Saturday, September 8, 2012

My life in books ~ by Karrlin Bain

My life in books

What is the point?  Read "My life in books" only if you want to...
* Learn some reasons (there are so many) why reading is important
* Learn some AMAZING titles of books for (m)any ages to enjoy
* Learn more about one person's (that's me) experience with books

My life in books

Books have always been my favorite things, ever since Mrs. Tutt taught me to read when I was a very little girl. I grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin, in a little green house on Stark Street. When I was three I walked down the street by myself and told Mr. Tutt in his driveway “mungry”, which translated meant “I’m hungry”. With that I earned some chocolate cake and also the best friends I would ever meet. I know that angels guided me to this man and his wife who was inside the house, because they became my own personal angels, taking care of me, loving me and best of all teaching me to read!

Mr. Tutt was a retired principle and Mrs. Tutt was a retired second grade teacher. They had no children of their own. I became theirs in a sense. I don’t have as many memories of being at home with my mom, brother and sister, or at my dad’s house. I just remember being at the Tutt’s house, and every single magical detail about it. Mrs. Tutt read to me from her wonderful collection of books and also taught me to read. She made stories and books come alive and seem exactly like the magic that they are meant to be! At some point I remember that she brought me to her school district and had my reading ability tested. She discovered that I was reading at a second grade level at the age of about five years old, before I ever attended school.

Mrs. Tutt had a blue book that had more than one story in it. My favorite was about a girl that was cleaning a cottage for some reason. She had all of the brooms and cleaning items working on their own for her like magic. I cannot remember anything else but would give someone a reward if they could connect me with that exact story again. A favorite "book" that I still own is one that Mrs. Tutt and I made together by hand. It was a fun copy of the book A Fly Went By by Mike McClintock (clicky link). Mrs. Tutt helped me by writing out the entire book and letting me trace the words. We also illustrated it by copying the pictures and coloring them in. The cover is made of a wallpaper sample. What a wonderful keepsake!

I did not realize until much later what an unbelievable gift Mrs. Tutt had given me by teaching me how to read in a way that would guarantee that I would love it so much! I tore through books as fast as I could, and had more adventures through them than anyone I know. One of the first books I remember reading was a well-worn yellowed Pippi Longstocking book that I got at a rummage sale around the corner from the Tutt’s house. I remember feeling as though my life was magical like Pippi’s (and most of the time it still is)! I can still see Pippi in my mind’s eye with giant scrubby brushes tied to her feet scrubbing the floors as though sailing on skates. I loved the content, look, feel, and smell of books, old and new alike.

Sadly, we left Wausau and Mr. and Mrs. Tutt half way through my Kindergarten year to move to Green Bay, Wisconsin. I was on my own now with my books and reading. My Dad still lived in Wausau for a short time and then moved to Wisconsin Rapids. I did not get to see Mr. and Mrs. Tutt in Wausau much after that. If I had it to do over I would have gone and spent weeks there with the Tutts, but I was just a kid and did not take the initiative. I know that they can see now from their post in heaven how much they mean to me and how they positively impacted my life.

After that I often I spent what seemed like days on Greyhound buses going back and forth from my Dad’s, but I was able to fill in many of the gaps with my adventures in the books. I was living in them sometimes more than in my own life, but it was okay. What a gift! I know that there are many ways to cope with some of life's difficult times, and others I knew found various negative coping skills to deal with life’s harder situations over the years. I was so blessed and lucky to have books and reading as my fantabulous form of enjoyment or escape!

I still have my Anne of Green Gables collection by L.M. Montgomery that I talked my Dad into buying for me. I bought the C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia for myself as a young adult, because I had read them from the library when I was younger, loved them, and had to own them. My Dad also bought me Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, which is one of my favorite books of all times. He picked it for me because he knew the book himself and loved it. My Dad is gone now, but I cherish that yellowed copy of the book that I vividly remember him picking out for me while we shopped together.

Somewhere between kindergarten and sixth grade I read: Ramona books and others by Beverly Cleary, Shel Silverstein books, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, Everything written by Judy Blume, and Black Beauty by Anna Sewall. I bought and read a favorite book called Gypsy from Nowhere by Sharon Wagner. I just looked on the internet and found two other Gypsy books by her that I had not read and did not know existed – I ordered them! I have also read many Paula Danzinger books, Lizard Music and everything else written by Daniel Pinkwater. As I write this, more glimpses, blips, and scraps of memories of characters, authors, and stories are flashing in my brain. Memories are coming back of books I have read that I have not thought of in such a long time.

I own copies of my favorite books House of Stairs by William Sleator and Hero from Otherwhere by Jay Williams. House of Stairs was a book I read for Psychology class in high school and is such a great way to explain Pavlov’s Conditioning. Hero from Otherwhere was one of my first exposures to science fiction. It is a fantastic book for youth and was extremely cool and meaningful to me at the time that I read it. Another excellent book I still own an old copy of is The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson. This book shares a theme similar to that of the famous Lord of the Flies by William Golding but was better in my opinion, for many reasons that could form an article of their own.

