Cultivating Literary Gardens Of Frivolity

Reading isn’t good for a ballplayer. Not good for his eyes. If my eyes went bad even a little bit I couldn’t hit home runs. So I gave up reading. • Babe Ruth

Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life. • Joseph Addison

My students who will soon be fully-licensed teachers have been asked to write their literacy histories, indulging in a bit of shelf analysis that they’ll be able to share with their students. So often our students seem to think their teachers exist outside of time and space, perhaps imagining us hidden away at night in cupboards, pressed flat and shelved with the copier paper and markers and pencils, or hung on hooks in some basement lair, slumbering until the morning bells awaken us to teach again. I have seen the look of surprise on their faces when they see me buying butter and eggs and enchilada sauce at the grocery store or standing in line to buy movie tickets or shopping for new underwear at Target. You? Here? Their eyes telegraph astonishment even as politeness overtakes them and pleasantries reign.

I know too that at least some of them imagine that their teachers spend their time  thinking important thoughts and reading important books and delighting only in the erudite, seldom deigning to indulge in ordinary joys. Alas, this is not true for me. I wallow in the unimportant, tromp shamelessly through the trivial, immerse myself in puerile seas of silliness. You have only to read what I’ve written to see me revealed as a hopeless eclectic when it comes to reading. I am quite good at rationalizing all of this, but I feel no need to do so here. Instead I’ll share someone else’s literary past:

Four Prongs of Literacy
A Literacy History by Carrie Anne Ebner

Around the circle of kinder classmates
I danced, ferocious and mighty.
Little herbivore personified by a big me in the middle
We sang: My name is Stegosaurus
I’m a funny looking dinosaur,
And on my back there’s many bony plates
And on my tail there’s four.
Now I know there are four,
Grammatically, and as a scientific fact.
But what are four bony plates for?

Judy Blume was my mother, inside her voice and eyes
Deciphering mysterious symbols, she was
Fudge and Ramona, and characters with high-pitched voices
Low-toned grunts,
Unlimited personality range while
My brother and I were ivy
Lacing up and around my mother’s body
Begging for one more chapter before bed time.

By fourth grade I was eating my own books
Incentivized by stars, rival-eyed, on the contest chart
I was winning in more ways than one
And producing my own poetry from vocabulary
Metabolized that year
And years prior.

To prepare us for the adult world
My friend and I memorized Silverstein’s “Sick Day”
For show-and-tell.
Just to show off.
Fifth graders can be like that sometimes.
I cannot go to school today said little Peggy Ann McKay
We had: the measles and the mumps
A gash , a rash and purple bumps.
Along with the rapt attention of our peers.

From nickels and dimes in couch cushions, to
Wheelbarrows filled with pine cones and weeds, to
Five-consecutive clean room days, to
A coastal town where my grandparents lived, to
The entire Black Stallion series, all twenty
Usurped, practically
From the nice, old proprietress
Watching me leave in full possession of worlds:
A stationary rider galloping with Alec and the Black
Curling up against that big climbing tree,  
Which was not “time” and “place”
But a reconnaissance trail
Toimagined others, else-wheres

And emotions of my own.

Music was the thing to teach the song a writer sings
Whitmanesque inspired sophomore, I found
Lyrics could be altered to make my own alternate identity
Pearl Jam, the Cranberries, Nirvana, the Cure
Facilitating the muse, friends to us all
Winning, I wrote my own flannel and concert T-shirt philosophy
Onto my journal’s impressionable slate.
A refuge, my island, an excuse against homework.
Clever coyote confidante yipping at me,
Your homework can wait,
It, and the books I would read instead of algebra.

Beware all: Don’t read! Don’t write!
Or that is all you will ever want to do!
Stillacademically rebelling against homework
But justly wasting a whole day
Reading an entire novel with:
I’m learning.

Words words words
Matter matter matter!
But I know I’m just escaping.
It’s what I did Saturday, and Saturday last,
Spending plastic dollars on collections of language.
I went to Europe on frequent flier miles.
On authors’ invitations.
Authorial incantations.
Wizards leaving me wizened.

It follows…
Those textbooks for college,
And novels bought on an anti-philosophical whim.
The new journals started and stopped, until I discovered Moleskin®,
Pasting in receipts and movie tickets and love notes
To remember places I’d been.

