Thursday, July 19, 2007

Coming to terms with my second childhood

When I was young, I adored being read to. I wanted to listen to someone reading on all occasions. When I was four, I learned to read and then had the magic for myself. By the time I was in second grade (about 7), I was coming to the realization that I could read some books as fast or faster than someone could read them to me, and by the time I was in fourth grade, I was reading over my mother's shoulder, skimming ahead of where she was reading and being obnoxious about wanting to turn the page when she was only half way through the first side. This was not well received on her part and I gave up on being read to. I wanted to hurry through the story, getting to the good parts.

For many years, I was told that when I got older (pick a time - when I got in middle school, when I got into high school, when I got into college...) I wouldn't be able to read as much, I wouldn't have the time. But, while it was true that I didn't have as much time to read, my reading stayed constant or even increased, because I simply forced myself to read faster. By the time I got to college, I had hit my own natural limit for reading faster, but that was still fast enough to allow me plenty of time to read.

I had plenty of time to read throughout my early working career, and even into early married life. Then... I had children. For the first time in my life, I truly didn't have enough time to read, and the amount of reading I have done has slackened off over the past ten years. The type of reading I have done has changed, and I have picked up hobbies that don't lend themselves to reading at the same time. While I can knit and read, I can't do much more than stockinette.

A couple of years ago, my sister recommended books on tape, with a particular author and narrator. I had read the books already and enjoyed them, but the narrator was said to be a good one, so I tried one. And then I tried another. Barbara Rosenblatt reading the Amelia Peabody stories by Elizabeth Peters is wonderful. And... I can knit at the same time!

This has been a wonderful revelation - with a few minor caveats. 1. The narrator has to be really good. 2. The narration can't be rushed. 3. The book has to be one that I've read before and know well. I still have to know how it turns out, or I want to dash to the end of the book, shoving the narrator out of the way so that I can turn the page sooner.

And so, here I am in my second childhood, listening happily to someone reading to me while I doodle, this time in yarn.

Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer, narrated by Sian Phillips. Most excellent.


beadlizard said...

I cannot abide, though, listening to someone else read "suggestive" scenes, or not any of the narrators I've heard so far anyway. Yikes! Will have to track down that Heyer -- would love to hear her read well.

dianna rubidge said...

How nice to find ao many of my favourite topics being discussed. Books, books on tape, lilies and Hyrna (which I admire from afar as it is beyond my quite poor knitting abilities).

Owen Wilson read me a western,(I don't read them but a friend insisted), and it was simply fine. I have been listening to books on tape ever since I had an eye injury that kept me lying down in a dark room for three weeks. I came across three baaad readers, a few that were at best barely adequate, but the rest have been pure joy.

It's been a pleasure to visit with you.

Dianna from SK