The Gift of Reading

On Sunday, Dec 2, the St. Louis Post Dispatch carried an essay by Ridley Pearson, co-author with Dave Barry of the Peter and the Starcatchers books, about his early memories of reading. It was a beautiful tribute to his father, now ailing from a stroke, who helped instill the love of reading into his sons by often reading at the dinner table a thought-provoking paragraph or two from a book or article. Pearson learned that reading was something that ought to be shared. “Reading is what connects the dots between the forty-somethings and the six-year-olds.”

At bedtime that night, my daughter chose for us to read Cat Heaven and Dog Heaven, the heavenly duo of books by Cynthia Rylant. These favorites of ours remind us of beloved pets we have lost and give us hope that they went to a happy place where we might someday see them again. That night, the reading began a discussion of God and heaven and what we think happens to us after death. We shared a great conversation, listening carefully to each other and asking each other questions. We were connecting the dots between a forty-something and an eleven-year-old, and trying to get to the dot that was God.

Earlier in the evening I had connected dots with my husband and teen daughter using a Post Dispatch article about the definition of rich vs middle-class in the context of adjusting the cap on payroll taxes, from the recent Hilary-Obama debate. That started an interesting discussion in which I certainly learned a few things, not just about definitions but about my husband, my daughter, and even myself.

And so I must agree with Ridley Pearson that reading is an avenue to sharing our thoughts and feelings, of connecting to others. I must also say that this sharing can cause big discussions and so provide an opportunity to learn how to listen to each other, respect each other’s opinions and discuss rather than argue. And that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

PS: According to Edward Wolff, economics professor at New York University, middle class in a big city means income of $40,000-$200,000. To be rich, though, he thinks you must make more than $350,000 per year and have at least $10 million in accumulated wealth. As my husband said, it’s not just income. As I said, wow!

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About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), and cats
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