of books Josiah has in his ownership, his very favorite is a book devoted entirely to the poem “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.”  Now, this book is not a children’s version, paraphrased for young minds. Not at all.  It is the entire poem in the author’s original text, along with a few photos that are applicable.  His love for this poem caused me to realize anew just how powerful and almost eternal great writing can be. In an age when all kinds of multi-dimensional media are vying for kids’ attention, this quiet, unpretentious poem — this great piece of literature — is a 2-year-olds’ favorite “story.”  How blessed Robert Frost would feel to know that.  Hopefully he does.

Naturally, all of this thinking led to my going over in my mind the list of my personal favorites. Now, I won’t try to write out that list in this article, because it would make this piece way too long — and inevitably I’d forget one and feel compelled to come back and edit.  Then the next day, I’d have to edit again to add another, and so on. But I’m sure most of you who love to read know exactly what I mean.  And it gives me a warm, comforting feeling to know that, no matter how “modern” or “technologically advanced” we get, people keep looking for and finding something valuable, lasting, and often  life-changing in books that have been around a long time.

As an author myself, I hope I too can write books that will touch people at the core places of their hearts and lives so that what I write will be considered valuable enough to be chosen by generation after generation.  I will never forget the thrill of realizing for the first time that something I had written really did have the power to capture people’s attention to the point of making them forget everything else and to move them to great depths of emotion. A couple years ago, a woman who was reading one of my inspirational novels, Quenton’s  Honor, said to me one day, “Boy, I’m not happy with you!  I started reading that book last night, and I couldn’t put it down.  It was 2:00 in the morning before I was able to make myself put it down and get some sleep.”

She has absolutely no idea how thrilled I was at her words.  But it got better.  A couple days later, I walked into the office where she worked.  She was in tears — almost sobbing.  I hurried over to her and said, “Barbara, what’s wrong?” She mopped her face and  blew her nose, trying to stem the tears enough to answer. In the meantime, I saw that she had the book in front of her on the desk.  She then looked up at me with tears still streaming down her face and slobbered out the words, “I’m just now reading where …” (and proceeded to tell me the scene she was reading from the book) ” … and I just can’t stop crying!”

I remember thinking, “Yes!  That’s exactly where I wanted you to cry!” I decided maybe she’d feel better if she knew that, so I said, “Wow, Barbara, that’s great!  That’s exactly what I want the reader to feel from that scene.  Thank you!  You  couldn’t put it down to go to sleep, and you cried in all the right places!  That’s terrific!”

Of course, I’d like to have the same powerful effect on readers all the time, the way a couple of other current authors do.  For example, I’m a Vince Flynn fan. In my opinion, he literally “wrote the book” on high-concept political intrigue.  Every sentence is packed, and for that reason, I find it almost impossible to put his books down once I start reading.  And since he has kept me up past 3:00 a. m. on a number of occasions, one of my goals in life is to write a novel that will keep Vince Flynn up until 3:00 a. m. as well.  Wish me success.

“Read” Me A Story

“Will you read me a story?” Just how many times I asked that question of parents and grandparents during my growing-up years I’ll never know. But ask it I did, because I loved stories. In fact, I loved the whole idea of someone being able to pick up a book of pages filled with letters, and being able to understand those letters to such an extent that they told a complete story that I could then understand and enjoy.

Reading. It was one of my fondest dreams and proudest accomplishments when still a very young child. Along with learning how to write those same letters on a page myself so that they would make sense for someone else. To say that I was fascinated with books would be an understatement indeed, and I have since spent my life pursuing the adventure of devouring written matter in virtually every form in which I could find it.

Now, in my middle-age season, as I work toward getting more of my own written work published, I’ve naturally been looking into all the various media currently available for getting written material into the hands of the public. With each passing day, I’ve become even more aware of the fact that I am now living on a new planet — Computer-World. Virtually every kind of transaction and correspondence is carried on via the internet, and even a good deal of our entertainment and recreation is now often found in the hallowed halls of the computer terminal.

