Built on a foundation of books

Reporter launches personal Summer Reading Challenge.

When I was a kid, before I started school, my mother used the library as a day care.

In the community where we lived, the library was located in the community centre. Once a week, she would attend a meeting there. Instead of having me sit in on the meeting with colouring books – and having to shush me every few minutes – she would drop off in the library, have a word to the librarian, and come back for me an hour later after her meeting.

I rarely even noticed she was gone. It was already common for me to spend hours in the children’s section of the library. My mum had taught me to read a little already; my dad would invent his own stories to go with pictures in my favourite books so every time we read it, the tale was different.

By the summer of Grade 3, my teachers were calling me “a voracious reader”. And because I read so much, I actually knew what that word meant.

Once a week over summer, I’d go to the library and borrow seven or eight books. By the end of the week, I’d have burned through the lot. I made friends with so many different characters, and could barely stand to say goodbye to them when I read the final page. To ease the grief, I’d just start the next book.

My mother would tell me to go for a walk, get out in the fresh air. So I’d walk, with my head in a book the entire way.

We would go on family road trips. In a strange twist, I would get motion sickness when I wasn’t reading.

But somewhere along the way, I stopped reading so much. I always have a book on the go, even more so since my family gave me an e-reader a few Christmases ago. But it’s barely the same.

I cherish book series, because it’s enough to absorb me so much that I will read above doing other things.

These days, I watch television, or I read items on the internet using my iPhone. The other day, my chiropractor told me that for the sake of my neck muscles, I should stop looking at my phone all the time and go back to reading. I mean, that’s doctor’s orders, right?

It gave me an idea. This summer, instead of watching repeats on HGTV for hours, playing thoughtless time-suck games on my phone, I am going to launch my own personal summer reading challenge.

Every week, I will read a book that has made the New York Times bestseller list. That way we can trust that each novel I read is easy to digest and probably going to be liked by a vast majority of people. I’ll avoid series since it’s hard to drop into the middle and not get bogged down by going back to the beginning. Each book will be available at Cranbrook Public Library.

Then I’ll write a review to appear here once a week.

There’s no going back; I’ll be held accountable by that weekly deadline. And I know how to meet a deadline, let me tell you. Famous last words.

Stay tuned next week for my first review: ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce.

When she’s not buried in

a book, Sally MacDonald is a reporter at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman.