Books, books, books

I don’t remember learning to read. I remember reading. I remember one year for Christmas my grandma bought me almost the complete set of Little House on the Prairie books.  I remember my first time reading Little House in the Big Woods.

I used to love to read The Long Winter in the hottest time of the summer because it always made me cold. It could be 100 degrees outside, and I would be shivering under blankets positive there was 100 feet of snow outside.

I remember when I was in the second grade we had different reading groups in the class. A group for the “good readers”, “mediocre readers” and the readers who were struggling. I was in the top group. I don’t remember feeling especially proud that I was in that group.  I will never forget one day I struggled over a new word on the page and my teacher, Mrs. Dill, heard me struggling. She grabbed my arm, yanked me to my feet and told me, “Anyone who struggles over a word does not belong in this group. You have to go to the dummy group.” And she plopped me down in the lowest group. I don’t remember crying but I’m sure I did.

I have a lifelong love of reading. I have a longing to travel the world. I long to see other lands, other people. I dream of doing something crazy and walking across America. The places I would see. The people I would meet.

I have wanderlust in abundance. However, I don’t have a budget that would allow for world travel, or even a walk across America.  So I travel in books.

Books are my escape. Some choose alcohol or drugs, I use books. Books transport me to other lands, other cities. I meet people. I get to travel back in time. My wanderlust isn’t always met in books, sometimes it is fed through reading.

A day in which one does not spend at least a little time reading is a day wasted.

A number of years ago I was contacted about being a book reviewer. I, of course, said an immediate yes. I can’t recall just how I was contacted, but I know it was to be part of a group. I joined the group and that was that.

It was a few years later that I realized I had been missing out on the purpose of the group. I could have been getting books and reading them for free. New books! Some books even before they were available in the bookstores. As soon as I realized what I was missing I stepped up the proverbial plate and began my life as a book reviewer in earnest.

I am no longer a part of that group but I still review books. I request books from a number of publishers. I read the book, write an honest review of the book here on the blog and then I am blessed to get to request another book.  And the cycle continues.

I have read some wonderful books. I’ve requested books that weren’t in my chosen genre and I’ve been enriched through reading them.  Some books though have been weird, some bad and some  bad enough I wasn’t able to completely read them.

I’m not paid to review the books. Well, I am but not with money. I am paid in books. I get the book completely free, I don’t even pay shipping.

I can’t begin to contemplate how much I have saved over the years on books. I review books for adults, young adults and children. I review books, cds, and Bibles. In fact, both of my girls have Bibles I got to review.

When I review books for young adults and children, if the book is age appropriate for my children, they read and review it. They had to review their Bibles.

This is all to clear up, what I believe is a misconception. Twice recently I’ve been told, “I wish I had your budget for books.” It wasn’t said nicely. It was said in a nasty, condescending tone that clearly communicated the person’s belief that I wasted money on books.

I can’t remember the last time I bought a book, except for home-school curriculum.

I wasn’t bothered by the comments at all. My initial reaction was more of “Wow! Obviously you don’t read my blog.” The guidelines have changed and now to make the government happy I have to include a byline in the review, “I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review”, which clearly debunks the thought of my spending all my hard earned cash, not on food or bills, but on books.  That simply isn’t true.

(images supplied by googling books. Books Fall open, graphic from here. And smiley face with book was found here.)

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