But I’ve been especially concerned personally with understanding the whole electronic book media, since it is gaining more ground every year. One of the young men who was working with me a few years ago in the development of a publishing enterprise threw me for a loop when we were talking about my getting two or three manuscripts to him in order for him to help critique and edit the material. He suggested that I just send the manuscripts by e-mail. I looked at him in surprise and said, “But then you’d have to print them out yourself, because you wouldn’t want to have to sit in front of the computer to read whole books.” He gave me what I call a sympathetic but condescending look, smiled sweetly, and said, “We’re a new generation . . . we read off the screen.”

I’m sure my face registered my shock, and his words stayed with me for weeks after that conversation. (Now, I think I should add here, for the sake of any writers out there who are working on editing their work on the screen: Be sure you print out a hard copy of your manuscript and do at least one edit from that. Every good editor knows that you will inevitably find errors that simply do not come to your attention on the screen.) But back to my main thought:  I began to ask myself, “Is that what we’re coming to then … a time when nobody will want to pick up a book and hold it while they read the words printed on the pages?” Something deep down inside of me answered, “No.”

Shortly after that, I spent a couple of hours talking with the owner of three large independent bookstores, and I asked him if he thought there would be a total shift to electronic books soon. He said that he could see a slight swing in that direction, but he believed it would be another four or five years before it made any major difference. It’s now all those five years later, and it has made a definite difference, but it still hasn’t emptied the hardcopy bookshelves enough to see the dust on them.

So still the question has been hanging around in my head … and in my heart. I say in my heart because the idea had made me a little sad … like realizing that instead of sitting with friends and being able to touch them while you visited, you’d have to just listen to their voice over a phone line. There’s just something about picking up a book and holding it in your hands … feeling the weight of it … smoothing your fingers over the cover … whether it’s made of fine leather, soft paper, or some other material … it doesn’t matter … it’s a book. And then there’s the expectancy of opening it for the first time … or even the hundredth time … and moving through the pages, smelling the scent of paper and ink that no computer will ever be able to simulate.

Those experiences are the appetizers, leading me into the bountiful main course of the book itself, which is followed, of course, by the sense of being satisfied and replete at the end of a magnificent meal. Nothing else can quite compare to that sense of fulfillment and that gratified smile that accompanies the reading of the words, “The End” at the conclusion of a good book, and the feeling that I’ve truly completed something worthwhile when I close the back cover for the last time.

But then I thought, “That experience can’t be the only reason I prefer to hold a book while I read it.” And as I meditated on my reasons, I came to this conclusion: I enjoy television programs and movies; I see a real merit to using audio books if one has a vision problem, or is driving for long periods; and I can understand the value of e-books scrolling across my palm pilot if I’m sitting in a busy airport or bus terminal and don’t want the fuss of several heavy books to carry. However, it’s a fact that when I’m actually holding the book in my own hands and reading the material, I’m somehow absorbing what I’m reading and becoming a part of it more completely than I do when I’m just looking at the words or actions on a screen.

Then I began to think about how blessed I feel to be able to walk into a bookstore or a library and let my eyes feast on aisle after aisle of shelves covered in beautiful books. I thought about all of the excitement and joy of choosing from all of that bounty and wanting to hurry home, quickly getting other chores out of the way, so that I can sit down and open my treasure and … read.

So I’ve decided: No, I don’t believe that any other media will ever totally replace reading a real book. No other media will ever be able to give the joy and total gratification that is ours when we hold a book and let our eyes search out and devour what resides within it. Or when our children or grandchildren cuddle up with us and lean in close to see for themselvesthose printed words that make the special magic when we “read them a story.”

So now, although I’m going with the flow – Facebooking, blogging, online news reporting, and formatting my own books for digital readers – I’m also committing myself to help the “new generation of screen-readers” to discover and understand the unique satisfaction and thrill of picking up a book and reading it. I’m making it my job to encourage them not to get so involved with trying to get in touch with their computer that they get out of touch with books. Even those friends of mine who feels that man’s best friend is the “mouse” can benefit from taking a break and picking up a book.

So let me offer this personal invitation to one and all. Take some time to visit your nearest library or bookstore and wander through the aisles of beautiful books. Choose one; take it home; sit down in a comfortable chair and prop your feet up. Smooth your hands over the cover a few times; smell that sometimes new — sometimes musty — but always unique scent of a book. Open the cover, and turn the page. Give yourself the gift that no one else can give you: read a REAL book!