Reading — a perfect family activity

I have always been an avid reader. Fostered by my mom, I fell in love with books at a very early age. I’m fairly certain that I asked my mom to read “Monkeys Are Funny That Way” so many times that she secretly (or perhaps not quite so secretly) hoped the book would disappear.
Thirty-three years later, however, it is nestled safely among the books on Em and Ella’s bookshelves, and I will occasionally pull it out and ask my mom to read it for fun. I guess monkeys really are funny that way. And all these years later, I still love to read.
I read to my children. I read for pleasure. I read to gain knowledge and continue to educate myself.
Books are among my most prized possessions, and, if I really think about it, there are books in every room of my house. I love the way their pages feel between my fingers and the way they smell.
When I was a graduate student at Clemson, I would spend hours down in the library stacks pulling books off the shelf and studying their weight, cover illustrations and copyright dates. During my tenure teaching English at Clemson, I required my students to visit the library and actually check out and use books for their research papers.
Summer is so often associated with beaches and barbecues, ice cream and watermelon, road trips and fireworks. These are all things I enjoy, and they all remind me of summer too. But when I think of summer, the first thing I think about are books.
As a child, I couldn’t wait for school to let out — not because I didn’t like school (I was always a nerd) — but because I could stay up past my bedtime reading. I can vividly remember late nights engrossed in the Baby Sitters Club series and captivated by Nancy Drew. When I was in high school, I went On the Road with Jack Kerouac and wandered around NYC with Holden Caulfield.
Reading is a great escape for the mind and spirit. Books allow us to travel to places both real and imaginary. Last summer I had neither the money nor the time to trek across country, but I was able to travel to Italy and India thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat. Pray. Love.” I’m currently entranced by the Hunger Games trilogy, which has taken me on all sorts of harrowing adventures.
Fortunately, both of my daughters enjoy reading. With delight I have watched them progress from picture books to full length books with chapters. When I suggested we check out the summer reading program at the Easley library, they were thrilled. Since signing up, Emerson has asked if she could go every day.
The good news is, through the Pickens County Library System, kids don’t get to have all the fun: there are reading programs for teens and adults as well — not to mention movies and a variety of other activities. There are some truly amazing opportunities available for children, adults and entire families alike. Chances to spend quality time without spending a nickel.