One Foot

One Foot

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Basket Reveals Affair With Books

It seems in my part of the country, silent auctions of theme baskets are popular as a fundraiser.  My church has held these for years, so each December; the lobby is filled with baskets stuffed with goodies and members drift along the line placing bids, the idea being that high bid wins the basket.
Books for Christmas
I’m not good at thinking up clever ideas, but when my guild lady-friends gave me the responsibility for our basket this year, I vowed to make a good try.  I spent days in anxious thought and a basketful of “reading” was my solution.
My immediate problem was not knowing the reader’s choice of literature, but then I remembered my childhood experiences with books.  My parents were not readers, but thank God for an older sister who told me stories.  At five we entered school and I was reading in a few months.  The one-room schoolhouse I attended (common in rural communities) had no library, so I raced through the graded readers as fast as possible.  I do remember Dick and Jane but they were present only fleetingly. 
To provide supplemental reading for students, the library in a nearby city developed a “book trunk” program, whereby the school would receive a full trunk of 75-100 books a month and students were given certificates for each five or ten books read.  Perhaps that is where I learned to love books of all kinds and levels of difficulty, for I read all the books in the trunk and pridefully indicated to the teacher when it was time to get a new trunk.  It was just such an occasion that led to the only sarcastic response I ever received from that teacher, a mild but memorable event.
I loved reading.  I hid under the bed covers with a flashlight to read late at night.  Books helped me through a long and serious illness during my teen years.  They relieved anxiety and invariably I tore into a thick novel two days before finals every semester.  I read self-help books through my troubled times, poetry books through my romance stages, historical fiction to spice up the boredom of factual accounts, and religious books to satisfy spiritual hunger.  I was a literature major and did post-graduate degrees in reading.  Odd that until I began to think of all this, I didn’t even know I was addicted to books!
Filling the “reading” basket was much more fun than I expected.  Although I don’t have a reading chair in the corner for myself, I think that is a great idea, so I began with a nice warm throw to throw over the lap or shoulders and some fuzzy socks to keep the feet warm.  I found a wonderful book of devotions, a lovely blank book with scriptures, and a book light. 
Since the basket was quickly favoring the female gender, I added the book Chocolat by Joanne Harris and a mug with hot chocolate and tea. A pretty package of chocolates included a gift certificate at the excellent used book store nearby.  At the last minute I threw in a CD of quiet music for relaxation and a sign that said “Shhh – I’m reading” on one side and “I’m reading, please join me” on the other.
The basket being complete, I sat down to admire it and suddenly remembered an article that appeared in the newspaper recently.  To avoid the pressure of consumerism this Christmas the author suggested that one limit giving to four items:
An item you want
An item you need
Something to wear
And something to read…………………

Maybe this is going to be a good gift giving season after all!  This was fun.

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