I was visiting one of my fifty-plus first cousins a couple of summers ago.
“We’d all be out there playing,” Glenda said, reminiscing, “and Sharon would be in the corner reading.”
This year I kept track of the books I read, more than 120 of them, ranging from picture books to doorstop-sized tomes for adults with longer attention spans than mine. If it’s that thick, it had better be good.
This week, the last week of the year, I read two books.
An Ignorance of Means is the debut novel of Oklahoma author Jennifer Oakley Denslow. It is set in 17th-Century France. The story has a feminist slant by dint of its educated female protagonist, but it isn’t about feminism or romance but survival.
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida is nonfiction, written in question and answer form, separated by lovely pieces of literary fiction. The author has been diagnosed with severe autism, and he struggles with spoken language. Thanks to the Herculean efforts of his mother, he can spell out words to communicate. The writing is beautiful. You feel this book.
What the two books have in common is their ability to enlighten. One teaches you about the plight of cast-off women in 17th-Century France. The other lets you in on Naoki’s struggles to control his own responses to stimuli. Both books help your brain and your understanding heart grow.
Connections. Empathy. Enlightenment. The sheer joy of experiencing something new! These are just some of the reasons why I read. And write!
I’m canning black-eyed peas tomorrow, just in time for the new year. I plan to read Dactyl Hill Squad once the pint jars of yummy goodness are in the pressure canner. I can’t think of a better way to see out the old year and welcome in the new.