It Was Like Being a Little Kid Again

This past week was Fall Break at my school, which meant no classes for the week.

Usually, it’s a week I use to get caught up on things at school such as grading and prepping for upcoming classes. But I was able to take care of most of that before the week began, so that it would free up some time during the week to do some reading.

And so that’s what I did.

The first book was pure happenstance. One of my car tires had a screw stuck in it, so I brought it to a local tire place. They told me they would be able to get to it in about an hour to an hour and a half, so I walked to a nearby McDonald’s and I ordered a coffee and sat down at one of the tables. The first thing I did, naturally, was to check my WordPress stats. After doing that, I still had potentially an 80-minute wait for my car.

So I decided to log onto the local library website and see if there were any good books to download. Surprisingly, a recent Grisham novel was available immediately, so I downloaded it to my phone and was reading it within two minutes. The book, Camino Winds, is the second Grisham book set on Camino Island. Like I have found with all of his books, I was hooked by the end of the first page, and had it finished within a day. It was an enjoyable read.

The second book was also somewhat of a surprise. My wife had put my name on the waiting list for Stephen King’s latest novel, Billy Summers. I thought it would be a few months before I got to the top of the list, but then she told me that she had gotten a notice from the library that the book was in.

I think it is only the second Stephen King novel I have read, having read Under the Dome this summer. But like Grisham, King seems to have the ability to get the reader hooked quickly. I thought the book was a real page-turner, and I could not put it down. Two nights in a row I went to bed and used the light from my iPhone to read the book. It brought me back to my childhood and reading under the covers with a flashlight.

I finished the book in two days, and I am sure part of the reason for getting through it so quickly was the desire to finish it before I start back to teaching on Monday. The fact that the book was so good made it easy to want to keep reading it every spare moment I had.

So when I look back on this week, it was a productive one: a few Zoom meetings, getting some schoolwork done, and the best part, reading two good books.

I’m already thinking about what book(s) to read when the semester is over…

*image from Wallpaper Flare

80 thoughts on “It Was Like Being a Little Kid Again

  1. When I read that it would take an hour-and-a-half to repair your flat, I figured you were screwed. But you never tired of your wait, and tread through this ordeal without your spirit deflating. That’s better than many people, who have the attitude of “my way or the highway.”

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    1. you were in a creative mood last night! the best part about the tire repair was that there was no charge since all they had to was pull the screw out, no damage. So instead of being like a highway to hell, it was more like a stairway to heaven…

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  2. Oh I can recommend all sorts of books, including in that kind of genre. I can give you a reading list that would put any English teacher to shame! I also saw that the first comment on your page (by the view on my app) was the suggestion of War and Peace. That was a hefty read for sure. It doesn’t have to wait until retirement though. It took me a month while working full time in a physically and mentally taxing job. But, honesty is required here: it would have probably taken me 3 months if I read it purely based on engagement with the material alone. It’s written well, but a little dry for me. But, at the time, Puff was alive (my dog). He wasn’t truly sick in any way at that point, he would just get bladder stones after he turned 10. He had a surgery to remove a huge one that was going to splinter and cause a lot of pain, but some of the smaller bits had already travelled and couldn’t be easily removed without a long rehabilitation and I wouldn’t do that to him. So every so often, he would have to pass a bit of it. If we were all lucky, he would pass it within 12 hours of the onset of discomfort. Sometimes we were not nearly as lucky. This particular time it took 7 days for it to pass. After 20 hours I was kn the phone with the vet and they gave me pain pills for him. 2 facts are unavoidably true: when puff was in pain, he never left my side so I could take care of him; when puff was in pain pills and a bit loopy, he never left my side so I could take care of him. He trusted my ex completely, and when I was at work, he’d follow him around like a shadow, but once I got home, all bets were off. (All of my dogs, and my cat were that way). He was in pain and I would give him his pain pill. He wanted to sit in my lap at all times for me to let him and talk to him so he could rest (such a thoughtful critter). If I stopped talking or petting him, even just to stretch a little in a way specific not to wake him, his eyes would pop open, he’d make pitiful eyes at me and start panting. After 2 days of this with minimal sleep, I actually ran out of things to babble about. All I wanted to do was lay down and read, so I made him a deal. I would be able to finally lay down, in exchange he could lay on my body pillow and me in the most uncomfortable way for me he could find, and I would read my book out loud to him. I read 3/4 of War and Peace out loud to my dog and cat. Puff enjoyed the attention and Gryffin (the cat) truly seemed to think it was a literary masterpiece and couldn’t get enough of it. When that book was cracked open, he could be in the other room eating and he would stop and bolt to where we were to perch near us and listen. I read other books to Puff for the same reasons, Gryffin never cared about any of them after 5 minutes. He didn’t miss a syllable of War and Peace. It actually made it more engaging for me too. If I realized I was confused about something, instead of just closing the book and going to sleep and figuring it out the next night, I would go back and figure out what was confusing me. I would work it out with Gryffin because Puff would be happily snoring as long as my vocal chords were working, and ex was avoiding all three of us so he could sleep. So together, my cat and I read War and Peace and made sense of the entire book while my dog and ex slept through it all 🤣😂

    So you don’t have to wait for retirement, just make sure you’re willing to devote a few months to a specific book. I am a voracious reader, and I multi read, so that book could have taken about 3-ish months or so for me to finish. I was able to read 1/4 of it in about 3 weeks time, and then the rest in one week. I would suggest taking your time unless you have a demanding 18 lb K-9 throwing pitiful eyes at you. Then give in and read it to him. It helps.