My time in high school was the time that I started purchasing furniture for my bedroom. First I got an entertainment center and matching shelve unit to house my book collection. Soon after I found and purchased a set of enormous bookshelves someone had custom made. When we got these home they ended up being so gargantuan in size that my parents had to buy them back from me because we could not get them past the family room door. They worked great in the family room though!  It had become essential to find a worthy display to surround myself with my books in my personal space. My ultimate wall decor would still consist of nonstop books of my choosing. A book to me is a lovely warm security blanket that is completely acceptable for individuals of any age to carry around!

I read Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath as a teen on the back of a Greyhound bus on one of my many trips. I had my favorite wistful music piped into my headphones from my cassette Walkman. I would occasionally break from reading to view Wisconsin farmlands rolling by outside the familiar Greyhound windows. The atmosphere and feel on my Greyhound bus was a perfect environmental match for The Grapes of Wrath, and Steinbeck immediately became one of my favorite authors. I imagined that I too felt like a wandering desolate homeless soul with all of my bus trips back and forth, much like the characters did at times in the novel.

To support my reading addiction I fished for coins and the occasional lucky score of a one or five dollar bill out of the coats of my parents in the house front closet. Then I would take the old field surrounded gravel road all the way down to Biebel’s Grocery and buy yet another Silhouette Young Love novel along with a necessary bag of Doritos. At that time those books cost $1.95 and could be chosen carefully off of Biebel's one wonderful little metal spinny rack of books. I did not live near the library and I could not get there on my own. I spent many of my summer days reading books at home while everyone else was gone, and the whole time I would be munching on the Doritos. The books were like my “nanny” keeping me out of trouble. I would read new books and old favorites, spending many days and nights during the summers, and many school nights and weekends during the rest of the year with my head filled with the adventures of books. The funny thing is that when I eat Doritos to this day, I am filled with the nostalgic feeling of love and longing of a Silhouette Young Love! I managed to perfectly and accidentally condition myself to have the Harlequin Young Love response to the stimulus of the Doritos. I still own my top six or so favorites of these yellowing Harlequin Young Love books; I could not bear to part with them. (Doritos still make me happy too!)

As a young teen I read Robert Asprin’s Myth Adventures series which was fantastic and hilarious. I stumbled upon my first book accidentally in a Greyhound bus station. I had finished that one book when the everlasting bus trip was not over yet. I remember the rack filled to the brims on the wall of the station, and I remember my first glimpse of the dragon and unicorn on the front cover. After I finished that book I went on quickly to get the whole series, in the end having to wait for the author to write them, as I often did. With my new found interest in science fiction, I soon discovered Orson Scott Card’s Seventh Son series, Ender’s Game series, and many of his other series’ and single non-series books. I love (love!) most of his books. My son now also loves the Ender’s Game series. He gained a new level of respect for me when the Orson Scott Card books I referred to him ended up being amazing in his opinion!  (*note December 2013 ~ Ender's Game MOVIE (!!!!!!!) arrived and it ROCKED!!!)

Another science fiction book that I also loved was Stephen King's science fiction book The Eyes of the Dragon. I never read any of his scary books because I can’t stand scary books (or scary anything), and I am very afraid of them. For a while during some bold rebellious period before I knew that I am scared of scary things, I read every Dean Koontz book that I could get my hands on. Some of these were very scary, until I read one that is so horrific while I had the flu that I would never read one of his books again. He had written from inside the most disgusting criminal mind that I was emotionally sickened, and that on top of having the flu just put me over the edge completely. I never could touch another one of his books and wish some topics were not ever covered.

During high school I worked many hours at the same grocery store that I had earlier gone to for the Harlequin Young Love books. I also worked completing data entry at an accounting firm. I would never have been able to attend school or work so many tedious grocery store and data entry hours without my love of books to occupy my mind. I believe reading developed my active imagination, and I was constantly dreaming and creating stories in my head while completing the most mundane tasks. Thank heavens for books!

As a teen I spent five summers in San Jose with my uncle who worked at Stanford University. Every summer my uncle lined up a few weeks of full time office job for me to work at Stanford University in the Housing Maintenance Offices. He is an avid reader and had a library room full of shelves of books for me to enjoy. I had my own adventures while working and enjoyed every summer.  I loved my endless summers lost in books in Palo Alto and San Jose. I can view my many summer memories in my mind as if they were on a screen. I believe that reading avidly over a lifetime enriches and enhances one’s ability to remember things clearly. I also believe that avid reading even enables one to dream with vivid detail and color.

