Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Addled Her Brain

My earliest memories are of books and reading.  My parents were avid readers and took us to the library every week.  I also owned a lot of those "Little Golden" books.  I remember the "reading book" used in each of my elementary school classes.  Divided into reading groups, we always knew which group was faster and which one was slower.  The teacher gave the groups names such as redbirds/bluebirds or whatever but we always knew.  When I was in elementary school, reading was emphasized more than any other subject.  We really did learn the three Rs; reading (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic.  There was no mandate that diverted attention from the basics.  We even got grades for "citizenship."  [And yes, that was always my lowest grade and was always followed by a comment about my talking too much with my friends.]

When I was working full time (about 60 hours/week) I had little time to read for pleasure.  Now I usually have at least three books in process at all times; a novel, a non-fiction, and a biography.  Time for reading is one of the best things about retirement.

This usually hangs in the window of our library.  Given by a friend, she says, "She is too fond of books and it has addled her brain."

When we retired to the North Carolina mountains I set out to read more and more books by NC authors or set in North Carolina.  Our local bookstore assists me in my quest for NC books.  They recommended mystery books by Vicki Lane who lives in nearby Marshall (thanks Carol).  (You can find Vicki's blog here.  The blog connects to more information about her books.)

I started reading the mysteries and quickly became friends with Elizabeth Goodweather, her family and mountain friends.  There were four books in the "Elizabeth Goodweather Mysteries" and I read all four of them one after the other.  Here are the titles in order of publication:  Signs in the Blood, Art's Blood, Old Wounds, In a Dark Season.  Vicki Lane elaborated on the life of an endearing character from the Goodweather books and wrote The Day of Small Things.

Like Vicki's other readers, I have been looking forward to the latest Goodweather book due for publication in October of this year.  A couple of weeks ago, Vicki's blog post announced a drawing for the remaining galley proofs of her new book, Under the Skin.  Called the "Full Circle Farm Mystery" series by the publisher, this is the fifth book in the Goodweather mysteries.  Imagine my surprise when my name was one of the ones drawn!  The next week, the mail brought the new book to my home.

 And here it is.  Personalized and signed by the author herself.

I won't give away any of the plot, but it is brings a fitting closure to the stories of Elizabeth Goodweather.  While each of the books can surely stand alone, I much preferred reading them in sequence.  I do so enjoy reading a series of books and greeting old friends once again in the latest book.

I was so excited about winning the novel that I went right out and bought a lottery ticket.  Believe me, the book is way more a sure thing.


troutbirder said...

What fun! I try to find "local" as well. One was a woman author (whose name escapes me at the moment) who wrote (nonefiction)about her parents and growing up in St. Paul. The scenes and even some of the names were familiar to me. Troutbirder (another "bluebird" with an addled brain." :)

Rudee said...

I loved this post. Reading is one of my favorite activities, though sometimes I think there aren't enough hours in the day. I just finished reading AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and highly recommend this David Miller book. It even made me set down my knitting for a day so I could finish reading of his trials and tribulations on his through-hike.

Carol Murdock said...

Carolyn, I've read it too and I think it her best yet! I told Vicki she showed out on this one! By the way, you might want to edit, Vicki lives in Marshall. XO

Busy Bee Suz said...

How wonderful for you to win this treasure!!!!
It makes me so happy to know that you are getting to do so much reading these days; simple pleasures of life!!!

animal lover, quilt lover said...

Oh I missed so much as a child!!! I didn't have parents who loved to read.
Turns out I am dyslexic and words were not my friend. In school I was the dumb one!! No one knew what was wrong with me or how to help me.
The computer has made a big improvement in my brain and my life. It has brought me you!!
xx, Fern

KB said...

I've always loved reading too. We had the same "fast" and "slow" groups. I always aced the R's but I failed "personal organization". I'm not kidding...

Thanks for the new ideas of authors to read!

Karin said...

Congratulations on your win!! What an exciting gift to one who loves to read.

Ms. A said...

Congratulations on your win! I used to love to read, until my eyes betrayed me. Thank goodness I can enlarge the print on my computer!

