When I was a kid, my mother would read to me for hours, I loved it.That simple act has had a great affect on me and is the key to my answer for today’s exercise. Exercise number twenty-four out of thirty-one is to detail my favorite childhood book. The answer to that may actually answer a lot of questions about my personality.
My mother saw no reason to stick to kids books when reading to me. Basically, if the subject was interesting and I could handle and understand it, then it was fare game. Game. Huh. The book I remember the most and will call my favorite was Man-Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett. To quote Amazon,
Corbett was also an author of great renown. His books on the man-eating tigers he once tracked are not only established classics, but have by themselves created almost a separate literary genre. Man Eaters of Kumaon is the best known of Corbett’s books, one which offers ten fascinating and spine-tingling tales of pursuing and shooting tigers in the Indian Himalayas during the early years of this century. The stories also offer first-hand information about the exotic flora, fauna, and village life in this obscure and treacherous region of India, making it as interesting a travelogue as it is a compelling look at a bygone era of big-game hunting.
The interesting thing is that my mother really didn’t believe in hunting. She didn’t dislike it or look down on it, but she just wasn’t a fan of it. And, like me, she was a big time animal lover. But the stories in this book were so well written and so riveting that they transcended the big-game hunting genre. They also gave me a feeling that there were other places in the world, other people, and other ways of thinking about life. And by understanding that people could also be prey, she let me know that we all had something larger to answer to. Her reading of this book never left me scared, and she would discuss any part of it with me that I cared to talk about.
So, that is my favorite childhood book, yes. But, more than anything else, it is the act of her reading that sticks with me. I can think of nothing more important that a parent can pass to a child than a love of reading and a love of learning. To be honest, I don’t think there is a way to read without learning. Each book we read, each short story we digest, broadens our horizons and exposes us to knew ideas. I will be forever grateful to my mother for that gift.
Note: Some of my postings over the next few days will probably be quite a bit shorter, though I will continue to do my exercises. I am at the annual convention of the National Model Railroad Association in Atlanta, Georgia, and not only does it run from dawn to late in the evening each day, I have a lot of other activities to do while here. Tomorrow after for instance, my wife and I should be visiting the High Museum of Art. They currently have Vermeer’s Girl With A Pear Earring on exhibit. Gotta see that one. Oh, and then be back to the convention for the evening’s keynote speaker, Charles “Wick” Moorman, chairman and CEO of Norfolk Southern Railway. A true meld of cultural events in one day!