And every word sent to my Dear Letter-Reader Friend,
2000 pages at least!
We could drown the Nile, wallpaper the Wild West,
With those yellow pages
Marked with Argumentum ad hominems
…Ad ignorantiums
…Ad infintium…
And all manner of phonemic representation.
Ahs and Ums and marathon run-ons

Sometimes another dinosaur
Comes around and wants to fight!
I don’t use fists,
I use my tail-
It has four sharp, sharp spikes…
I don’t know what old Steggy would want with a pen.

What’s your literacy history?

A one sentence literacy history from William Shatner aka Captain Kirk: “I enjoyed reading all the classic authors like Isaac Asimov and Bradbury.”



Filed under autobibliography, childhood, guest post, literacy studies

22 responses to “Cultivating Literary Gardens Of Frivolity

  1. Levi J

    Tolkien, J.R.R. (1937). The Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

    The story of a reluctant hero, Bilbo Baggins, spoke to me. Today I see a bit of myself in Bilbo. Bilbo did not want to leave the comfort of his cozy hole in the Shire to go off gallivanting across Middle Earth on an adventure with Thorin Oakenshield and his ragtag gang of Dwarves. Like Bilbo, I was reluctant to leave my sphere of comfort to discover the world that Tolkien so painstakingly created for me. Bilbo unwittingly turns into the hero of the story. Once I abandoned my reluctance, I turned into the hero of my own story, one where I was no longer plagued with the worries of this life, but rather warmly embracing the unknown adventures awaiting me with each turn of the page. I read my first copy of this book so many times that I recently had to purchase a new copy. It was like replacing a best friend, and faithful companion.

    “‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your front door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.’” – Frodo Baggins, quoting his uncle Bilbo in The Fellowship of the Ring

    And I certainly lost my feet. I found that as I explored Middle Earth as the invisible companion to Bilbo Baggins, I no longer was bothered by the worries of my “real” life. My father was an alcoholic, and while not abusive, he and my mother fought incessantly. I discovered that when I was lost in the wonder of another world, one that I entered through the magical door of a book, this no longer affected me. Books were my secret escape from this life, and I would be instantly transported somewhere else.

    • Lyrical, Levi, and lovely. Books were my escape as well and that’s their potential magic in our students’ lives–endangered magic in this world of standards and accountability where there’s little room for roaming. W-OZ

  2. Kira Rubenthaler

    I learned to read at the age of three. According to my parents, I picked up this skill at an early age because I disliked having to wait until they were available to read to me. Conversely, my younger sister learned to read at a later age because, my parents said, I was always eager to read her a story. Of course I don’t remember any of this.

    What I do remember is devouring books. The list of what I read could fill pages: Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, The Boxcar Children, the Little House on the Prairie books, Little Women and everything else by Louisa May Alcott, the Anne of Green Gables books, Hatchet and other Gary Paulsen books, Julie of the Wolves, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Five Children and It, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, My Side of the Mountain, the Babysitters Club books, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Diary of Anne Frank, Lois Lowry books…

    Mysteries, adventure, romance, fantasy, historical fiction, I read anything that caught my eye. The day I received my public library card was the most exciting day of my life…before I learned that I could only check out two books at a time until the library processed my application. Once my card was approved, I filled my arms with reading material, arriving at the checkout desk with a teetering stack of literature reaching from my waist to my chin. I used a giant canvas shopping bag to transport the books safely to the car. The librarians thought I was adorable; other people must have thought I was crazy.

    With book reading habits like that, the availability of unread books in the children’s section eventually dwindled, so I branched out to the adult section. There I found John Steinbeck, Stephen King, Gone with the Wind, Gwen Bristow, Toni Morrison, Catch-22, The Color Purple, war books, memoirs, science nonfiction, and mysteries. The stacks of books I checked out didn’t shrink; they grew in variety.

