Busy catching up on reading


photo by my lovely Chandra Joy Kauffmann

I’ve always been an avid reader. When did it start? Perhaps when I was very young and my sisters slept in what was called a ‘double parlor’. As the youngest in the hen-pecking order, I knew enough to be quiet while they slept — or else. I remember sitting on the sofa just feet away from their bed, turning the pages slowly and carefully to not make any noise. If that’s when it began, I thank my sisters for my lifelong passion for books and reading.

In addition, I’ve worn glasses since I was three. I knew my daughter needed them when she was five because she sat too close to the TV. How did my mom know? There was no TV then. I asked. She said I would fall over my toys on the floor! Imagine how clever she was!

I’ve never had a big desire for much ‘stuff’ — except for books. If I saw one I thought I’d want to read, I’d buy it. Thus, my shelves are full of books I haven’t yet had time to read. It’s time to do so, and not buy any more. At least, I promise to try….Old lady reading

Who imagined I’d still be able to read at this venerable age? Yet I can — if the printing isn’t too small. (I can’t but thank Dr. Brian Singer, L.A. optometrist, for his expertise when others said it was impossible.) Looking through the books I haven’t read, there are those I’ll not be able to read — the print is too small. I waited too long for those. They’ll go to friends or the library. But I now have some serious reading to do.

Volwyn E. Vulliamy (1886-1971)

King Geour

About 30 years ago I picked up a copy of ‘Royal George’ (King George

King George III (1738-1820)

King George III, (1738-1820)

III) by Colwyn E. Vulliamy, published in 1937. Just finished it! This hapless king reminds me that being of royal blood doesn’t make you intelligent or wise, nor protect you from mental illness. (He’s the guy, who besides other disasters, needlessly lost the U.S. colonies.) As a history buff, it was just my kind of read.

Now, I’m onto a really old book daughter Susan bought for me years

Charles Kingsley 1819-1875

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)

ago, ‘The Greek Heroes: Fairy Tales for my Children’ by Charles Kingsley, written in 1855. (Mr. Google says the busy man wrote hundreds of books.) The preface, which starts out ‘My Dear Children’ is a gem. It points out boys will need to learn this stuff and girls probably not, but will every day ‘see things we should not have had if it had not been for these old Greeks.’ Kingsley, a clergyman, made sure he instructed his young readers on proper Christian values while he was at it.

Greek gods

Greek heroes, who can resist?

Susan bought it for me because she knows I love Greek mythology AND old books. I’ve just finished reading the story about the hero Perseus, and am now enjoying the tale of Jason and the magic fleece (The Argonauts). {My husband once played Jason onstage — in French. I remember that with pleasure.} Sure, I already know these stories, but I love them and am having fun.

Greek mythology

powerful Greek Gods

Vision in our later years may not be what it once was, Mine certainly isn’t. Perhaps you also may want to read some of the neglected books sitting on your own shelves. Let me know what they are. And, happy reading!




9 thoughts on “Busy catching up on reading

      • Muriel..great blog on catching up on reading. One of life’s pleasures is to travel and learn about how other people live. When travel becomes difficult or too costly the next best life’s pleasure is to read a good book. We have entered into an age of high tech where old fashion reading of books faces stiff competition from TV shows and movies, Netflix which caused Blockbuster video movies to go bankrupt. Comparing libraries to Blockbuster stores I think libraries are losing readers and probably are operating in the red. As a child I would get an assignment to go to the library and look up the Biography of a famous person, like a President, a Nobel Prize winner etc. Today, in less than 10 seconds with a click on Google one can search the biography is seconds. At night it is relaxing to search a biography, a documentary or a good movie on Netflix. Since the newer means of communication are taking over our lives to a great extent there is very little time to read a book the old fashion way. Book worms have virtually disappeared. In their place computer nerds and geeks were born. The day still has the same 24 hours as it did since life began. Yet, the new world of computers, cell phones, and electronic gadgets require learning time as well as communication time. So, there is not much time to read a good book anymore. The same applies to newspapers. The New York Times subscriptions have taken a slide. People get their news in a flash on their iphone each morning as they wake up. Everywhere you go couples do not talk to each other one on one anymore. They text and email. The world is changing no doubt. Books will still be read by people like you Muriel. You have been fortunate to have been an avid reader all your life. This is admirable. Keep reading and let us know which book you recommend…..I will search the synopsis on Google. And claim that I read your recommended book. giggle. You are unique in your passion to read. Joseph

  1. Today, we celebrated the birthday of a 94 year old avid reader, at the JFSA lunch. She told me that
    she loves mysteries, and has 200 books by the same author series. She trades with a friend, and re-reads the ones from her past, that she has forgotten.

    I also have an aunt, now 95, in Sherman Oaks, who once took me to her former library in No. Hollywood, in a park, where they charge 15 cents per day per book. She read all of them, and then switched to the regular library near the mall in S.O. She also worked full time. Amazing.

    I am afraid that I am not a reader, but I have a lot of books on my shelves. I do like to collect books written by authors I’ve known, especially.. Won’t give those away.
    My mother did a clay bust of the old Librarian, in Vista, Ca, but didn’t want me to take books home. Funny. She said, We have enough at home. So, I never tried again. And, why I didn’t know enough about Canada on our trip. My parents read to each other.

    I do remember one limerick from mother….”I eat my peas with honey. I’ve done it all my life:
    It makes the pees taste funny, but it keeps them on the knife!”

    Thank you for teaching me.

  2. I’ve kept too many books on the home shelves but now my ebooks are filling up a new library that takes up no room in the house. Like you my great interest is in history and I remember the joy of readjg about Greek heroes and hapless kings. Congratulations Muriel on another thought provoking blog reminding us of the joy of reading when so many other things intrude on the time people once had for books.

    • Ah Tony: Another avid reader! I think you make it through more books than I do. May we both keep reading for years to come. I imagine Santa will manage to drop a few books/ebooks down your chimney this Christmas. Enjoy them all! Love, Muriel

  3. Joseph Tressor: I also wonder about the lack of time to read books. Its scary, because I find myself not reading like I used to, with a regular stack of sci-fi from the library. I think its because before the internet, reading was the ONLY escape I had. Now I have access to the internet, and that is where I go for escape now, I guess. You mention movies and TV that people watch – yes, they are a HUGE timesuck. I don’t watch movies and hardly any TV, just because there just is no time. And I’m on disability!

    The day is too short. As you say, its still only 24 hours. I don’t know how anyone can watch TV if they are working 8 hours a day. Because I’m not working, and I still can’t watch TV because I barely have time to do get my chores done as it is.

    I think the internet is my own personal problem. There is just too much to read, in a million different media formats – newspapers, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc, etc, etc…

    And Yes! I caught my wife and I sitting next to each other, each busy on the computer – her texting a friend. But, she is investing in rich social relationships, that as a guy, I can only envy. I don’t think I’d have the patience to spend that amount of time keeping connected with friends.

    But friendship is a very worthwhile investment. I’m trying to learn from my wife and spend more time nourishing my own friendships, in a vain attempt to reverse the trend of the world towards isolation and alienation.

    • Thanks Chris for reading my blog: I love that you do take the time to be so loyal. Yes, it seems to me the older I get the longer everything takes and I have less time for reading myself. Besides, my eyes tire more quickly. Be kind to yourself, I think you do wonderfully well. Cheers, Muriel

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