With the advent of summer comes the promise of new adventures and, for some, this includes making time to delve into a good book. One activity I suggest you consider this summer is to join a book club.
An enduring love
I have loved to read since early childhood. It began with the Dr. Seuss and Curious George stories. Later, there were the animal stories written by Thornton Waldo Burgess; I think those books belonged to my Dad. Regardless, I spent many happy hours with Reddy Red Fox, Chatter the Red Squirrel, Paddy the Beaver, Mrs. Quack and many other friends around Smiling Pond. Then one day I went through a wardrobe and ended up in the magical land of Narnia. I was utterly enchanted with the lion, Aslan and did some growing up with Lucy and Edmund. The Chronicles of Narnia inspired me so much that during a creative writing course in my mid 20’s I recognized the Narnia influence in my characters and the setting of my story. This prompted me to buy the series and re-read it as an adult. To this day, that set of seven classic C.S. Lewis books remains one of my most treasured possessions. https://www.narnia.com/us
As I matured, the Narnia series gave way to Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mysteries, perfect summer reading at the cabin. As a teen I enjoyed that book about a certain Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, and later the “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy. Interspersed with these were Sidney Sheldon and Steven King novels. Really, is there any better reading for teenage girls then romantic mysteries and gruesome thrillers?
In turn, the Sheldon and King books gave way to historical novels like those of Sharon Kay Penman, with some Bronte, Austin and Shakespeare thrown in for good measure. So many stories, and you know you have a good one when it is difficult to put the book down; and when you reach the end you have that moment of deep satisfaction that you’ve finished a remarkable story, followed by that bitter sweet realization that it’s over…and you wonder when you’ll find another really good book.
The Library Book Club
So, have I convinced you to join my book club yet? It’s open to all ages and really quite easy to join. All you need is a library card. My son and I have been part of the New Westminster Library Book Club since Lucan was a baby. He started out with board books and puppets and then came books about animals. Then came Dr. Suess and Curious George stories, followed soon after with train books, always returning to, “The Best Book of Trains”, which is aptly named. Now Lucan is into books about planes, sea life, Scooby Doo mysteries, mermaids and, of course, train books.
The Main Branch of the New West Library is located at 716 6th Ave ph: 604-527-4677 and there is a branch in Queensborough at 920 Ewen Ave ph: 604-636-4450. Or check it out online at www.nwpl.ca and see the various summer activities.
Don’t forget to sign up for the Summer Reading Club, open to kids 3-11 years old. The kick off party is June 22nd 3:30PM. And, if kids consistently read for 15 minutes a day for seven weeks, they get a medal!
You will likely see the mobile library over the summer at locations like the Royal City Farmers Market. And, if you borrow items and can’t make it back to the library in a timely fashion, you can make returns at various places around New West including City Hall.
Life imitating art
Of course reading is not just for summer. It’s a great winter activity too and the New West mobile Library is often on the scene at community events then, as they were at the Anvil Centre following the Santa Parade last DEC 5th. Librarians read various classic Christmas tales and I told Lucan he could select a book for the holidays, since we had his library card with us. Lucan choose “The Polar Express”. Unbeknownst to him, we were scheduled to ride that very train in Squamish the following weekend; reading the book at bedtime all week and then watching his delighted face as we were handed our golden tickets and boarded the train, is one of my life’s highlights.
Stories are not meant to just entertain, although that is important, but they teach us many things about history, creation, how to build things, the animal kingdom and the interpersonal relationships of humans, to name a few. Books are not just paper and ink held together with glue. They are in fact portals to other places, time periods, sometimes other dimensions. I am certain that had I not consumed stories about exotic places and momentous points in history, peopled with amazing characters, I would not have become a traveller. Reading inspired me to explore lands, cultures, people and time.
And it all began with a funny cat and a curious monkey. Well, okay, technically he’s a chimpanzee, but you know what I mean.
So, welcome to the club. Whatever your choice of summer reading, and whether it’s poolside, on a beach or a grassy knoll, a deck chair or curled up on a couch, enjoy your marvellous adventure.