Bookworm #1: Fabookulous
Hi there! I’m excited about this challenge and I hope you will come back to see how we are doing.
Allow me to introduce myself before the challenge kicks off. In order to maintain anonymity you can call me Fabookulous. Clever, huh? I developed an early love for reading, making my way through the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine in my early teenage years. (Remember those??) Then high school came along and threw a monkey wrench in my program. Suddenly I found myself reading mandatory assignments. What fun was there in that? When your time is occupied with required reading for school, the reading for pleasure falls by the wayside. Well, that’s how it happened for me.
During college my magazine subscriptions provided a self-indulgent break from the latest research paper. (What can I say, I find humor in the latest celebrity spat or wedding. And during Britney’s tumultuous years it was always intriguing to see the latest cover story on her antics…)
One fateful day, People magazine ran a blurb on PaperBackSwap.com. A free website, you swap books with other members and the only cost to you is postage when you send one. The site had previously been mentioned on Oprah and I thought, well then there’s GOT to be tons of PEOPLE on there which means there are tons of BOOKS. And it was true. Now was a great time to get rid of books taking up space around the house and exchange them for credits for new books. And that’s how I found my inner bookworm again. Recycle, Reuse, Re-read. Over and over again. And the wonderful thing is, I will never run out of choices! It’s like a kid in a candy store, really. (Of course, not all the books I read come from PBS; the library really has stayed on top of new novels. I couldn’t tell you the last time I spent my hard earned money on a book. It’s just not necessary.)
Of course this was all way too much fun to be having alone so I told my partner bookworm, LibraryLove, about it and two dedicated, excited and passionate readers were born again. Spending this summer poolside, immersed in our latest swapped novels, LibraryLove suggested a New Year’s Resolution that would let us read to our hearts content. (And certainly be a resolution we’d keep!) And, voila, our first reading challenge was created.
I’m excited about this venture, though it IS a challenge. Obviously we hope to average a book a week, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. But I am proud to be called a bookworm! And we love meeting other bookworms too, so please, leave comments and suggestions…we have 365 days of reading ahead of us!!! It’s a pleasure to meet you 🙂
Bookworm #2: LibraryLove
Ventriloquist shows and fun craft workshops. Felt board characters and sock puppets. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved the library. As a child, the library was a place of wonder and excitement for my creative mind. It’s where my mom would take my sister and I as kids from time to time for *budget friendly* enrichment. Rows and rows of tall stacks that made me think of a wonderful city skyline. A lifetime of stories just waiting to be discovered. The nice people who would read to us kids sitting Indian-style on the carpet with our parents looking on from the back. Wasn’t it wonderful being a child? Carefree and innocent. A time when the biggest daily conflict on your shoulders was having to pick just ONE book for mom or dad to read to you each night. Then not wanting the night to end with that book so asking your mom or dad to tell you a story from when they were a kid just to get a few more precious moments…
Night by Elie Wiesel. Where the Red Fern Grows. The two of the first books, read as a teenager, that moved me to tears. Tears that changed me and shaped who I was, and I didn’t even realize it until recently. Tears that taught me to be considerate and open minded of other people’s religious beliefs for fear of repeating the awful scars of history. Tears that instilled an amazing passion and love for animals that pierced my heart daily. From then on, I no longer looked to books as a punishment, but a gift. “Turn off the tv and read a book!” or “You’re grounded. No TV, you can only read books.” These are two phrases parents use that I despise. They perpetuate the ideology in a child’s mind that reading is a punishment, when it’s a privilege we have in the United States to freely read whatever and whenever we want without fear of persecution. Books are one of the few media outlets that cross all economic boundaries. You don’t have to be rich or affluent to enjoy or access books. Thanks to our state and local government, the power of the written word can be shared universally. It is unfortunate that we don’t all appreciate it. Being a student and working two jobs zapped time I could have devoted to reading for fun, but rather sent that free time into the vortex known as studying. It was there, in college, that Fabookulous and I met and our friendship started to