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Friday, May 18, 2012

Banished


Floor refinishing this week required that I exit our premises at 7:30 each morning.  Any room not scheduled for sanding and polishing was crammed with furniture, and between that and the fumes, home wasn’t an optimum place.  When I wasn’t at work, I camped out at the library.  My laptop is struggling, so it remained behind. I’m not great at typing on the I-pad, but I brought notebooks and pens.  I thought I’d spend the time writing.

Nope.

Instead, I sat in one of the club chairs situated in front of a Palladian window, propped my feet up on an ottoman and lost myself in a book I first read when I was a teenager. Since the house was pretty much off limits except for sleeping, I didn’t feel guilty about the laundry.  I couldn’t cook, and rain meant any thought of gardening was a bust, so I let myself go and lost myself in the story.  It reminded me of way back, when as a child, I’d ride my bike down to the library to pick out a novel, and spend the afternoon curled up there, reading.
 
There are so many arguments in regard to books vs. e-books—but when it comes down to it—I don’t care, as long as there is a public place dedicated to reading, and stories that stand the proverbial test of time—and the book that captivated me this week does that in spades.  My Friend Flicka, by Mary O’Hara is as well written and sweeping and emotional as any book I’ve read lately— in my mind, it’s not a children’s book at all.  With complex relationships, amazing description and unexpected plot twists, it works for all readers.   

Perhaps it has even more depth for having been written in 1941.  O’Hara’s writing is so compelling that I feel completely at home in the Wyoming farmhouse, where Ken’s mother Nell, skins rabbits, bakes bread daily and walks to the spring house to get cream—and from which his father Rob has to drive for hours to seek out the doctor when his son gets ill.  (In truth this was the one spot when I thought, “sure wish he had a cell phone!”)  

This book has all the “can’t put it down” qualities as you could ask for, whether you happened to be banished from home, or are reading from the comfort of your own couch.  Today, my house still reeks of varnish. I am kneeling on a pillow as I type this—I’m still not allowed to place a chair on the floor in front of the computer.  Nonetheless, thanks to my chosen reading material, I’d call the past few days, well, lovely.

Today there is plenty of laundry and gardening and chores to do and I'll get to them at some point.  But, I finished My Friend Flicka yesterday.  I know I shouldn't have, but I went to the bookshelf and pulled out the sequel, Thunderhead, this morning.

What was your favorite childhood read?

13 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Bet your floors look awesome now.
I've never read the book but I do remember seeing the movie when I was a kid.
And sometimes, we just need to enjoy a good book.

Old Kitty said...

We should always have quiet oases for reading wherever we are, whatever we do! Yay! Take care
x

Talei said...

So many books from my childhood. Possibly the one that stands out mostly - and due to recent passing of Maurice Sendak, is Where the wild things are. Also, I loved the old Enid Blyton books. Have a lovely weekend! x

Robin said...

I think it is wonderful that you got lost in a book. I think that I feel better when I read more. I loved reading the entire time I was growing up and I do better when I read now. Good for you!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

There is nothing like the non-guilty joy of reading all day. More people should try it!
I had a ton of horse books I loved as a kid--Black Beauty, King of the Wind, Misty of C(I'm not going to try to spell it)and so many more.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

What a delicious way to spend a couple days. Nothing's better than indulging in a good book, and you could even do it guilt-free. PLUS you have gorgeous floors. Doesn't get much better than that.

sue said...

Joy! Nothing better than a good book and chores ignored :)

Your post reminds me though, that our floors are in desperate need of sanding and varnishing, but I don't think I'm up to the shuffling and reshuffling of furniture and being banished till the fumes clear.

cheers

Sue

Anne Gallagher said...

I can curl up anywhere to read. Even at the school pick-up line with the car door open and my legs hanging on the arm rest. I don't care what people think.

I've never read My Friend Flicka, I knew I would cry at some point.

Perhaps I'll give it a go this summer.

Wine and Words said...

I read the entire Boxcar Children series. I suppose that was my favorite. All the Nancy Drew, all the Hardy Boys, all the Bobsy Twins. I mean ALL. Soon as I finished one, I asked my mom for the next. It was one thing she loved to support. I got a lot more books than record albums :)

Carol Kilgore said...

What a great reason for enjoying a non-guilty pleasure! I know your floors are gorgeous.

mshatch said...

The Phantom Tollbooth comes to mind.

Ella said...

The magic of escape! I loved reading you took the time out and lost yourself! I remember my bike rides to the library with fond regard~
So, many Bobsy Twins, Trixie Beldon mysteries,etc. I haven't read this one....oooh, might have to go to the library ;D

Hope your house soon looks amazing!

Arlee Bird said...

Sometimes it's good just to change the pace and get lost in a good book. I recently reread a sci fi book that I read when I was in high school. I plan to write about it on my blog sometime in the near future.

Favorite childhood reads? I owned and read all of the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift series. Those were probably my favorites. I do recall reading a lot of other books as well. Ivanhoe is one that immediately comes to mind.


Lee
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Tossing It Out