Thursday, July 15, 2010


Tradition: Reading Books

I don’t know where the idea came from school, my parents, or some other source, but what I do know is that I made a caterpillar. This caterpillar was constructed on my wall out of hundreds of construction paper circles. Each circle contained the name of a book that I had read, beginning to end. I don’t recall when the caterpillar started or ended, but I’m guessing it’s beginning was well before I reached the pinnacle of childhood reading - the chapter book. I added the name of each book to a circle and then grabbed the roll of masking tape, ripped off a small piece, rolled it into a cylinder and stuck it to the back of the caterpillar section. I then placed the circle on the wall touching the last caterpillar circle. I wish I had a picture of that caterpillar it was such an accomplishment.

I wonder if this caterpillar reflected the change in my reading skills? Did the list start at picture books and move through Charlotte’s Web and Babysitter’s club? I know what it did not reflect. Iit never reflected my reaction to the book. You couldn’t tell that I read the Boxcar Children books and found them too quick a read to bother with. The caterpillar definitely didn’t reveal that I read The Hatchet only because I was jealous that my older sister’s teacher assigned it to her, but no one assigned it to me. The fact that I was a year behind my sister in school never satisfied my desire to be at her level. My caterpillar held the clues, but not the secrets of the books I read. There are plenty of things the caterpillar was not, but there is one thing it definitely was: A record of my first hobby, my most welcoming hobby.

I leave reading for a long stretches of time. I avoid it, ignore book reviews, clubs and all things relating to literature, and then it strikes. I think the spark this time came while I was on vacation. I picked my second favorite book off my parents’ bookshelf (where I left it for my mom to read). I didn’t finish it while I was home, but when I got home I couldn’t stop thinking about books. In the last two weeks I hit up the used book store 3 times and the big box book store once. I will prevent myself from starting a new caterpillar on my wall. I don’t think construction paper really fits with the decorating themes in my house, but I might start listing the books and a quick recommendation read/don't read from time to time here on the blog. I’m calling the feature “my caterpillar”

1. Mama Day, Gloria Naylor – Definitely recommend
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee – Please read
3. A Mercy, Toni Morrison – Leave it
4. The Women of Brewster Place, Gloria Naylor – Read it Cautiously
5. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake Aimee Bender – Read it even if it is a strange one
6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Anny Barrows –Read it
7. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison – Blech, not a fan

What’s segments have you added to your caterpillar?

1 comment:

Julie said...

I remember in first grade we were supposed to write down the books we read and there was a prize for the first person to get to 100. I forgot to write down about half the books I read but I was still very easily first to 100. Mom took us every weekend to the library and I'd load up as many books as I could carry. During college I didn't think I had time for reading but in grad school my prof thought that a love of reading is what helped me score so well on the GRE and he said don't ever give it up- make time somewhere in your day. I took that to heart and even if it's only a few pages at bed time I read *something* every day thanks to Joe. I still bring home as many books as I can carry from the library and now it's thanks to all my friends at Goodreads- if you're there let me know!

I am currently reading or listening to:

The Midwife by Jennifer Worth (recommended by a pen pal)
The Mystery of Grace by Charles DeLint (love all his stuff)
Shadowmarch by Tad Williams