Sharing a Passion for Print
- Commentary by Mary Liston Liepold
I learned to read at three, and I set my hair on fire reading under the covers, with a swiped cigarette lighter, before I turned four. Fortunately, my big sister was nearby to quench the flames, and hair grows back. My passion for print burned on.
All I’ve ever wanted to do is read. When I look back over 6 and a half decades, I’m rather amazed that I’ve managed to do anything else. But reading does lead to action. I read about people whose lives were harder than mine, and I wanted to help them. I read about families and careers, and I wanted at least one of each. Children need reading to, after all! And there are jobs tailor-made for bookworms.
Blogging is one of them. I get to read about what’s going on in the world and weave the story strands together into a narrative of my own. And I can invite YOU, Dear Reader, to offer your opinions on the joyful news items we celebrate this season, including the hope that good may come out of evil in New York City and elsewhere and continuing awards and media coverage for our founder Patricia Smith Melton and her stunning new book, Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli and Palestinian Women. Please comment on the disheartening stories as well: retribution, civic unrest (and nature’s too) in Greece, the saga of the shoes, and ongoing femicide in the DRC. There’s so much more than we can begin to cover that I’m always grateful to those of you who respond with your own news and perspectives.
So please, do tell me what you think about these stories. But most important, tell me what YOU love to read. If you hurry – and skillfully delegate all the tasks that are calling you out of your cozy chair – there’s still time to buy a few delicious new books, read them very gently, and offer them up as pre-tested, sure-to-please holiday gifts to fortunate friends and family members. Shopping less this year? An old book, lovingly inscribed, can be a true gift from the heart.
I’m both too snobbish and too thrifty to buy lots of best-sellers. I’m still happily working my way through the best of last year’s bests, and those of the year before. (If you still haven’t read the 2006 Three Cups of Tea, by the way, put down whatever you’re doing and find a library.) Oprah’s Book Club generally picks titles worth checking out, though I have found a few of them disappointing.
The year 2000 brought out the millennial urge to list best books of all time, and most of the US lists were sadly ethnocentric, like this one from Time. Eight years into the internet age, we have no excuse to limit ourselves to what’s written and reviewed in our own language. Friends in other countries can offer suggestions, and if the translators oblige—or, if, unlike most Americans, we read more than one language—we can share and discuss our favorites inside the Peace X Peace Global Network.
What are the books you’d take along to the proverbial desert island? What books and fictional characters have stayed with you from your childhood? Will Kindle and its kin ever replace printed books? Please tell us what you think. I’m all on fire to hear.