Ivy and Bean

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There’s a book fair in Yumi’s school this week and she came home last Tuesday with a wish list of five books, I think.  I told her she could get only one.

My kids love going to bookstores and reading there but they seldom touch the books they have at home.  They always request for books but end up buying coloring books or art materials but never books.

This time, I decided that we would buy a real book. Not a magazine. Not a fact book. Not a short story. Not a collection of stories. A real book. She wanted Diary of a Wimpy Kid but I think she’s only interested in it because of the movie. I have read some of it but I didn’t really want to start her off on that.  As I was browsing at the fair, I saw Ivy + Bean which looked interesting.  I read some parts of it there and I decided that this would be a great book for her.

When we got home, she immediately started reading.  This was the first time that I saw her absorbed in a book for hours. She only took a break from reading to do her homework, to eat dinner and to take a shower.  She even chose reading over going outside to play with the neighbors.  That is amazing. The book is 120 pages and she’s already on page 103.  I am really happy at how fast she read and how interested she is.  I hope that this will be the start of a life long love affair with books.

The book is about Ivy and Bean who are both seven years old and all the stuff that they do.  My daughter is seven and I think this is why she likes it so much. The book is the first one in a series.  My daughter now wants to read all eight books in the series.  She asked if we could buy the second one this weekend.  Hmm, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

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Eat, Pray, Love

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I’m quite happy to report that I’ve somehow been doing the things I listed in my I’m back  blog.  I’ve limited my hours of work, just 5 hours in the morning and 5 hours in the evening (at most) and maybe, a couple of hours on weekends.  I’ve blogged at least once per week (although last week was on my other blog).  I’ve tried out a new recipe, Cinnamon-Walnut Cake. And I’ve finished a book. Yey!

A lot of things have been said about Eat, Pray, Love, both the book and the movie.  I never read any of the reviews, nor have I watched the movie.  I have heard that it was very good though and it was about the author’s self searching.

This is a great book.  It is very well-written and the author is a fantastic storyteller. I found myself laughing out loud while reading the book.  I have to admit though, that of the three places she visited – Italy, India, Indonesia, the one I would like most to go to is Italy.  I love great food and I would like to enjoy simple pleasures. What can be more pleasurable than enjoying great food?

Seriously, it’s a wonderful journey Elizabeth Gilbert went on.  Not all of us have the opportunity to embark on a similar journey.  We can’t afford to take off for a year from our “real” lives. Heck, some of us can’t even afford to take a week off from work.  But it was like I went to those places just by reading her words.  This is really what I love most about reading, how we get transported to different worlds without leaving our homes.

Hopefully, I will get to visit Italy, probably when my children are grown.  If I do, I’ll tell you all about it. 🙂

Wanted: Public Libraries

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I love reading.  If there is one activity that I can do the whole day, it would be reading.  I read anything and everything.  I learn so much from reading a variety of reading materials.  Nowadays, I usually spend about 30 min reading the newspaper, 1 hour reading blogs on cooking or the environment, 1 hour reading a book, usually suspense or mystery and 1 hour reading online articles to be used in my online classes.  Any idle time, waiting for doctors or appointments, I read some magazines like reader’s digest.  Of course I also browse cook books when I’m deciding what to cook or bake.

I’m lucky that I grew up with a bookworm for a mother.  Our walls have shelves filled with books.  I haven’t even  finished reading all her books yet.  Growing up, we always borrowed from the school library and spent all our leisure time reading.  I think we’re the only kids whose mom would tell us, “Why don’t you stop reading and watch TV instead?”  We were such geeks.  Growing up, I usually read short novels but as a young adult, I learned to appreciate inspirational and self-improvement books.  Now, I even appreciate historical books and biographies.

Now that I have my own family, we have our own collection of books.  Most of the books we buy are reference books.  We have lots of books on Geography, Physics, Design and of course, cook books.  I seldom buy fiction except children’s books.  I’m lucky to have access to fiction books, I can always borrow from my mom or from friends so I don’t feel the need to buy fiction books.

But that’s me.  What about other people who are not so lucky?  I often read about drives to bring books to schools, to build libraries for children and to get children reading.  This is very admirable and definitely needed.  However, that leaves out the adults.  Don’t they need to read too?  I am envious of other countries who have public libraries and residents don’t have to purchase the books they want to read for pleasure.  Even tourists can borrow from their libraries.  How come we don’t have the same system?  I know that given all the problems in our country, this is minor but I think it’s important too.

Who knows, maybe more people would read if they have something to read.  Not everyone can afford to buy books.  I’m sure they’d rather spend their hard-earned money on necessities.  But we should also feed their minds.  Maybe they wouldn’t have to continue watching inane shows on TV if they had a book to read instead.  Maybe they’d decide to change the course of their lives if they read inspiring stories of other people.  Reading should be for everyone and all should be encouraged to read, not just students.  Reading fosters lifelong learning.  And that’s what we all are.  We are all learners in this lesson called life.