    Now, consumed by the MAT program and work, I struggle to find time to read what I want. I need to fix this problem because, looking back, I realize much of what I know has come from books. As I write this, a quote comes to mind from Gully Wells’ The House in France, a memoir I am reading for work (I’m an audiobook proofer): “Sometimes they were way too grown-up…but even if I didn’t understand every single word, they became the constant friends who kept me company, comforted me, amused me, and taught me about the bizarre ways of the world. Books were my nuclear weapons in the never-ending war against loneliness and boredom.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • I love imagining impatient tiny you, Kira, taking your own future into your hands. Wonderful quotation at the end. (Can you see me pulling out a 3×5 card? I am.) There is never time for everything yet there is always time. I read. I must. W-OZ

  3. Sarah Smith

    I have always wanted a dog, even now I fantasize about coming home to my own pup who will run to the door when I swing it open and coat my face in slobber love. As a child I wanted a pet so badly that I stole my neighbor’s pet bunny, tried to incubate a bird egg I found and captured countless rolly pollies and snails in jars to force them to call my home theirs as well. That is why the book Shiloh defined my 3rd, 4th and 5th grade life. I read and re-read every sequel and original that I could. I completely identified with the main character; a young boy who finds a sweet baby beagle puppy and begs his parents to let him keep it. He feeds it secretly in the barn and takes it for walks when no one is looking. Eventually the owner finds out that his neighbor has been taking care of his new hunting dog and swiftly pries the dog out of the boy’s hands. The boy witnesses how abusive and neglectful his neighbor is to his dogs, including Shiloh, and begins a campaign to get Shiloh back.
    I distinctly remember the plot of this book inspiring my plot to sneakily steal my neighbor’s pet bunny, Thunder. One day when we were playing with the bunny, my neighbor’s mom calls him inside for dinner. I tell him I will put Thunder away, and instead, stealthily put Thunder in a box in my garage. I fed him carrots and love for two straight days until one day, when walking home from school, I find my mom and my neighbor’s mom standing around in the garage over the box with Thunder in it. The bunny was fine, but my parents were pretty pissed.

  4. I’m laughing! I’m laughing! You can clearly see why I hate to put restrictions on writing a literacy history. I’d never be delighted as I am by this!! Coating my face with slobber love indeed. Lyrical! W-OZ

  5. Nathan T. Clinton

    The first books that learned to read were actually in Spanish. It was difficult for me when I returned to the States and begin reading in English. I knew how to speak the English language, but had never learned to read or write in it. Reading did not become a passion for me until later in life. I think I started reading on a regular basis when I discovered comic books at the age of 12.

    I remember not liking reading in school because I was always behind. It took me several years to finally read at my own grade level. When I discovered the Dragonlance series by Margeret Weiss and Tracey Hickman, my reading troubles ended. I began to consume novels after this. Science fiction, horror, fantasy, and comic books became part of my daily routine. I remember carrying around comic books in my back pocket everywhere I went.

    I can never say that I became an avid reader in the school environment. I found that most of the novels and papers that I was required to read were terribly boring. When I got into college, I started to fall in love with art history and history books. I believe my passion for arts sprung out of my love of history books and the previously mentioned books.

  6. If only school could nurture a love of all the things it purports to teach us, but instead, somehow, we kill the learning spirit, leaving it to chance encounters. I wish I had the answers that would serve each of us equally well. W-OZ

  7. Ricci Coultas

    I have always been a reader, and I am pretty sure I always will be. Strangely enough, however, I can’t really remember anything that I read growing up. I can remember a handful of snippets: reading James and the Giant Peach to my little brother, crying my eyes out to Where the Red Fern Grows, and still choosing to read the book again, being entranced by everything that Gary Paulson wrote, and sucking up those stupid Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine like they held the secret to life. I know this brief recap doesn’t begin to cover all of the books that I read, and loved, and I also know the reason why I struggle to dig up my literary past. In middle school I began to realize that reading wasn’t cool, and I really wanted to be.

    It was in the seventh grade that I formed my deep, dark, secretive habit… of reading all alone in my room, and hiding my books under my mattress, especially when my friends would come over for sleepovers. The public library was within walking distance of my house, so I would check out books there as opposed to being caught in the library at school. I knew I had an addiction when I began stealing to support my habit. My mom and dad kept dollar bills in their ashtray in case of emergencies, and every now and then I would lift a dollar or two so I could order books out of the catalogs that were often given to us in school. I remember being so excited when the books were finally delivered, but I always played it cool, and shoved the book into my bag immediately.