Five years later I was going to graduate from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay with a Human Development major. At this time I went to the head of the English department and asked him to turn my extensive grouping of English classes into an additional major. There were so many English Literature courses on my transcripts that it just had to be a full major! Through my self-indulgent love of reading and writing I had taken every class that had even the hint of a novel, play or a poem in it. Without actually planning to I had completed a thorough and approved Bachelor of Arts ~ English major in addition to my Human Development major. Most people asked the question that was constantly in my own mind, “What are you going to do with that?”

I did not exactly know the answer to that particular question myself, until recently when I finally decided to overcome my fear of the unknown and the PRAXIS tests to get my teaching license. Throughout my life I was in a constant state of reading books and journaling. Books have been my constant joy, therapeutic coping mechanism, and sweet form of escape. The rest of the time I was busy living and dreaming up my own mischief, adventure and romance.

Now I enjoy reading books that support my role as a teacher. I have read the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer and the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. While achieving my English Literature and Composition Teaching License I read and analyzed numerous wonderful current reads covering interest levels for ages birth to 120. I work with students of all ages and they are always surprised and delighted to know that their teacher has read some of the same materials and can discuss the specific details involved. Personally I will always try to read a book before I see a movie that is made from a book. I encourage students to do this as well. I am always excited when students are racing to finish a great book or series before they go to see the movie version of what they have read. A love for reading is completely contagious. While raising my own children and teaching others, it has been fun to encourage love for reading and model a general love of books themselves.

I have of course over the course of my years read much of Danielle Steele, Katherine Stone, Nora Roberts, Judith McNaught and many others in the general romance category. I admire the factual topic, history and setting research that must go into many of these books. I think that these authors are fantastic in their ability to brighten my life. At the same time I also believe they are responsible for a few of my truly impossible thoughts and unrealistic expectations about love and life. One should not live every day like some romance novels that exist. I can, however, live a life as exciting, adventurous, optimistic and meaningful as my favorite all time character Anne (spelled with an "e") from Anne of Green Gables.

I love books, reading and journaling. I have to resist many books right now in order to properly attend to my family, work and life. I love the role that books play in my past, present and future. I love the gift of imagination and the sense of humor that my history with books has given me. I love the fact that feelings, tastes, sounds, scents and experiences can become intertwined with books to make them come more alive than they already are. I love that my children are now avid readers. Both of my children have an enormous imagination and it shows. I have been able to pass on to them the priceless gift of reading, and all the magic that goes with it, that Mr. and Mrs. Tutt gave me so many years ago. This is a gift they will share with their friends and someday with their own families. I know that this gift, this great love of books, is a gift that my children will cherish forever.

Facebook is fun! ~ Poemify Me by Karrlin Bain

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Books: The Best Things in the Universe! My life in books by Karrlin Bain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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  1. You are wonderful writer! I am so glad that I met you. Your Friend, Sarah Biswabic

  2. Thanks Sarah! I'm glad we met too! : ) Blessings! ~Karrlin

  3. Your passion shined thru in every word. Loved reading your story

  4. Thank you Teresa! I appreciate it... I just love to share all those titles ~ they are amazing!

  5. 2 comments: (re-posted during blog fix by Karrlin Bain ; )

    Kimmer October 6, 2012 11:37 PM
    Love this Karrlin!
    Gave me so much insight into your Book Readin', Soul Searchin' Poemifyin' life!
    I remember that sweet little lost girl and am so grateful God brought you to the Tutts.
    They were truly your Guardian Angels at the time and the gift they gave you kept on giving. In a way they continued to watch over you through the books they taught you to read.
    Keep using your God givin' talents and giftin' others with them.
    Love You! Now get some sleep! :-)

    Reply by Karrlin Bain:

    Karrlin Bain October 7, 2012 3:14 AM
    Thank you so much my WONDERFUL big sister!!!! Love You Too!!!

  6. Awesome Karrlin!

    This makes me very happy. Tasha will have a lifelong gift of reading, and I just know that it will make her who she will become as an adult. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow Kaarlin, what a great post. What a lovely story, I love how your life blends with so many books. I worked for many years in a second hand book store and those titles filled the shelves, walking out the door. I often struggle to get into a book and then when I do it becomes part of me. I have a cinematic mind that opens doors, sweats and visualises and feels every sentence when they hook me in. So I make for a slow reader, but I absolutely love to read. Sometimes people would come in and say they read ten books a week. I never believed them, but those that did, did it to addle their brains on the bus on the way to work or to pass the lonely hours alone in their home. Not me, if I am reading something I make sure it's a joy. Now of course with the advents of blogs, they seem to take up so much time. My love of writing has grown through all this of course. Some people don't get blogs, they don't get why. Me I love meeting the authors, seeing what they are up to and love spurring them on. Blogs are like interactive books in a way. When I find posts like this, everything changes. This was such a delight to read, it really could be your "About Me". Wonderful. Now that's my reading done for tonight. Off to sleep. Goodnight!


Thank you in advance for your comments!
; )
Have a blessed day!