Something real, something to hold onto, something to pass on

I like books. Surprise? I suppose not. I am a big fan of stories in all formats (especially audio books) and I am becoming strangely fond of  the many  capabilities of various new gadgets which have come into our house and my pocket… though I am trying not to become addicted, or that person in the restaurant who isn’t interacting with real, live companions.  I can see enormous advantages to reading in an electronic format, especially for students, and travelers. But I see these things as useful options. I do not see them as replacements for the book.

I like books because they are real. You can hold a book, clutch it and keep it, or share it. You can tuck things between the pages. I also like them because there are No Updates Required. (Oh, yes, I like that very much)

This is my mom. Her expression (captured and printed and hand-colored by my grandfather) is a reaction to a passage in a book.

Oh, yeah, he did!

This book: The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson.


This particular copy of this book, given to my mother by a friend of her mother, my grandmother, in 1938. For some reason the fact that my grandmother’s friend, Betsie, miss-spelled my mother’s name only makes me like it more. Maybe because I’ve been known to miss-spell my own name from time to time, especially if I try to talk to people while I’m writing.

This is the actual page that inspired that look:


My grandmother’s friend lost most of her own family in concentration camps in World War II. I didn’t know her well. She was my grandmother’s friend, I was a kid. I might have forgotten all about her except that  she chose this book, wrote a few graceful, kind wishes to my little baby mother, and signed her name.

A small family story connected in small ways to the larger world… but real. My mom loves this book, and I love this book. I remember my grandmother when I read it and share it with my family. It smells like her house. (Not a good smell, exactly, but when I smell it, I’m there.) I remember her friend, Betsie, too.

Another thing I like about books: finding things between the pages. Things tucked away by me and forgotten, or left by others. Grocery lists, notes, checks, money… I have found all these things. Pressed flowers, 4-leaf clovers, drawings… here’s one I like:


In case you can’t read it, the note says : “The world gave her an apple. This is the world. She’s going to eat it.”

Here’s something else I found:

Beat that, (insert major brand-name current e-reading device here)




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