Here’s something I’ve been coming to terms with about myself: I am way more likely to remember something if I see it written down, and for that matter, I’m a lot more likely to actually accomplish something if I’ve written it down and feel accountable for it. Tell me five things I need to pick up at the store and they’ll fly through both ears, but text me a check list and that simple act of ticking off each item is so internally satisfying that I’ll gleefully perform most any mundane duty. Dieting? So hard. But after my son was born I joined a competition at our local gym with my sister-in-law where we had to write down everything we ate in a food journal as well as our exercise regimen and hand it over to our trainer each week. We killed it- even though we only came in second. I still managed to lose about ten pounds more than my pre-pregnancy weight. College? I was completely worthless remembering a single word any professor said unless I took copious notes (not that I did in every class, of course). Generally, if I wrote it down I could recall it- if I can see it spelled out I can understand it. So when I came across a blogger’s reading challenge, I thought- “Now here’s something that will motivate me to read more and also expand my pile.” The Modern Mrs. Darcy posted a checklist (God, I love a checklist) of books to read for 2015, and since I’m writing it down here in my blog, I have to do it. The great thing is, it’s a nice vague list- 12 books in various categories like “something in a genre you don’t typically read,” or “a book recommended by someone with great taste.” So I get to pick each book myself, I just have some nice guidelines. It’s like she knows what I need. Here’s the challenge in case anyone would like to join me.
Of course we’re at the end of January already so we’re going to have to catch up a bit, but it shouldn’t be a problem. So my first choice is ” a book that’s currently on the bestseller list”- and it happens to also be “a book you bought for your husband for Christmas but since he’s in the middle of a series and can’t be bothered to break away, you get to read it first.” Lucky for me. It’s Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. I’ll keep checking in throughout the year. You know, since I’ve already written it down here.
For that matter, perhaps I’ve already read “a book from my childhood.” Toby and I just finished reading Socks, by Beverly Cleary. Total fave- and made me rethink our poor old cat, Pete, who was 5 years old before we had children, and who now only comes out of hiding immediately post-bedtime to cuddle on the couch. And the next chapter book Toby’s chosen for bedtime stories is, I kid you not, Anne of Green Gables. He got it at a Christmas book exchange at his school, completely unaware that it is a book that I totally live for. Granted, it’s an abridged version, but whatever, I’ll take it. I actually reread Anne a couple of years ago and was completely struck by how much more I related to Marilla as an adult and a mother than I had always related to Anne as a little girl. I really saw how hard she was trying to do right by this child and softening as they both grew, not just that she was strict and straightlaced as I had always thought. Ugh. Maybe I’m maturing after all.
The book I’m profiling today is my husband’s suggestion- it’s his favorite bedtime story to read to Elsie. It’s Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson.
It’s hard finding a good rhyming book, one whose rhythm and text are on point. You could just about tap your feet to Bear Snores On.
In a cave in the woods,
in his deep, dark lair,
through the long, cold winter
sleeps a great brown bear.
Cuddled in a heap,
with his eyes shut tight,
he sleeps through the day,
he sleeps through the night.
So the premise is a hibernating bear who is joined one night by a myriad of forest creatures, each looking to get out of the cold, each bringing something new and fun to the party- a fire, hot tea, popcorn, nuts, even stew. The bear sleeps through the whole thing, though. The wonderful repetition at the end of each is page is “but the bear…snores…on.” And then, of course, you add in your own obnoxious snoring sounds, louder and louder as you go.
Until eventually, inevitably…
However, the poor bear realizes he’s missed the party- everyone’s been having fun without him and he hasn’t had so much as a snack. So they all rally and continue the party until every last guest racks out and the bear is the only one awake.
I think the next Ten Favorites list I’ll put together should be rhyming books, because really, they’re not all this fun to read aloud. Off the top of my head, I love Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau, The Gruffalo, Bear Snores On, and what else? Any suggestions?
Have you ever followed through with a reading challenge? What are you looking forward to reading this year?