Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
“Open a new chapter in your life. Stop reading the old ones.”
I have to tell you about my secret crush. He is smart, handsome, tall, and very successful (he went to law school right here in Charlottesville at UVA!). We meet twice a year in the aisles of a bookstore, once in the Spring and again in the Fall when he comes to town. His words hold me over in between meetings. I have introduced him to my wonderful children and they, too are enchanted with him. I mean, how can you not be? He is humble, funny, entertaining and so very good looking. See for yourself!
That’s right, my crush is one of my favorite authors, David Baldacci, and every time he is in Charlottesville or Richmond, I go see him speak and get a few (bags full) of his books signed. I like to think he knows me by name by now (our relationship has been going on for 20+ years), or at least remembers the “bag lady” contributing to his early carpel tunnel with the load of books I always ask him to personally autograph. I give these as gifts – to my kids (building their libraries), my sister, my nephew, my friends, my boss. I used to give one to my Mom until I realized she was not reading books anymore. Which is so sad as my Mother is the one who instilled the love of books in me.
“We lose ourselves in books… we find ourselves there too.”
I am a fast reader and come by this honestly as my mother and my late Aunt Jewelle (mom’s only sister) read books with one eye on each page. My best reading time? At the BEACH of course. I can devour several books in a beach trip. Read 3 books last week at the beach, plus the entire “Our State” magazine (wonderful, rich NC magazine) which qualifies as a book to me. I love it when I am at the beach with my kids and I look down the line of us in our beach chairs and everyone is reading. I consider myself the book mobile for our beach trips as I never go to the beach without at least 2 BIG bags of books. After all, you must be prepared for different reading moods. Mystery? Murder? Romance? Comedy? I love them all! The only types of book I have a hard time reading are nonfiction and self-help. UGH, maybe I should work on that!
“Don’t close the book when bad things happen in your life, just turn the page and begin a new chapter.”
Ever wonder why you can’t get the book you want at the library? Sorry about that! Right now I have 13 new best sellers and 2 audio books checked out from the library, and 31 book titles on reserve. I go online and reserve book titles as soon as I see a new book is coming out. Books are my friends and the library is where I go to meet them. “You wanna go where everybody knows your name… and they’re always glad you came.” (Cheers) Yes, the librarians know my name (and I love that!). And I like the feel of the actual book – I never took to the Kindle. Not that there is anything wrong with the Kindle!
As I said, I usually get my books from the library. But there are some authors, in addition to my crush, whose books I will always purchase, like Dorothea Benton Frank. I LOVE her and her books! They are great summer reads and take place in the low country – Charleston, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, etc. Every May or June, Dorothea comes to Litchfield Beach to sign her books. My sister and I always try to see her there, but if we miss her, we’ll make the trip to Mount Pleasant, SC to get our copies signed – any excuse to go to the Charleston area. I also saw her speak at the Festival of the Book in Charlottesville several years ago. I got there early and had the opportunity to speak with her personally. Asked about her book that would be coming out the next month, “Last of the Original Wives”, and about the main character and she said the character’s name was Leslie Anne… Well… I about DIED right there as MY name is LESLIE ANNE! Leslie (in the book) was married to a man named Wesley. Sidebar: When I was in college, my brother in law set me up with a fellow teacher/coach at Bishop McGuinness High school. I had a good time on that date, but told the guy that relationship would not go far as his last name was Pressley and I would never be Leslie Pressley!
“Sometimes you just have to turn the page to realize there’s more to your book of life than the page you’re stuck on. Stop being afraid to move on. Close this chapter of hurt, and never re-read it. It’s time to get what your life deserves, and move on from the things that don’t deserve you. Don’t try to fix what’s been broken in your past, let your future create something better.” (Trent Shelton)
I always volunteered in my children’s classrooms when they were in elementary school. When they moved to middle school, I still wanted to volunteer, and found my home in the library. I loved our middle school librarian and learned so much working in the library. By learning, I mean that as long as I never looked up, never made a comment (like OH MY GAWD!), or gave any type of reaction, I could shelve books in the same area as kids talking right in front of me and they considered me INVISIBLE. I learned so much about what was REALLY going on in middle school. Now my kids will know that I did not have a sixth sense about things – I just heard it in the library.
My children love to read. I encouraged them to read as much as they could every summer. We visited the library weekly and they kept a list of the book titles, and number of pages they read. My younger daughter was a very early reader (due to soaking up everything her older sister was learning). Right before she started kindergarten, she and I had a special lunch at Cherrie’s Restaurant in Clemmons, NC. She was reading chapter books and told me about the book she was reading from the Babysitter’s Club – Little Sisters Series, where the main character had “Cereal Paisley” (Cerebral Palsy). And one summer, same child wanted to change her name to Violet and live in a Boxcar with no parents – she was reading the Boxcar Children’s books. Of course this is my creative child. Not that the other 2 are not creative, but they are more math/science kids. Still, they all love to read. I succeeded. As a matter of fact my younger daughter’s goal for this year is to read 30 books by her 30th birthday in November!
“Life is like a book. Some chapters sad, some happy, and some exciting. But if you never turn the page… you will never know what the next chapter holds.”
I love to read! Reading provides a wonderful escape from the realities of life. I lose myself in books. And truly, I want to be an author when I grow up. I want to be on the TODAY SHOW, interviewed about my best-seller. Hello, Matt and Savannah, Kathie Lee and Hoda! Then you all can come to my book signings and I will introduce you to “my characters” – Ivy Jean, Mary Martin, and Shelby Jane (all Southern girls have to have strong first and middle names just in case they are ever in a beauty pageant!).
Reading is definitely something you can do SOLO. If you love to read, you will always be entertained and will never find yourself bored. You will always have an “escape”, a vacation from reality. And who doesn’t need a vacation? Right?
So go visit one of the wonderful independent bookstores or Barnes and Noble or the library. Become a Friend of the Library. Maybe they will know your name! Just READ!
See you next week!