I come from a long line of readers and writers. I know, I know: big shocker, there.
So it’s also not a shocker that I was gifted three wonderful books for Christmas.
In my family, books are more than paper and binding. Books are entire worlds. Explanations to this one, doors to others. They hold the past, present and future; they hold wishes and dreams and everything real and imagined. Where some people say a picture is worth a thousand words, I’d rather have the words thankyouverymuch. Books are manna in my family.
The first book is my Pastor’s “Route 66 Journal”. One of our main roads out here is the old Route 66. There are 66 books in the Bible. My Pastor’s great at making connections like that, things people will remember. In 2012, Pastor Tom is going to lead us to read the entire Bible from cover to cover. He designed a very simple reading plan to do so, and the journal has a daily entry with simple parts for each daily reading: 1. What does it say? 2. What does it mean? 3. How does it apply? I figure if I want God to continue to bless me and my family the least I can do is give Him half an hour of each day to read and write just for Him. I’m excited about what we’ll learn and how it will change my life. I fully expect it to. Maybe not dramatically; maybe not overnight. But I do expect a good change, and that excites me.
The second book I received is Stephen J. Cannell’s “Vigilante”. It’s the last in his Shane Scully series, finished shortly before he died. If you’ve been around me or my blog, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of SJC. In 2007 I sent him an email and over the course of three-plus years he became a great mentor and encouraged me to keep writing. I finally had the chance to meet him in person six months before he passed. When he died, I thought it was a joke. I kept waiting for someone to say his Facebook page had been hacked or something. But then the news sites reported it. And later that day came the email. I have the first six books in the Shane Scully series, and now I have the last. I’ll quickly collect the three I’m missing, and those ten books are on my reading list for 2012.
But the best book of all, the one I never expected, the one that I am almost afraid of opening for fear of creasing the pages or smudging the cover… a hardcover collection of the Chronicles of Narnia. It’s beautiful. It’s inspirational. It’s magical. The spare room in my house is called the Narnia Room. It’s designed around a painting of a path into a forest. The walls are painted Mountain Sage Green. I have a brown park bench inside, a fake tree, and flowers, and just walking into the room evokes the magic of stepping through the Wardrobe. The book will have a special, prominent, secure place in the room. At the top of the bookshelf. There’s seven more books for the reading list.
I also need to finish my Louis L’Amour. I want to read “Little Women”, the “Left Behind” series. I only have the first 12 of these, as the last four were added after the series was supposedly finished. So I’m only planning to read the first 12 (at least for now). At some point I’ll get the remaining four and read those as well.
I have Anne Rice’s Songs of the Seraphim series, two books so far. I picked them up when I stayed at the Mission Inn in Riverside last spring. She wrote the books while staying there, and it figures greatly into the plot.
I’m also very intent on reading my Sherlock Holmes collection (the complete collection in two volumes). My favorite Uncle sent me the collection nearly 18 years ago. He was also a writer, and had the most amazing handwriting. I still love reading the letters he sent me before he died. When I was not quite two years old, he wrote a book for our families, a Christmas story that we read every year. So when in passing I mentioned to him that I wanted to read all the Sherlock Holmes stories, four weeks later I was stunned to receive a package containing just that. He was a most amazing man, friend, Uncle and supporter. Reading Sherlock Holmes seems like such a small way to keep him around. I miss our weekly donut dates and only hope he’s looking down with pride at my writing.
That’s 36 books. Now, if I read as fast as my mom does, I’d have them done by the end of February. Unfortunately, I don’t read that fast. So I’m giving myself the entire year. That’s three books a month. And if I add any more to my shelves (which I’m fairly certain I will)… well, for me, that’s a whole lotta reading. But as my Mom keeps reminding me, to be a good writer, I also need to be a good reader.
I think I’ll get a headstart and pick up a book tonight.
Now I just need to figure out where to begin…