Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ramona the Pest

I love to read. Always have. I could read when I was only, like, 2 years old, and was reading full books when I got to kindergarten. My teacher in first grade spent a lot of time looking for books that could both consume my time and challenge my reading level, but that I could still relate to at my 6-year-old maternity level. I read non-stop. I would take her a chapter book after 2 days, begging for another one. I just loved books. And still do. From very early on in my childhood, I dreamed of being a librarian, and it wasn't until a guidance coundelor at Portland State crushed my dreams at 24 years old that I gave up on that. According to her, schools no longer have librarians, they have teachers who work in the library during prep periods, and my dream job was minutes from being non-existent. Well, shit. I probably should have fought her on it and pursued the degree I was after, but instead, defeated, I said...alright, well then I want to change my major to whatever gets me out of school the fastest. Hence, writing. And don't get me wrong, I am happy with my choice. I took a lot of classes on editing which have made me a better writer, and I learned a lot about publishing...but I could have taken all of those classes as electives, just saying. F U Portland State.

My love of books did not stop in grade school, I was an avid reader through middle and high school, and even through college, and I am still obsessed with a good book. Once I am into a new book, you won't hear from me for days because all I do is work, sleep, and read. A new book just has that effect on a girl!

I tend to go through periods in my life where all I do is read, followed by stretches where I am too busy to pick up any non-work related reading. I have recently been in the latter...too tired, too stressed out, and just too damn busy to pick up a book and get lost in it. Yesterday, after months of work stress with my property being for sale, I was offered a promotion to a new property, one I can live on site at, to begin the day after the sale closes here at my current office. It was like a weight lifted, and I was finally able to exhale fully. I went home from work and ate dinner, then at about 7, said goodnight to my parents, scooped up my cat, and laid in bed until well after 11pm, just devouring my book. I read the entire thing! I had been picking it up here and there, and I was about 2 chapters in, and to just be able to lay in bed with Juno and just snuggle and was heaven! The book was funny, entertaining, and kept me engrossed until the last page. That is the great effect a good book can have on me; pure relaxation at its finest.

My blog challenge here is to write about my favorite childhood book. Easy as pie. Children's books are my favorites. I love picking out books for baby showers or a kid's birthday party, and I have been known to browse the children's section at Barnes and Noble from time to time. And the picture books are a can't miss when I go to Powell's. I would love to someday have a house large enough to have a library of books, especially children's favorites.

I recently attended a first birthday BBQ for one of the little guys in my family. I am not generally one to make appearances at baby birthday parties, and I secretly try to get out of most baby showers. I don't like them. I live in the strict reality that, if I have seen one onsie, I have seen them all. But Thor and Danielle did a book party for Oskar, and I loved the idea. They were asking specifically to expand his little library. Now that is a party Aunt Veronica can get on board with! I had a blast shopping for the perfect book for his collection - I didn't want to get board books or lullabyes, because I assumed everyone else would. I also didn't want to get some God awful Calliou or Disney adapted crap, because I don't want Danielle and Thor to have to suffer through reading those to him. I spent a good hour in Barnes and Noble, browsing picture books, easy readers, and favorites of mine from when I was a kid. Finally, I went with a boxed set of "boy" classics - Huck Finn, Sherlock Holmes, etc. I was thrilled with my pick! I know that even though it won't be for a few, 8 or so...there will come a day where Thor and Oskar will snuggle up on the sofa and take turns reading chapters before bed time. And that is exactly what I was after while I was shopping. It reminded me of my mom reading one chapter at a time of Black Beauty to Stace and I...which, by the way, is truly a sad book if you read it as an adult.

The same was true of DeLaina's baby shower for Shannon. They asked for books and I made a very similar purchase - I bought the first 5 books in the Boxcar Children series. I honestly think DeLaina and her friend Elizabeth were more excited than anyone over reading these ones. It was adorable.

The best books I have ever read, though, are Beverly Cleary's series, Ramona Quimby. I love Ramona. She's the best character ever. Snarky and sassy, mischievious, smart, and well versed, she is the best kind of kid. I love reading about all the ways she gets into trouble, the way she torments her older sister, and the way she is such a daddy's girl. Beverly Cleary is my favorite author, and she definitely wrote a winning series with the Ramona books.