blossom. The book part comes later, just keep reading 🙂 Reading and outlining 5+ chapters a night for college, shelved (haha, aren’t I punny?) my reading for fun until graduation. Once I graduated, I was establishing my career AND just moved into an apartment with my long time boyfriend. Taking care of our dog and maintaining a home didn’t leave much time for reading then either. A short time later, we were engaged and spent the next two years planning/saving up for our dream wedding, which was MORE than a full time job. I would read before bed but wasn’t too serious about it. We could finally relax from the wedding and about two weeks later, we started our search to buy our first home. Within a month, we were living the American Dream- home ownership was ours! Then came the daunting task of packing, moving, and searching for furniture for our new home around the holidays, to boot! Eeeek! We finally got settled, got unpacked, shared our wonderful new place with our friends and family and started all the DIY Pink Toolbelt tasks, upgrading some things around the house making it our own, which just about consumed the first six months living in our new home. Next thing we knew, it was summertime. Fabookulous shared the amazing website with me, PaperBackSwap.com, and two bookworms were revitalized with a new passion for obtaining books! I never liked the idea of cluttering up the house with books I won’t read again, and Fabookulous was in the middle of a career change, so buying books with our hard earned money just to collect dust didn’t make sense for either of us when in a recession, frivolous spending wasn’t on our radar. Many of the books we were requesting had lots of others with the same bright idea. We turned back to our local libraries and then our revolution began.
Sidebar: things changed a bit since the days of sock puppets and felt board story time.
My library, a mile away from my house (SCORE!), not only allows its members to create an online queue that also generates emails you when your books are available for pickup at the front desk, but they also offer free download of hundreds of books digitally compatible with iPod and MP3 devices! Traffic jams are much more enjoyable these days!
Over the summer, in pure Recessionista fashion, Fabookulous and I planned pool dates at least one day per weekend. We’d pack the cooler, load up all our necessary aquatic accessories, and lay poolside enjoying the company of a close friend, sharing funny excerpts from whatever book we were reading and laughing out loud at my neighborhood pool, which let me add has a wonderful ‘quiet pool’ for adults over 18. It’s a Godsend!! It was one of the most memorable (and cost effective) summers. One of my most busy friends and I both made a conscious effort to set aside time to relax each and every week. The best part? We were able to share it together! I finally made time to devote to two of my favorite things I’ve loved since childhood: reading and using my creative mind to take me into whatever world the current book called for. As the summer months drew to a close, I had another of my infamous crazy schemes. Propped with one leg half bent, waist deep in the pool, book in hand is where/how I do my best reading. Hey, it gets too hot sitting in a beach chair. I prefer to be semi-submerged. It’s quite lovely, really. You’re welcome to join us next summer! I digress…so I lifted up my sunscreen-moistened shades and turned to Fabookulous who was nose-deep in a book beside me and said, “So. I have a proposition for our New Year’s Resolution.” She bookmarked her latest conquest and peered at me like only Fabookulous can, probably wondering what I could think up next. “Do tell,” she said. “We’re averaging a book a week, right?” I suggested. “Right…” she said. “So let’s challenge ourselves to read 52 books each starting on January 1st for 365 days. It’ll be a year of reading!”
Fabookulous was a bit apprehensive, but as only a good friend would, took the bait. She knew we’d have the support from each other, that even if we didn’t achieve our goal, it’d be a lot of fun to talk about. She also knew that it would definitely be a challenge that could possibly motivate and inspire others to slink into a warm blanket by the fire, set up a picnic, sit on the back deck, or stand half-way submerged in a pool, and get lost in a book in 2010.
We’re proud to be Bookworms and so should you. Learning about the world around you, reaching beyond your comfort zone will make you a better person, and certainly more interesting at a party!
As we gear up for our first reading challenge here at Year of the Bookworm: 2010, we ask that you help support us along the way. Keep checking back here for updates. We hope to keep you interested in what we’re reading, how we’re handling this huge undertaking, and let us know what you’re reading as well. With 52 books to read, we’d love your suggestions along the way. Oh and please, please, patronize your local library!!