When I read the Shopaholic books, I identified with the main character. Not because I knew what the heck a Jimmy Choo shoe looked like, but because I understand the need which arises when faced with an item which will fill your soul to the brim, remove you from all your cares, and stimulate all your senses at once.
‘Course, my vice is books, not clothes, but the physical reaction is the same.
I finally found a copy of Dorothy Butler’s Cushla and Her Books. I read this book when I was in my early teens (wonder how it came to be in the small-town library, which was comprised mainly of Harlequin Romances). I probably picked it up because the photograph on the cover shows two hippie-type parents with long hair, and that’s pretty much all that was moving me at the time. However, something inside the book must have moved me, because I have remembered it every time I’ve been faced with a bored baby.
Cushla was born with numerous health problems, and these invariably lead to learning delays. What strikes me now is the way her parents chose to deal with these problems: experimentation. They tested things until they found what worked for their daughter. What a logical way to raise a child. They used a constant supply of books to keep Cushla stimulated, and they believe the books are the reason she overcame her developmental delays.
Wicked cool, man.
I didn’t have the chance to overcome developmental delays with my own children, because they were read to immediately. My father gave me a copy of Timothy Findley’s Headhunter the week before my first child was born, and I couldn’t think of anything else to do with the baby for the one hour he was awake on his first night, so I read him Headhunter. We haven’t stopped reading since. I suspect my daughter may have inherited a reading and writing disability from her father and paternal grandmother, but she was also read to from day one, so I’ll never know if she didn’t inherit the disability to the same degree as her relatives, or if she lost it through reading.
I miss reading to my kids. They still pile on the bed with me, but with their own books. I don’t get to read Mog stories anymore. I have a little niece and a nephew who are now victim to my desires for kids’ books.
Sometimes I think my students would benefit from ditching school and sitting on a large bed with a large pile of kids’ books; most of them missed that part of childhood. Perhaps after we read for an hour or two, I could take them on a field trip to a second-hand bookstore….