    It wasn’t until maybe my junior year when I let go of this ridiculous ‘secret’ and embraced my love of literature. I’m not sure what caused me to let it go, perhaps nothing more than a little maturity. Now, I usually read as much as I can get my hands on, but I prefer memoirs and autobiographies. I haven’t been reading as much lately, just because I am so busy with school and such, and I have recently noticed how much I miss it. However, in preparation for summer I already have a book list prepared and stuck to my refrigerator.

  8. Now you can wage a one woman campaign to make reading cool in your classroom! I love picturing you sneaking money for books. Have you told them? This is the kind of family story that becomes legend! W-OZ

  9. Mandy Engler

    When the going gets tough what I need most is time to be brain dead. My favorite way of achieving this deep space inside my head is to read. What I read plays a huge role here. There are requirements: it cannot be overly challenging or thought-provoking and it’s best when I can inhale the book in 3-5 hours. Such genres as young adult fantasy novels, beach books, and romance novels fit the bill perfectly. These genres are high interest, low-level delicacies. My boyfriend frequently rolls his eyes and sighs heavily when I snuggle in for a session of fluff reading. His tastes are more academic and cerebral – quality literature. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good book and read them regularly (over school vacations), but when I’m exhausted and unfit for human consumption I run to the Mary Baloughs, Tamora Pierces and Jennifer Cruises of this world for respite. Adventure, romance, mischief, strong female leads, what more could I ask for? This type of reading pushes all my obligations, responsibilities, due dates, appointments, chores, homework, finals, drama, and stress to the outer regions of space where I can no longer here their buzzing, clanking, and beeping. All that’s left is a peaceful silence, a numbed awareness that I am stealing time and I don’t care. Then, I breathe. This emptiness fills me and enables me to go on. It is like those moments in astronaut movies when the characters finally make it out of orbit and everyone together marvels at the sublime vastness of space. After that moment, the plot line of my life rushes back in to repossess my attention and life goes on.

  10. I absolutely love your prose poem in praise of the seemingly-purposeless-to-others words that send us into the silence. I call this cottoncandy reading and without these books, I’d be caught forever in the swirl of thought from which I need blessed relief. Bravo! W-OZ

  11. Annie Tyner

    A world. Light rain on a Sunday afternoon. Desire. Undisturbed interpretation. In-the-moment reflection. 1:23 AM and one more page. Passion unveiled. The scent of the last reader. Globalization at it’s finest. My mother, every night. Remnants of teriyaki sauce. An excuse to have some time to yourself. Basis of conversation.
    Angry at the author, the editor, the media. Finally learning the words to the song you have sung “perfectly” since you were 14. Comprehension of a lost love. Required. Common grounds shared with a stranger. Laughing out loud, alone, then laughing some more. Recipe for warfare. How to tye-dye your comforter. Manipulator of your life journey. Heart-wrenching injustice of an analphabet environment. Instinctual reaction. $4.99 Buffet for the Brain. Family legacy. Only way out. What are you eating? Philosophies fashioned. Time passed inexplicably. My dog lying at my feet, chasing her dreams asleep.

    This is my literacy history… today.

  12. Franky Stebbins

    Here is my problem. I infrequently remember the names of my favorite books. Especially the ones that helped me survive adolescence. There is one, I can remember the story line– just not the name! I would love to know it! But I did enjoy that story. And the fact that I remember it now, says something too. It was about a young girl who discovers a crazy old lady who collects bugs and is magical. That I remember!
    I feel a bit guilty for not remembering all of the authors’ names, or the book titles that I have loved. I feel like I should be doing my part by remembering and carrying on those stories. The books I have read most recently, I remember. Possibly, it is because of my terrible memory of author names that I tend to buy the books I love.
    My dad read to us before bed. Watership Down, the Hobbit books, Shel Silverstien, and Roald Dahl books. We named our dog Ditto after one of his characters.
    In elementary school I spent many a recess in the library. I learned how to wrap up the books to guard against wear. I alphabetized books. I read book and enjoyed the quiet. I remember Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry clearly. In middle school I began journaling. I started a silly comic strip with my friends and buried myself in more books. I read a lot in high school too.
    Later on it wasn’t just the stories in books that grabbed me. It was the stories I heard from people I encountered, or on the radio that made me want to learn more… A few years ago I helped interpret at an international indigenous conference on the environment in Chicago. There were many stories, and so much emphasis on “the remembering.” What happens if it isn’t written down? Who does the remembering?
    As I am finishing up this MAT program I cannot honestly say that all of my reading has been for school. In fact, maybe due to my procrastinating tendencies, I have spent a lot of time reading things irrelevant to the program. The Cry of the People. The Lacuna. The Island Beneath the Sea. News websites, blogs and sarcastic commentary: anything that gives me random information to chew on.
    I’ve continued the habit of buying books. The stack on my shelf right now hasn’t been read- yet. I’m looking forward to tackling it though- and adding on! Just the other day I read a review of a new book that looks very interesting: Poor Economics. Maybe one day there will be a way that I can search for those book titles that I can’t remember, or the exact page in that one book with the quote that I loved. Until then I am enjoying the “remembering.”

