Split my skin

Angela thought up a contest (details here). She’ll send a book to one of her readers who writes about why a favorite book makes them happy.

A great challenge, this. While I don’t necessarily wish to compete for the prize, I think it’s lovely to give away a meaningful arrangement of words in story form. To share a piece of the reason many of us find ourselves tending notebook, processor, and blog.

We’re wordaholics, yes?

So many books have touched me, fiction and non. Some slung me across their shoulders and carried me through awkward, helpless passages of school. Others napped beneath my pillow, awaiting nights when I should have slept but instead read them by light slanting in from the hall (hence my extreme nearsightedness). The Call of the Wild; White Fang; Old Yeller; Charlotte’s Web; Heidi; Kavik, the Wolf Dog. Dear friends all.

Then, young, married, and tiring quickly of magazines like Cosmo, I returned to favorites I’d briefly sampled in high school. An enduring preference became Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Every so often I again read The Hobbit and the trilogy. Even after the movies and the hype, there’s always a new shiny bit to discover, over in a corner of Tom Bombadil’s garden.

Children’s books that flew my flag kept me awake and intrigued while reading to our little ones: Dahl’s Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (ah, Vermicious Knids!); Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends; the Little House series. Our shelves still stock such creative worlds, awaiting grandchildren.

As I posted last, I’ve savored some of Jane Kirkpatrick’s books. Her artistic blends of nuance in historical fiction bring me joy. Another writer who lifted me by her skill to view a world gone yet still alive is the amazing Harper Lee.

Most recently, if I have to choose the words in tales that shimmer, engulfing my senses and keeping me up late while aching as final chapters near, I pick those from Wendell Berry. I bought Hannah Coulter after friends urged me to read anything of his. I chuckled and wept. So I went back to Amazon and ordered That Distant Land, a collection from several novels. A treasure.

When pointing out truth through his characters, Mr. Berry uses a persistent yet affable hand to bloom an idea in my mind. His images linger, welcome as a porch swing in warm August breezes.

Musing over books has suited my mood this evening. You might guess, Angela, I used your contest as an excuse. I’m sure other, more prolific readers than I will sift through many volumes for their gold. Thanks, though, for inspiring my backward glance at a storied past.


LeiselB said…
Oh I like this....
Sandy said…
Those children's books are great. Every once in a while I go back and read them again.

I have grown to admire words and people who use them so well as you do. What a great gift to give someone your thoughts put so clearly and then have them be thought about again and again.
Deanna said…
Leisel, I'm glad you do.

Sandy, gawrsh, thanks.
Angela said…
you're welcome, and thank you!
i just started reading the little house books to india, and wow, did it ever take me back to reading in my bed at night as a kid. nothing finer than that!
Deanna said…
I started on those with Victoria when she was a tot, too. Great times...