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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dreaming With My Eyes Open

     I like to read, for me it is like dreaming with my eyes open. I have run across people who don't enjoy reading. I have a hard time understanding this (along with a lot of other things). How could you not enjoy going to places you might never have an opportunity to visit; experiencing a time in history; meeting people you would never have the opportunity to know.

I like fiction and non fiction books and I love libraries. My after school job in high school was working in a library. I was the person who put away the books when they were returned. It probably took me a little longer then it should have because of my need to look at the books that caught my interest, many times taking several home. Whenever I walk into a library I feel such a sense of wonder. Thinking of all the stories, of all the information contained in one building, it is exciting and sad. Exciting because it's all there for anyone to enjoy; sad because I know I'll never be able to read them all.

     I'm not a particularly fast reader. But faster then I would be if my 7th grade English teacher hadn't helped me. She suggested I take a special reading class that would help me increase my speed but also retain my comprehension. The class did wonders for me and increased my enjoyment of reading. As you can see from the following photo I've been reading up a storm ever since.

     Most of the books are nonfiction. But I do have a fair number of fiction also. I try to go through them periodically and get rid of some. If you're a book lover you can understand how hard this can be. I always donate to our local library. 
     Back in 1972 I wondered how many books I actually do read in a year. So just for fun I started keeping a list. Well here I am over 40 years later and still keeping track of my reading. What started out as a short investigation turned into a habit. I write down the title, author and whether fiction or nonfiction. As of the end of 2015 I've read 1,785 books. I've had a year where I only read 14 and one with 77 read. Of course the amount is influenced by the type of book and what is going on in my life at the time. The year with only 14 included three very long and more difficult books. The year with 77 included easy short books. But I seem to average 40 to 50 a year. 

     It is interesting to look back and see the different types of books I've read over the years and how my interests have changed. In fiction I've read all of Jane Austin and also a number of other classics like Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment. Other authors include: Gustave Flaubert, Herman Hesse, D.H. Lawrence, John Steinbeck, Voltaire, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, just to name a few. But I've also read a lot of what might be considered lighter reading such as mysteries (love Agatha Christie), historical romances and such. My nonfiction reading covers a wide range of topics including biographies. Really whatever catches my interest. 

     P.G. Wodehouse is one of my all time favorite authors. These are just three of his books of the over 60 that I own. For just sheer fun and the joy of reading such wonderful use of language, he is a must read. I've read several more then once. 
     Now days we have electronic devices for reading books. I have one myself, which I really like for travel. You can download books from many sources.  If you don't already know about this site try: Book Bub. They offer downloadable books for free or very inexpensive. As much as I like my Kindle, there is still something about holding a real book in my hands that is very satisfying. 

     I just finished reading "The Casual Vacancy". A very good book with well developed characters. I've read all her Harry Potter books, this is nothing like them. It is a very well written modern day story. Give it a try.

    I have a lot of quotes in this post but I still need to add one more.

A thought to ponder: "Whatever the cost of our libraries the price is cheap                                             compared to that of an ignorant nation."                                                                                                         Walter Cronkite

Participating in: Grand SocialShare the JoySeasonsAmaze me MondayShare Your Cup

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Frog's tale

     When I was a kid my aunt and uncle owned a ranch near Hemet, California. It was a bit of a drive, about two hours, from our house. In the summer my parents would go out on a weekend, leave my brother and I and come back for us the next weekend. We loved it. Not only did we have our three cousins to play with, but also the whole ranch to roam. 

Me at the ranch, about 1950

     We never could roam too far as we were on foot. We were always in hearing of the car horn. My aunt would honk it, 3 shorts and a long, to let us know it was time to come back to the house. One summer we discovered some tadpoles in an old cistern. So we got some containers and collected a bunch.

tadpole (stock photo)

     My mother and father were fine with us bringing them home. They felt it would be a good learning experience to watch them develop into frogs.

     We placed them in a large fish bowl in our kitchen and dutifully fed them. We watched as they developed, getting bigger and growing legs. When the front legs started to develop my mother said we needed to find a place to release them. We knew that we couldn't keep them, there were probably 10 -15 or so. Besides wild things are better in the wild. Time got away from us and one morning my brother and I woke to our Mother screaming. We ran into the kitchen. Our Mom was frantically trying to catch little frogs hopping all over the place. We both started helping her scoop up frogs. It took us a bit but we managed to get them back into the fish bowl, covered so they couldn't jump back out. Needless to say that day they went to the pond area my mother had located, and were released to hop to their hearts content.

     The following photos are of a frog that lived in our backyard pond for awhile in 2007.  We've had frogs come and go over the years but this is the only one that let me take it's photo.

A thought to ponder: "The continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is                                            important to the quality of life of humans."  Jim Fowler

Participating in: Grand SocialShare the JoySeasons,Amaze Me MondayOur World TuesdayAround the WorldShare Your Cup