by Harriet Worrell, Art Darts
Where do you like to read in the summer? Have you a hammock that you wrap yourself in like a cocoon and rest your balanced book on your chest? Or does stretching out on your bed give you the essential quiet — tranquility — to be immersed in the printed words and turn every other thought away? Maybe you are pond side or on the deck in a reclining chair with pillows at your back with just enough shade to comfortably partake of pages and pages of novel or poetry or dramatic literature or a good debate found in an essay or article. Then there are waits in the car when you can whip out your book and devour a chapter or two — or on a bus (particularly a yellow bus) or airplane or train.
A reader is always looking for an environment that allows one to be mentally suspended in free flowing thought, image, narrative and, of course, belief. One is captivated by the pulse of it all — the rhythm — and the moment lived through created, believable characters found in the world we live in as well as other worlds we can only imagine to be true. Beneath all of that is the power of the word, carefully chosen, to illuminate understanding, hope and glory.
A delightfully literary young Danish boy told me this summer that we who articulate in the realm of the English language are lucky. He found himself enchanted with the immense descriptiveness that we can find in our broad English collection of words. When the English language is in need of a word of particular suggestion or meaning that doesn’t exist in English, we simply pluck a word from another language and add it to our own. If we are a Shakespeare, we alter our words to have alternative meanings and add those to our ever swelling choices. All poets and wordslingers, have added to the consequence of the language in that way. We don’t spank their hands; we applaud them.
In our house, my spouse reads from his Kindle a book called “Tiger,” a wild true tale about Siberian Tigers. This reader always reads in pairs or trios of selections; his current “second” is about the decline of the western plains Native Americans. He prefers reading stretched out on the bed with the door shut and the rest of the world slightly removed.
Another family member — a daughter — periodically in our household (and that would include this past week) reads two to three books a week. She keeps a steady supply listed on her Kindle when she travels (which is often) and never allows herself to run out. She is quite comfy finding a reading world wherever she is. She has teen family members that she likes to encourage to read and gifts them books for encouragement. Right now she is checking out a teen story that is going to be made into a film: “If I Stay.”
Booklovers like the ones who come in growing numbers to our community celebration of books just passed — Bookstock — share their treasures. I have beside my bed (I read there and also on the couch in the living room; this writer likes clouds of pillows for reading) “Life In A Jar” that is based on the true story a Holocaust hero and written by Jack Mayer. A neighbor and theatre colleague brought it by because she thought it would be a piece I would like to read. Another long time and close friend found and gifted me with a book called “House Of Cash, The Legacies Of My Father, Johnny Cash.” It is fab. And after my husband and I devour it from cover to cover, I will share a read of it with a significant friend who is a singer. Then it will sit in my living room where I can get to it often.
I’ve recently read a fairly new script for the first show of the Yoh season. I like it. Next in my “stacks” is a book my daughter just purchased for me: a single copy of Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People” adapted by Arthur Miller. It has a fine and invaluable introduction by John Guare that I found exquisite. I am reading some work by Edward Albee and more by Sean O’Casey.
I like summer reading. The pressure is off just a little bit for part of the time. In addition to the stacks, I have a book that I read from almost every day. I like perusing books that have my parent’s notes or signatures in them. It is a cue that quality exists there. I like books , articles, plays and poems that are recommended to me. I like consorting with the great poets whose names are established. They are proven and offer us the most eloquent commentaries on humanity.
My final suggestion — one that I often make — is to take a daily peek at www.poetryfoundation.org. Today’s treat from that source was a sugar cookie of a poem selected by Ted Kooser, US Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006. His choice for the day? A lovely poem by Shari Wagner from Indiana that describes many sounds of running water.
Mr. Jeff Hiers wants to remind teachers and staff at WUHS and WUMS that there is a summer reading project just for you that is already underway. He has sent several emails to us all about it. If you haven’t responded, you still have time. It is about a “Summer Read Location.” He requests that teachers and staff please send a photo of yourself or a family member reading a book in a location that is interesting like a tree, on a raft, under a “Welcome to Somewhere” sign, a beach, airport, poolside etc. The photos will used immediately, so don’t forget. Mr. Hiers sends thanks and best regards, and we thank him for putting this grand project together.
Donate to and support your libraries and local bookstores.
Read to your children and let them see you read.
Collect books. Love their covers.
Wonder at their words. Enjoy your frigate.