  13. I love what you say about the remembering. Much of my life as an artist and poet focuses on evocateurs–those words and images and objects and places and smells and other things that evoke precious memories. The challenge is recording those things so that the stories are not lost. My exhibit, LifeSavors, was about this, and yet I always feel inadequate to the challenges of the remembering in my own life, although I press forward with encouraging others to create their own remembrance through the sharing of stories. And–P.S.–it’s all relevant, isn’t it? Much of my procrastinatory reading, no matter how light, ends up inspiring something! W-OZ

  14. John Barber

    For me, reading has always been an essential exercise. My mother read to me every night, at first tracing the words with her finger, and then having me trace as she read, and finally, I would read the book to her. I can still remember my first book. I was four, and the book was Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. I can still remember the look of joy on my mom’s face when I read the book to her the first time. I would read because I knew how happy it would make her.
    Later, I fell in love with the ability of a book to take me away from the real world and transport me somewhere else entirely. The first book to truly carry me away was called Fiddler and His Brothers. It was the story of three brothers, each with a special skill. Fiddler is not strong of fast, but is smart and sweet and can play the fiddle. These skills he puts to use to defeat a pair of witches and win the hand of a local princess. I read that book at least 100 times, and each time I would be in another world.
    This reading to be carried away has stayed with me, and to this day there is not much I like more than a good story.

  15. And you’ve told a couple of good stories here too! Thanks, John. W-OZ

  16. Emily Marshall

    I learned to read when I was 4 years old because my Mom ordered “Hooked on Phonics” from an Info. Commercial (haha). She was determined to help me read because I made her read to me all the time, and I’m sure she was sick of it. Long story short, “Hooked on Phonics worked for me” because I was literally obsessed with reading after I’d learned how to. I loved Dr. Seuss because I liked turning his rhymes into songs. Clifford the Big Red Dog was the dog I always wanted and Little Mermaid stories filled an entire treasure chest in my pink-walled room. Amelia Bedelia was my role model for many years—a big part of me always wanted to hang out with her because she seemed so fun and made me laugh out loud. The Berenstein Bears series never got old because it reminded me of my own family and somehow, even at such a young age and even though I wasn’t a bear, I could relate to being a part of that family. Where the Wild Things Are was my ultimate favorite and still lives on the book shelf at my parent’s house covered with tape from years of wear and play.

    From children’s books, I moved on to chapter books and devoured anything I could get my hands on, as long as it was suspenseful or full of mystery. In 4th and 5th grade Peg Kheret was my favorite author because she visited my school on a book tour, and I was enthralled with her talent of creating mysterious and suspenseful novels. Terror at the Zoo, Nightmare Mountain, Danger at the Fair, and Cages were my favorite books of hers, and I remember being so upset when I’d read all of them and there weren’t any left to check out at my school’s library.

    When I got to high school, I don’t know what happened to my love affair with reading. It dwindled… I hated reading, and I felt like I could never understand what the heck I was reading. I was completely bored with the novels we read in English, and my time outside of school was filled with extracurricular activities that didn’t involve reading at all.

    During the end of my Junior year in high school, my love affair was re-kindled when I began reading Karen Kingsbury’s novels which were about the tragedy that occurred on September 11th and included other series’ about love, forgiveness, family problems, and religion. I also read Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love and instantly knew I’d never read such an amazing book like that one ever again. A few years ago, I read The Hunger Games for the first time by Suzzanne Collins and realized I’d been missing out on the joys of reading for pleasure and not school! I’d never felt so much emotion while reading a novel before, and I remember even dreaming about being in the Hunger Games with Katniss, fighting off mighty enemies and comforting Peeta … now that’s powerful!

