I'm a word addict from way back--there's a black-and-white studio portrait of me at about seven months, holding a book open and looking intently at it. Just a prop? Or some kind of premonition on the part of the photographer?
Either way, I was reading real books by the time I was five. One of my earliest memories is of reading aloud for one of my mother's friends who had had the audacity to suggest that I was not "really" reading, just reciting books from memory. My mother grabbed a random Dr. Seuss off their bookshelf and handed it to me. It was my first Seuss and my momentary stagefright disappeared in the pleasure of Suess's rhythmic rhymes.
A little later, when I was eleven or twelve, I taught myself to ride a ten-speed bicycle with no hands solely so I could read on the way home from the library. That summer, I was devouring the Doctor Dolittle books and would spread the next book open on the bike's handlebars as soon as I'd pedaled away from the library lot.
Even now that I'm allegedly a grown-up, the obsession continues. I have loved my library card to death twice in ten years, taking it out of my wallet with such frequency that it's fallen apart--the one I have now is the third I've been issued and it is currently held together with clear packing tape, applied by the ever-patient library ladies.
Tomorrow, I will use that taped-up card to check out both the latest David Sedaris and the latest Bill Bryson* which are waiting behind the counter for me. I got the e-mail notification that both books are available for pick-up just before I logged on here and I actually did a little dance in my desk chair. It's like I've won the jackpot in some kind of literary lottery.
Try not to envy me too much.
*Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk and At Home: A Short History of Private Life, respectively.
The Skin of Our Teeth
1 day ago