Reading was very good punishment

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A book is a multifaceted friend.

It’s a comfort when you’re lonely as it offers a kind word or inspirational message.

It’s an escape from everyday life, giving its holder the means to experience life as a swash-buckling pirate, a damsel in distress or a hard-nosed detective in search of the truth.

I think it was in the fifth grade that I discovered my love of reading. I’d made a horrible (AKA failing) grade in math (a subject I still abhor to this day). I was subsequently sent to my room and grounded until the end of time, which meant no television and – gasp – no radio. (Even then, my mother knew how to cut me the deepest, because next to reading, there’s nothing I love more than music.)

I had to find a way to entertain myself, and the only thing I could find was a trashy romance novel. My grandmother had lived with us for a spell, and she used to tote in Harlequin romances by the brown-paper bagful. I’m sure the book, with its busom heaving and bare-chested cover, must’ve been hers.

Either way, it was the only thing I could get my preteen hands on, and I read it cover to cover in one night. And for the six weeks I was grounded, I systematically worked my way through every book in the house. Then, I moved on to my grandmother’s library and so on.

To tell you the truth, I still love the feel of a book in my hand with its slick glossy cover. I love the smell of a book, too. Libraries, to me, are better than the most expensive perfume and an all-inclusive department store with their racks of designer clothes.

As a newspaper person in this technological age, I’m a little hestitant to admit that I am an e-reader owner. My Mr. Man bought if for me, and I love it.

That’s not to say I won’t buy a hardback book or pick up one at the local thrift store. It’s just there’s something about the power of a “1-Click purchase and read it in under 60 seconds” that is indescribable.

If you’re a reader and you’ve ever been stuck in the ICU waiting room for the four hours between visiting times, then you know what I’m talking about.

And I’m proud to say, my oldest daughter has inherited by love of reading. I got tired of having to share my Kindle, so I bought her one for Christmas. Now thankfully, I don’t have to share. On the flip side, our tastes are polar opposites. She’s reading Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, and I don’t really get stories about dragons. I just finished Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich, and she doesn’t need to read that – period.

So, am I ashamed to say that I own a Kindle? To say that I bought my daughter one?

The answer to that is, “No.”

Reading is reading – no matter how you get it to your brain.