    Recently my love affair with reading has been put on hold except for the memoirs I’ve been guiltily reading this term for teaching (this is the only school reading that I actually enjoy!!). I wish I could read more but school has taken over my life, and more often than not, I find myself going to Barnes and Noble when I’m supposed to be doing homework and instead buying tons of books that I’m waiting anxiously to read this summer. My shelf is full, and I can’t wait to read, drink, sit in the sun, and enjoy a little vacation from chaos. Only a few more days… 

  17. I hate it when there are no more books to read in a series. The Hunger Games trilogy, for example: I just finished a week ago and found myself reading the last volume more slowly because I didn’t want it to be over. I felt the same way about Harry Potter. In fact, I’ often surprised by how much I enjoy books written for adolescents. It’s one of the joys of teaching: you have an excuse for reading things that are fun since you can also share them with your students!

    There will never really BE time for reading once you’re a teacher (well, maybe in the summer if you’re fortunate), but reading can help you maintain sanity and provide moments–even though they may brief–of escape from the havetos, the shouldgetdones, and the must dos. W-OZ

  18. Quin Haldane

    I know that I was not a very good reader when I was in elementary school, I found that I was way behind a lot of the kids, and a big part of this is probably due to not starting school until I was seven years old. My mom was really good about reading to us kids, and that was the nightly routine for a lot of years. I remember being read to when I was still in fifth grade, and I always looked forward to it; however now I think that that may have been something that hindered my ability to read well as a student. It was not until I was in fifth grade that I really started reading, sure I could read, but I had no real interest in books. In fifth grade I found Jack London’s White Fang; this book completely changed the way I thought about reading. It was the first book where I found myself completely obsorbed in the story, I loved the way the author could make me feel like I could relate to White fang, how he could make me see things as if I was the dog. Once I started reading novels, the game was on. I spent most of my childhood without television, reading became the best source of entertainment, and I read a lot of books throughout my teen years. Once I found an author I liked I would read everything that author had written and then move onto the next. I still find myself doing this.
    For a while there I thought I would never be able to read a “good” book ever again. Being a student for the past three and a half years has really stifled my reading of books that I truly want to read. Sure I have spent hours upon hours and days upon days reading extremely useful and relevant information in all of the text books that were assigned to me in school. But what fun is reading something that makes me want to pull my eyes out because the lids keep drooping down on me. I have missed reading books that actually keep me awake because I can’t wait to find out what happens next; books that keep me thinking throughout the day that all I want to do is get back to reading as soon as possible.
    I remember simpler times, when I did not have to do tons of homework, and my responsibilities were somewhat nonexistent. I remember spending days cooped up in my room finishing a series of books I had started. The last time I remember doing this was Christmas break 1992. It was my senior year, and I had spent most of the break reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Every time I stopped reading and left the house to hang out with friends or do whatever else I needed to, all I could think of was the characters in the book and what was going to happen next. A good book can be addicting, and not always in a good way. Sometimes I will find myself totally ignoring my responsibilities to read my book. Sometimes I am sad that I have to put a book down and carry on with my productive life that is full of obligations and responsibilities. I have just had the pleasure of actually enjoying some “cotton candy” reading. I recently finished teaching my work sample and picked up a book in a series I have been reading for many years by the author Lee Childs; once I started the book, I found I had a hard time putting it down. I even lost sleep because I found myself wide awake and reading until 1:00 am. Lucky for me, this was one book in a series, and the next one is not out yet, otherwise I would be down at the book store looking for my next hook up; like a crack addict looking for his next high. I have to admit that reading some good pulp fiction is a little like drinking a good wine; I know it is not the best use of my time, but it sure is tempting and it feels good while I’m doing it, but it sure can make me groggy in the morning.
    I find that the older I get, the more I enjoy simple books without complicated plot lines and over packed detail. I have always loved biographies, but sometimes they become tedious and not that much fun to read. I prefer to read books with fast paced action, especially good crime novels and suspense. Sure I like a good twisted plot, but I don’t want to have to think too hard about it.

  19. I absolutely LOVE your wine analogy. I too have felt groggy in the morning, most recently thanks to the Hunger Games trilogy. I fell asleep with the lights on and then when I woke up, I started reading instead of rolling over for a bit more sleep! W-OZ

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