“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”
The world lost a great children’s storyteller today. Jan Berenstain, the second half of the great children’s series The Berenstain Bears, passed away today at the age of 88 — which is just six years shy of her late husband Stan’s death in 2005.
Stan and Jan met at art school, both 18 years old, and married five years later. Their first book in The Berenstain Bears collection was called The Big Honey Hunt and was published in 1962. Together, the couple wrote hundreds of Berenstain Bears books — and Jan continued to write and illustrate her books, along with her son Mike, until her death.
The outpour of sympathy for the Berenstain family has come from all around the world, and for good reason. The Berenstain Bears books have touched the hearts of children and parents alike, and everyone in between (including myself). This series was my all-time favourite children’s collection, and have many memorable and happy times reading the stories with my family members. In fact, my Naniji (grandma) bought me my first Berenstain Bears book.
According to The Huffington Post, Stan and Jan’s sons, Mike and Leo, will continue with the family business. I look forward to seeing what Mike’s drawings and imagination produces.
Jan Berenstain will be missed always, and I’m so glad she and her husband decided to start their beloved series 50 years ago. Without The Berenstain Bears, many children would not have the ideals and values they do today.
Rest in peace Jan Berenstain.
Scholastic has named its list of the 100 best children’s books, with the classic story Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White winning first prize. Take a look at the list and let me know what you think — these are the books I most agree with/have read:
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (my favourite novel when I was young!)
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (my favourite series of all time!)
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (Gilbert is one of my all time favourite crushes on characters!)
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
- Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
- Corduroy by Don Freeman
- The Little Engine That Could by George and Doris Hauman
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- The Mitten by Jan Brett
- The Runaway Bunny by Clement Hurd
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood (my favourite story when I was really young!)
- The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Of course, with every book list, there are those who disagree with some of the books. Like myself, The Guardian also thinks it inappropriate to include The Adventures of Captain Underpants in the list (ranking at #97), but entirely forgetting about Little House on the Prairie. I also wish they had included The Berenstain Bears in the list, as it’s probably one of the best collection of books for children. I loved to read when I was young, and many of the books on the list were my favourites (as you can tell from my list above), so I’m quite excited about a lot of the books mentioned.
What are some of your favourite children’s books and how do you feel about Scholastic’s list?
David Kracov is the artist who created this work of art. He’s extremely talented at working with metals and I know I’m not the only one in awe of his sculpture. Thank you Margy for sending this to me!
“There’s no doubt about it” — The Berenstain Bears were my absolute favourite picture books when I was young. I’ve got so many of their books, it’s ridiculous. Way more than what’s pictured in this picture above. I just love the lessons that are taught in these books. It’s so easy to relate to the stories because we’ve all been in at least one of the circumstances chronicled in the well-written children’s books.
What’s your favourite picture book?
I know you’ve been missing the Harry Potter posts, so here you go. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the book I’ve read the most is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Let’s put it this way: There have been 8 films that have hit the theatres and each time I see a new movie, I have to reread the entire series up until the book version of the movie I’m seeing. So that means I’ve read the first Harry Potter book at least eight times, and that’s not including all the other times I just read it for fun.
What book have you read the most?
This is just for kicks, because I honestly don’t know what the shortest “Adult” novel I’ve ever read is. So let’s just go with this chapter book. I read Gotta Dance in Grade 2, so you know how short it must be. The printing is large, the pictures larger. But still, I loved it. I grew up on The Berenstain Bears, so the books can do no wrong in my eyes. Guaranteed I’ll be raising my kids on this series.
What’s the shortest novel you’ve ever read?