by Sharon Stevens

Author Jennifer Archer encouraged us to celebrate National Book Week by choosing a book close at hand, turning to page 56, reading the fifth sentence, then posting it without listing the title of the book or author.

In an old used paperback I had culled from the shelves, next to my writing space (Natalie Bright, August 8, 2011) I found, “They ain’t nothing but animals, they really ain’t.” (1)

What fun! Intrigued I then took it one step further. My husband and I were stocking college textbooks on the shelves of our Buffalo Bookstore getting ready for the fall semester at WTAMU and I came across the words “In addition, some youngsters got involved painting artistic travel posters to decorate the area.”(2)

In another book I found “As if they were spiritual consumers, young adults are shopping around among a wide range of religious traditions, in the process they are finding new ways to incorporate religion into their daily lives:”(3) Last but not least I read in still another book, “Explain why the tour ABCFECDBA is not a Hamiltonian circuit for the graph below.”(4)

A journalist remarked that of all the generations this was the best time to be a reader, that with libraries, Kindles, Nooks, bookstores as well as Google and Bing you can read any time and any place. Since we own a bookstore filled with used paperbacks, local authors and college textbooks, and with being a living American and breathing free, I wholeheartedly agree! I can go anywhere and pick up whatever suits my fancy at any moment to coincide with my mood at the time. I am then free to put it back down if it doesn’t suit my fancy, (as in studying about the Hamiltonian Circuit) and pursue my passion somewhere else.

Each book to me is a treasure shared from the author directly to my heart. I celebrate each letter, sentence and chapter. Being involved in a writers critique group and a member of Panhandle Professional Writers I know what it takes to put words down on paper and pursue ideas to publication.

I found a chapter on literacy for children, “Many people seem to think that reading is pronouncing the sounds of letters and that writing is about copying print or putting sounds together. These people have forgotten that the purpose of reading is to make meaning.”

And I guess this is what I treasure the most in reading is to “make meaning”. Everything I read connects to some part of my life, my heart, and my soul. I read for pleasure, I read to learn, I read to relish, but I also read to share. What else is a good book for but to pass on to others. On that note, it is amazing how one of my favorite authors always seems to put words together meant just for me, “The silence seemed to stretch miles between them.”(5)

I have a Webster’s Dictionary from 1890, and the fifth sentence down on page 56 is written, “ANTIQUITIES-The remains of ancient times. In this sense it is usually plural.”

The next sentence goes on to relate that “Antiquities comprehend all the remains of ancient times; all the monuments, coins, inscriptions, edifices, history, and fragments of literature, offices, habiliments, weapons, manners, ceremonies; in short whatever respects any of the ancient nations of the earth.”

Thanks Jennifer Archer, as an author, for reminding me to celebrate everything I hold most dear. I couldn’t have written it better myself.

Sharon Stevens

1. Royal Stud, by Stuart Jason

2. Let’s Begin Reading Right,by Marjorie Fields, Lois A. Groth, Katherine L. Spangler

3. Sociology The New Millennium, by Jenifer Kunz & Claudia Stuart professors at WTAMU

4. For All Practical Purposes, Mathematical Literacy in Today’s World by Comap

5. Texas Blue by Jodi Thomas

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