Thursday, March 10, 2016


“And whether rich or poor, well or ill, happy or sad, books can be a refuge, they do not change with changing circumstance, they are the open highway to yesterday, today and tomorrow wherever you will to travel.” ― Gladys Taber, Stillmeadow Daybook

Why do you read? Why do I read?

A couple of days ago I went to the library to check out books by Gladys Taber. Mrs. Taber was a short story writer, published often in the women’s magazines; also wrote novels; and later became a popular columnist for Ladies’ Home Journal and Family Circle. From her columns, which were about country life in Connecticut (and later Cape Cod), she branched out into several nonfiction books about the same subjects—life and living in the country and by the ocean.

I read the original columns in Family Circle when I was a teenager. It was like being a part of her family—her children and grandchildren, the family visits, dinners, taking care of cocker spaniels and an Irish setter--. Gladys Taber’s writing filled in some of the empty places in my life, and I couldn’t wait for the next issue of the magazine to come to the A&P Store.

Rereading her books now, I recall how much they meant to me in the late 1950s. I am grateful for people like Gladys Taber who shared their lives so generously.

After I finally learned to read (in first grade), I couldn’t get enough of books and stories. Along about third or fourth grade I discovered mysteries for kids. The easy ones soon gave way to Nancy Drew and later on to Erle Stanley Gardner, Rex Stout, and Agatha Christie.

But my reading habits were eclectic--reading cereal boxes and pulp magazines, serious novels for high school English class . . . you name it, I probably read it.

From such a beginning, it was a natural, even inevitable, parth to a degree in English lit. That broad umbrella included American literature, expository writing (composition), and linguistics. I had a taste of European literature in advanced French classes. (That was an experience I appreciated, but never kept up with.)

We are the children of a technological age. We have found streamlined ways of doing much of our routine work. Printing is no longer the only way of reproducing books. Reading them, however, has not changed. --Lawrence Clark Powell

There have been a few times in my life when I couldn’t read.

When I was ten, I had scarlet fever. It was a mild case, but precautions were decreed: no reading; keep the room dark; bed rest. (That’s the only time in my life I can recall being bored. B-O-R-E-D.)

In my 30s and later, I had bad allergies that tended to wipe me out. I knew I was really sick when I didn’t even want to read.

Major surgery, with heavy doses of anesthetic, wiped me out again; while I was recuperating I couldn’t read anything for over three weeks. After that, only short--very short--selections in magazines.

And in my latter years, the time we call maturing, I’ve found some medications have a negative effect on me; my emotions virtually flat-line. Fortunately, I’ve been able to get away from most of those meds.

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
Ray Bradbury

We read for so many reasons—to gather information for a job; to learn about other cultures; to escape current situations; for pure enjoyment.

I venture to say all these reasons are about connecting with something or someone else. We learn about our jobs by participating in what someone else wrote. We find out about other cultures, and discover how alike people are, everywhere. Even our escape reading, and our reading for the simple joy of reading, connect us to another person’s mind and heart that conceived the story we are living through their eyes.

For my birthday I received two Amazon gift cards! Talk about rich!! I now have a healthy account balance at and a Wish List that makes me smile every time I look through it.

Buying books (and movies and DVDs of TV shows) will never grow old.

The only problem is where to store everything. Hm, that downsizing gig isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

1 comment:

  1. There is something to be said for a Kindle! I don't read as much as I used to, but if old magazines were easily available (where I knew where to find them) I would read their short stories and their essays, because I loved them. I'd forgotten about Glady Taber (I thought it was Tabor), but I'll find them again. They are like classic rock and roll to me--music to my reading ears.