Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Sunday Salon: The Reading Mother

One of my favorite poems is "The Reading Mother" by Strickland Gillilan (1869-1954). You know, the one that ends with the lines "You may have tangible wealth untold /Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold /Richer than I you can never be / I had a Mother who read to me."

Growing up, ours was not a house filled to the rafters with books - unless they were in my bedroom. My parents weren't avid readers and to this day, my mother is probably good for reading two - maybe three - books a year. I don't remember my Dad reading anything other than two newspapers a day or the latest issue of Popular Mechanics. So I'm not quite sure, exactly, where my love of reading came from. Make no mistake, though ... my brother and I were definitely encouraged to read.

We were taken to the library often, and I distinctly remember my mom co-signing for my first library card and encouraging me to write a fan letter to author Carolyn Haywood (pictured at left).

I also remember one library book that apparently made an impression on my mom, because she was glued to every word.  As if it was yesterday, I remember sitting on the sofa with my mom in our Northeast Philadelphia twin rancher home, asking non-stop if I could read her book. I've never been able to find it since. It was about a boy named Gideon - I'm pretty sure his name was Gideon, or maybe something close - who may or may not have had some learning challenges. A beige cover is in my mind. Ring any bells, anyone?  This would have occurred in the mid 1970s.

Anyway, with this being the Mother's Day edition of The Sunday Salon, I wanted to give a special Mother's Day thank you to my mom for teaching me how to read at age 3, taking me to the library, and still - as a reader of this blog - always encouraging my love of reading and writing.

As for other reading updates this week, I finished Cathy Marie Buchanan's debut novel, The Day the Falls Stood Still.  What a captivating read! It's a historical fiction novel, usually not my genre of choice, but this one had so many great reviews from other book bloggers that I had to get it at the library. I'll have a full review up this week or so.

For last night's dinner, I made a fried rice recipe based on one from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, so it seemed appropriate that his book, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating was the one I selected as my current read.  Our diet is basically a flexitarian one, with the kids and I eating chicken a few times a week and The Husband staying to a vegetarian diet. We could do better, though, and the staggering statistics presented in Food Matters (and the recipes!) will be a good motivator.

Also on tap for this week are two other library books that are due back this week (with no more renewals), Morning Drive: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking by Michael Smerconish (who I am a big fan of) and True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolff, which is the second in the young adult Make Lemonade trilogy.(See my review of Make Lemonade here - which also holds the distinction for being the most searched on topic on this blog.)  It's also a good Mother's Day themed book, because it deals with how it truly takes a villiage to raise a child and the choices we make as mothers and those who care for kids.

Hope your reading week is a good one, and if you're celebrating Mother's Day, I wish you a wonderful day!

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.
 ~Strickland Gillilan


Anonymous said...

I look forward to your review of The Day the Falls Stood Still. I have that one on the TBR, but who knows when I'll actually get to it. Oh, and I loved Food Matters! Love Mark Bittman. :) Happy Mother's Day!

patricia said...

Sorry I can't remember the book.
But I do remember "Flowers in the Attic" I may have read that twice. Love Mom

Becca said...

Like yours, my mother was not a reader herself but always encouraged me to read.That was probably a greater gift for them to give than if they had been readers themselves.

All these books you mention are new to me! More for the list!! LOL

Mainline Mom said...

OH I so want to read Michael Smerconish's book! I used to listen to him every morning before we moved from Philly to Houston!

Thank you so much for your comment on my blog today, it means more than you know :)

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

eveningreader ~ if you like historical fiction, The Day the Falls Stood Still is (in my opinion) wonderful. It has it all.

Hi Mom ~ I actually think I do remember you reading that! :)

becca ~ absolutely agree! A true gift.

Mainline Mom ~ you're quite welcome ... and, you know MAS is now in several markets throughout the country, right? Check and see if you can pick him up in Houston. Also, you might be able to listen to him online at every morning, too.

Niksmom said...

Ooh, can't wait to read what you thought of The Day the Falls Stood Still. I enjoy that genre quite a bit. :-)

Hope your Mother's Day was full of all kinds of joy, wonder, laughter, love and being appreciated to the fullest! You so richly deserve all that and more, my friend.