Thursday, 7 August 2014

Book by Book.

For my 13th birthday, I must have received a plethora of notebooks, because there is one that I still have, for the sole purpose of recording each book I read.

I filled the last page yesterday, writing across the back of the cover to bring this chapter to a close.

I’m turning 23 tomorrow.

Before I chuck the dilapidated thing into a box, I’ve enjoyed flipping through the pages. That many years, means a lot of books.

The first page has a number of titles written in gel pen. The last page’s handwriting is considerably improved.

Books tell stories, sometimes the arc of a lifetime. What I didn’t count on, was the books I read to tell a little tale about me.

A couple pages in, I apparently read three Hardy Boy’s books in a row. A few years later, I was doing the same thing with Agatha Christie novels.

At age 14, I read The Westing Game and then a few weeks later, finished Pride and Prejudice for the first time.

 The teenage years are a funny balancing act, reading Louisa May Alcott, Oscar Wilde, and Redwall. Oh, and a lot of Ramona and Beezus books.

Back and forth… trying to decide whether to grow up.

I’m thinking of independence as I read the titles too. A funny thing, those growing up years, where you read what you’re told (who reads Homer for fun?) and you read what you want. Wodehouse, Sutcliffe, and Amusing Ourselves to Death. A few Dear Canada’s back to back.

 Life, my notebook tells me, is a staggery path to good choices and mature decisions, one book at a time.

Perhaps at times, I was overzealous. Reading The Over-Load Syndrome at 15 years?

The more I look, in fact, the more I see the books I’ve read as dots; dots connecting the grown up moments to the little girl. Some books stand out more than others. I read Gilead and Tale of Despereaux at the same friend’s house. Both profoundly moved me. I remember crying for the first time over a book…Our Mutual Friend, in fact. Reading Stephen Leacock finally solved my age old wonder whether I indeed ‘had a sense of humour.’

And My Name Is Asher Lev was the first book I remember leaving me with no opinion. Just big eyes to look at the world.

It’s been a lot of water under the bridge, a lot of books over the bedside table. I won’t be writing every title down anymore, although I do track my reading progress with friends on Pinterest.

But the words will still be telling the story…of characters, and of a growing up. Of change. Slow.

I wonder what sort of index 33 will have?



  1. For some reason this made me so emotional!

    Well.. "for some reason" = because it's true, and you write well.