The Feel of a Good Book

Library-Books With the invention of the Kindle and Nook, there are so many ways to read a book these days. A lot of people say they like the feel of the book in their hand. I admit I was one of them.

As a young girl, I remember how it felt to pick a book out at the library, carefully taking my time. I’d place the stack on the check-out counter with a feeling of accomplishment. The librarian would slowly turn the book over, open the back cover and remove the card. She’d stamp the card and then the book with the due date. Things were pretty simple back then.

A book plays an important part in my novel, too. Without it, Katie would never be able to live her two lives. She reads right before she goes to bed, places it on her nightstand and off she goes!

When I was teaching third grade, I had a gifted student with a wide range of interests. During library period, the librarian rushed up to me with a very thick book in hand. That third grader wanted to read Moby Dick. She was all flustered and said the book was too hard for an eight year old and he’d never read it. I sat, smiling and nodding, while she made a list of reasons why he shouldn’t check it out. She finished with a flourish, “You’re the teacher. I need your approval for him to check out this book.”

I paused and said, “Let him check it out.” Little did she know, I swelled with pride that a student of that age wanted to tackle Moby Dick.

Her stunned expression said it all. “I think you should tell him he can’t check it out.”

Surprised, I didn’t want to argue. “Why?” I had to ask.

“He’ll never read it.”

Now those were fighting words. How did she know he wouldn’t read it? In my mind, if he tackled the first chapter and gave up, it was a win-win. There weren’t too many places in school where children get a choice and I felt the library was one of them. I always let the kids pick what they wanted.

You’re probably wondering who won the Battle of Moby Dick. Me, although that doesn’t happen very often in my life. But when I set my mind to something, watch out…especially if it involves kids.

I don’t remember how far the student got in the book, but he did read it. In years to come when I’d run into his mom, she’d always bring up the subject of Moby Dick. She’d tell me how thrilled her son was to bring the book home and that I let him. Even she was hesitant and doubted he would read it but he proved her wrong. She said he always remembered he was allowed to get the book. Those are the memories that stay with us.

Before my first book was published my husband said I should get a Kindle. I fought it for awhile but realized he was right. My book would be available on Kindle besides print. It’s the way of the world these days and I realized we can’t freeze time. I enjoy my Kindle, found my library has an ebook website and you download your book without leaving home. It’s easy to read in the sun, too. I upgraded recently to the Kindle Fire and passed the old one on to my husband.

Still there’s something about walking in that library and checking out a book. Seeing the cover in person, flipping the pages, using a bookmark takes me back to the time when I was young and carried my stack of books home. I know some will vote for progress and say “get with the program”. Others will say give me the good, old-fashioned book. I still lean toward the book in hand. Imagine how it would have looked if my student ran home to tell his mom he was allowed to download a book. I much prefer picturing Moby Dick hoisted over his head and him shouting as he ran in the door, “Look what I’m going to read!”



The Tech Wizard

7118075-desktop-computerWhen I was younger it was all about the Pinball Wizard but in today’s world everyone needs a Tech Wizard. I try to solve my computer problems but I have to classify myself at the basic skills level.

When I have a true problem I have to turn to the Tech Wizard. He begrudgingly comes at my beck and call, does some quick repairs at lightning speed that are too fast for the normal brain to register and leaves. I am relieved to have the problem solved and go about my computer business, happy and clueless, until I have to call him again.

The most frustrating times are when I know what to do and the computer doesn’t cooperate. It may be just a simple command such as Delete and I hit it over and over again and nothing happens. Then I have to call out to the Tech Wizard and he calls back from another place, “Hit Delete”. I try again and inform him it doesn’t work. Then I hear the clomping of his giant shoes, a large sigh for my benefit and feel his breath on my arm as he leans over the chair. His large hand travels past my face, heads for the keyboard and hits Delete. Viola! It works. I stammer and sputter that I did that a million times and it didn’t work. And then I hear those famous words, “Really, Mother?” and he silently turns and heads back to his bat cave from which he cometh.

The Tech Wizard, as you may have now guessed, is my son and he’s great at what he does. He built his first computer in junior high and became our personal tech guy around the same time. He helped me create this beautiful website. Did I tell you he dabbles in photography, too? That’s his butterfly picture above in my header.

I hope you have someone in your family like this. Someone that you can brag about be it sports or the arts or that he/she is the nicest person in the world. We all need someone to be proud of us.

But don’t worry, it works both ways. When I found out my second book will be published this fall, I sent a text to my son and received back, “I’m proud of you, Mom”. I’ll be saving that one forever.

Pinterest and Polyvore…Oh, My!

When I heard about Pinterest I had no interest. I heard all about its virtues and that it was like Twitter with pictures. Since I’ve never done well with Twitter it did not sound appealing to me. Others around me began to use it and talked about Boards and Pinners and Likes and Repins. All of it made my head spin.
Then one day I thought I’d take a peek, just one little peek. Pages and pages of pictures filled the screen with titles like ‘Warm and Cozy in a Mug’ and ‘I Would Like This’. These are called Boards and if you click on the picture, you see…more pictures!
After some encouragement from my niece, I tried again. She said to create just one board and then search for that topic. I set up my account and instantly I was following 96 people. So the score was my followers…0, following 96. That was confusing but I was told I could unfollow and to do it later.
I created my first Board, ‘All Things Swedish’, and away I went searching for pictures. I discovered I didn’t have to use the pictures on Pinterest, I could “pin” from anywhere. I just needed a pin button on my toolbar. The niece installed it and it was easy to use. Actually, it was quite fun.
My next big idea was to create a Board for my book, Waiting for Dusk. If I was the only one who ever saw it, I didn’t care. It brought my book to life. I already saved some pictures and scoured the internet for more. I found a beautiful staircase on one of my followers’ boards (yes, I have a few now) and repinned it to my new Board titled ‘Waiting for Dusk’.
My sister discovered Polyvore, where people can create outfits and wardrobes. She began to design outfits for Katie and Lindsey and Jordyn and the rest of my book family. Little did I know that one can “pin” these to Pinterest! I have not gone to Polyvore to see what all the fuss is about. I’m leaving the designing to my sister. But you never know, one day I may get the urge to take a peek…just a little one.