Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Lost in Another World

For a couple of days, I've been lost in another world--the Navajo culture, specifically, because I'm reading Anne Hillerman's Spider Woman's Daughter, which picks up her father's characters of Leaphorn and Chee and carries on their stories, with Bernie Manuelito, Chee's wife, as the main character. It's one of those novels that keeps me reading, draws me away from the other things I should be doing.
All my life, I've been blessed by the ability to get lost in a book. Not all books, but that's my criterion for a good novel: I have to move so completely into that world that I am immersed and almost removed from my own daily world. I remember years ago it was the Frances Parkinson Keyes novels that first introduced me to that feeling. I dived into the world of steamboats and post-bellum New Orleans. Steamboat Gothic held me captive for a long time, since it was a longish book for a young girl.
Even before that, I remember in grade school riding to the public library on my bike every summer morning, coming home with four or five books, and spending the day reading on the front porch. The neighborhood kids thought I was nuts but they remained friendly.
Today it is mostly mysteries that drag me into their worlds. I can get lost with Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy or July Hyzy's Grace and Olivia or Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Jones. Confession: sometimes I even got so entwined in the world of my own fictional characters that I hate to come to the end of a story. You know that rare and wonderful feeling when you hate to finish a book?
I worry about people who don't read, about how they spend their time. I read listservs by crime writers discussing TV shows and I think, "When do they have the time? Why aren't they reading instead of watching TV?" Most but not all of my children are serious readers--and that's what I'm talking about here, serious reading. Not picking up a magazine and reading an article or two, but spending hours in the world of the book.
It's a blessing. I see one of my grandsons doing it. When his cousins are playing, his nose is buried in a book, and when I gave him two Rick Riordan books for his birthday he was ecstatic. I love it. I'm trying to make a reader out of Jacob, my local grandson, but it's an uphill battle, and I don't want to push so hard I turn him from it. One day recently he began The Boxcar Kids and was enthralled. "I see why you love to read," he told me. But he hasn't brought it over since, and he wants to watch TV or play on my iPad most of the time. I'm hoping things will improve.
Meantime, blessings on all of you who can get lost in the world of a book. Excuse me, I have to go see what Bernie Manuelito is up to.

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