Taradharma said...

congratulations! What fun! And, thanks for pointing out some good reads...I, too, usually have 2 or 3 going at a time.

Cheryl said...

I love to read, I do not get as much time as I would like but generally read for about an hour before going to sleep.

My husband always tells me that I am taking over the book shelves and that his area is getting smaller. I guess that is true :)

Enjoy your read and good luck with the lottery.

Peruby said...

This teacher I had created a group for the slower readers called "The Turtles" - no lie! I thought that was so cruel - even at 12 years old "I" knew it was wrong.

She did quite a few more stupid things that year - not one of my favorite people.

I have to laugh at myself though, because I was so bored with the slower readers when we took turns reading around the classroom, I would read ahead. Then when the student in front of me was reading and I realized I was next, I never could find out where we were in the story! I think I made myself look a bit foolish.

George said...

How wonderful that you won a galley proof of a book you will enjoy so much. I usually have a couple of books in progress, but I don't have nearly as much reading time as I would like.

My Mind's Eye said...

I agree I retired on April 1, 2011 and have read more books in the last 5 months than I've read in a long time. Thanks for the new author recommendation.
I'm also enjoying crocheting, blogging, lots of walks and doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

I wish I liked to read the way I once did. I made the mistake of going to graduate school for a degree in Literature. Nothing made me dislike reading as much as that. All that "close" reading, with an eye for a possible topic for a paper or thesis, just killed the joy. I haven't been able to get it back. Every now and then I do pick up a book and read it very quickly.

Folkways Note Book said...

Reading is the joy of retirement -- barbara

Dawn Fine said...

Hee hee..didnt win the lottery but you won the book! I have never heard of the author..I am always looking for a good read. thanks

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

My wife and I are both Vicki Lane fans, having stumbled across her first book in Bluff Mountain Outfitters in Hot Springs. We, too, are looking forward to the next. Congratulations on your drawing success; we weren't so lucky, but we tried.

Interesting that your father worked on Fontana Dam. That must mean you "came home" to the mountains when you retired. I think no one values the mountains as much as those of us who left to make livings and were fortunate enough to be able to come back. Jim

Cicero Sings said...

Congrats on winning that book. How fun! I hare to see a good series come to an end.

I loved reading as a kid. Haven't read much since D died.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

troutbirder - You have given me some good book recommendations from your blog.

Rudee - I am often torn between knitting and reading. I also read AWOL and found it very interesting.

Carol - Thanks for the correction. Somehow I always picture Vicki's farm in Maggie Valley.

Suz - Time for reading is a great perk of retirement. I can read late into the night/early morning knowing I don't have to get up and go to work.

Fern - Dyslexia also affects my nephew's reading. It doesn't seem fair, does it?

KB - Me too. And we were graded on pensmenship. Mine was always sloppy because I was in a hurry to finish.

Peruby - The TURTLES! Talk about boosting self-esteem. Thanks for dropping by.

Madi's Mom - Yep, in retirement there are so many options. So I end up with several knitting projects, crochet projects and books all waiting for me.

Robin - There is indeed a big difference in reading for pleasure and reading for an assignment. My husband is a physician (retired) and his undergrad major was English because he loved to read.

Wayfaring - I grew up in Watauga County. The old saying is can take the woman out of the mountains, but you can never take the mountains out of the woman. We are indeed blessed to retire here.

From the Kitchen said...

I was schooled as you were--reading was at the top of the list since one could not do much else without reading well. I'm certain that reading has "addled" my brain but in a good way. You didn't mention Jan Karon as one of the N.C. writers you read. I've enjoyed her Mitford series once I made myself finish the first one.

As a library trustee, my motto is "


Vicki Lane said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Carolyn!

Anonymous said...

Haven't read any of Vicki Lane's, but have enjoyed all of Margaret Maron's, which are set in eastern NC. I guess it's time for me to move westward in my reading.

We felt exactly as you did about the Bob Edwards incident! It was nice to find him again on satellite radio. I'll definitely download the book. THANKS!