Books

I’ve been meditating on a post ElectricRocket made about books. I wanted to reply there, but think it might be bad form for a comment to exceed an entry in length. And I have a lot of thoughts about books.

When I was a little kid, a children’s shrink told my Mom, “I never thought I’d be saying this to a parent, but I think you’ve got to stop her from reading so much.” It’s to my Mom’s credit that she understood me well enough not to take that advice.

In grade school I used to shove a book into the top of my pants and under my sweater. Then I’d ask for the bathroom pass and once I was free I would go hide somewhere and read until a teacher would find me — sitting on a radiator or wedged under a water fountain were two favorites — and drag me back to class. Ironically, I was often made to stand in the hall for this, so I was missing class anyway.

Both of my parents are dedicated readers. My Mom bought me hundreds and hundreds of books and read to me every day before I could do it myself. My Dad would read to me every night, whatever he was reading. By the time I was seven my favorites were Dracula and I, Claudius. My Dad would bring home reproductions of Roman coins and show me the profiles of the Caesars we were reading about. Just yesterday my Dad and I had a long, excited conversation about Shogun (which I just finished and he is re-reading) and its historical roots.

When I was little my Mom kept having to explain to me that it’s rude to bring a book and try to read it while eating in a restaurant with another person.

If I ever have a kid, there is almost nothing that would be more disappointing to me (outside of malice or dangerous stupidity) than if s/he doesn’t like to read.

One of my favorite things about living in New York is that we go everywhere by train. That means my commute alone means I get an hour total of uniterrupted reading a day. I usually don’t care at all if we run late, get stuck or go slow — more time to have my nose in my book.

Damon and I have a deal. Being an actor is a big part of who he is, and I’ll never ask him to stop. I have a million books, and he’ll never ask me to reduce their number because that’s just as big a part of me. Everything else is up for grabs.

Every day I put the book I’m reading face up on my desk and leave it there, hoping someone will bring it up. No one ever does, but I still leave that bait out there because I really like to talk about books and you just never know.

I won’t buy a purse too small to hold a paperback.

I keep an Excel sheet of all my books and their authors. It doesn’t really have any function, but it just made me happy to type out all the titles and authors. It was like having a quick visit with each book.

I do know that this is all a little over the top and weird. But it brings me such pleasure to read books, talk about books, think about books, write LJ entries about books…

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4 responses to this post.

  1. You’re my hero.
    I only wish you’d been around to teach me the bathroom-pass trick.

    Reply

  2. My friend Ellie and I were out to dinner this evening and we talked about boys and books, mostly books. We are both avid readers. Then we decided we’d just as well go to the bookstore and get it over with, since that’s what we both wanted to do anyway.
    When Ellie spends the night at my house, we lie at either end of the sofa and read until something happens or somebody falls asleep.
    Ellie is ten.

    Reply

  3. Ellie George is my hero as well.
    And you, of course.
    I have a veritable pantheon of heroes it seems, each one 10 feet tall and striding the planet like a colossus.
    At some point we should all find a really big couch and sit on it and read.

    Reply

  4. I will point out that you have a really big couch. And two other readers already on-site, so that would be very efficient.

    Reply

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