Sep. 9, 2015

A Very Exclusive Book Club...

“I love you, my wonderful child,” said Mama as she tucked me in.

But I had a question. “Mama, what if I were a big scary ape?

Would you still love me?”

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt

To find out what Mama said to her wonderful child, you’d have to have a copy of I Love You, Stinky Face. Fortunately, all the members of my book club: two year old Caleb Nicholas Davis, two year old Konner Terrell, and three year old Hayden Holt have a copy of Stinky Face. The book before Stinky Face was The Hiccupotamus and before that was How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms. As you can see, my book club selections tend toward the ridiculous and occasionally the slightly rude, i.e., the latest selection which went to the other members of my book club, our Texas girls, seven year old Jessie and five year old Emily Brown, which was Animal Gas: A Farty Farce. I understand Jessie keeps this classic in her bed so it’s always available to enjoy. My book club is also somewhat spread out, Konner and Hayden are also Texans and Caleb is our Huntington Beach grandson. His brother, Brady, who is five months old will be joining soon.

Many book clubs are serious affairs where Significant Literature is selected, plowed through, notes made and educated opinions expressed. Fortunately, our book club doesn’t do that. I do hear from my members, however, or at least from their parents, who occasionally have been forced to read and re-read a selection till they couldn’t stand it any longer and placed it on a high shelf out of sight. The parents love the books and the members love receiving a new book from UPS. Selections are addressed to each little book club member and, thanks to Amazon Prime, I never have to pay shipping. I look through dozens of new Amazon books which are available almost daily, select the one I like the best and press Send! I might add that this is one of the most fun things I do. My book club members have all learned to use gentle hands with their books.

Last Saturday the Creative Arts Group here in Sierra Madre, where one can take lessons from an expert in practically any art media, invited the world to a Flea Market. The crowd was so thick one could hardly force one’s way through to take stuff home. What did I buy? Books for book club member, Caleb, the best one being, Dad Can I Have ATyrannosaurus Rex?

Thinking back on our children’s lives, I’m ashamed to admit I really didn’t read to them that much, but they always saw us reading. I was partial, in my younger days, to reading several books simultaneously, leaving them where I was reading...the kitchen, the dressing room, living room, etc. Our children are all readers, we are proud to report, as are our grandchildren. Our oldest daughter, Leah when she was around twelve or so, never left the house without at least three books: the one she was reading, another one if she finished that one, and one more in case she didn’t like the second one.

Our house is full of books, I freely admit I hoard them, but having seen and even written a column for our local paper on Little Free Libraries, where one can buy a kit and install a Little Free Library in front of one’s home, where anyone at all can come by and take a book or leave a book, I have realized that books are free spirits, they need to be set free, their stories allowed to circulate and enrich other people’s lives. Slowly, a book at a time, I am setting my books free, while enjoying my book club more than I ever thought possible. Putting board books into tiny hands is the closest thing to pure happiness imaginable.

Here is my best friend and fellow reader, John, sitting with another reader/writer, Mark Twain, who is holding an open book...Life On The Mississippi... maybe! Mark is relaxed and John is sitting on an extremely hot bench!

You know, God is an advocate of books and reading, His greatest work:  The Bible

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

George RR Martin