    I read all of Stephen King’s The Green Mile in 3 days once. I had already read it and it took like 5 months (he only released a mini book a month for the initial release and the final release was all of the books in one which he never announced). A few years back I decided to reread them and Gryffin got sick. He was being dramatic though, I took him to the vet and he pooped in his carrier to punish me for caring, tried to run away from the nurse and get out of his halter to get away, and tried to bite the doctors’ stethoscope while she was trying to hear his heart beat. He eventually decided that he wouldn’t win that way and decided to turn his purr on full blast. He was a pretty big cat, teeny meow but HUGE purr. She actually yanked her head back because it was too loud in the stethoscope. She kept trying, he kept getting louder because he knew he was winning. After a day of stinky cat poop in the carrier, a hissing cat in the car, a vet bill, and a punishment puke in a shoe, I had the pleasure of announcing that Gryffin had a teeny cold. No medication given! If it didn’t clear up in 3 days, then she would order a round of antibiotics, but there’s no reason to fight a cat regarding pills if there’s no reason to – vets words. But he wasn’t feeling well. When Puff didn’t feel well, he got read to. So Gryffin dragged himself as pitifully as he could onto my lap, looked me dead in the eye and sneezed in my face as dramatically as he could. Then settled in for the long-haul. I read all of The Green Mile to him. It took three days because despite his belief that life should stop because he had the sniffles, I still had to go to work. The last day, he didn’t even sneeze once, but he was happy, not tormenting Puff, and I was enjoying the rereading of a good story. When it was over, he looked at me like “I didn’t say you could stop” and when he realized the book was over, he jumped out of my lap, tore across the house and immediately jumped on Puff’s head.

    That was actually something a friend of mine used sarcastically recently. Her cat was sleeping on a couch and somehow fell off. She was taking a picture because the cat looked cute, but she always takes live pictures and she caught the cat falling. I cracked up and said something along the lines of her having three cats, not all of them can turn out smart, it’s the law of probabilities. She shot back that I have a skewed opinion of pets because most people focus on “sit” and “stay” and don’t train their animals to understand the Dewey Decimal System 🤣😂

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    1. I can’t imagine reading a book out loud to my dog, especially such lengthy books. Glad it seemed to do the trick though. I think I saw the movie The Green Mile.

      I was reading reviews of Billy Summers and it was funny how many people are upset with how often Trump gets dissed. So that led me to learn that King is a strong anti-Trumper…

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      1. Yes. He has been very vocal about it. Many people have been. Unfortunately, the pro trumpers seem to be ceaselessly vocal and have louder voices. But I respect King, always have. He has the imagination I wish I had.

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      2. It’s a clear gift. I req’d many authors, him included, and I’m always blown away at the level of extended attention they can pay to one story. They can take six months to a year to turn out a story that takes two days for me to read. It’s just amazing to me.

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      3. My phone always inexplicably changes “read” to “req’d” and I don’t know why. Well almost always. It didn’t right now in this comment. I think it’s the first time in about 6 months it didn’t change it, which is of course not what I wanted it to do 🙄

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      4. although I do blame some of my typos on some keys on my keyboard that are a bit sticky… although that’s my fault as well fro trying to type and eat at the same time 🙂


  3. One year we had this Secret Santa gig going on at school. The idea was to anonymously do a few nice things for the person whose name you drew. We had filled out these sheets ahead of time that told a bit about us so that the Secret Santa would have some clue about gestures that might be appreciated. As luck would have it, I found out my person was into John Grisham. I own many of his books and loaned her three to read over the holiday break. I made it clear it was a loan. After the break, she never returned, and I was out of three books.

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  4. Glad you made for a little “you” time during your break. I, too, find Grisham to be a compelling writer. He seems to always leave a dramatic moment or question at the end of his chapters where your curiosity tells your tired brain, “Just one more chapter”.

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  5. Well done, Jim, on getting so much reading done. I am very involved with a book called Regeneration by Pat Barker. It is all about a military mental hospital for soldiers during WW1. I do like Stephen King but I never enjoyed Under the Dome. Somehow, for me, it was too reminiscent of John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos.

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      1. Hi Jim, yes, it is a little off putting when you’ve read a book that may have been part of the inspiration for another book. Well, it is for me anyway. I read a lot of classics and often see how Mr King has been inspired by famous classics. Poe and Bram Stoker were clearly favourites of his too. And yes, Regeneration is partly research for the war sections of my new novel.

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      1. I’ve not read all of them but I got into a Grisham phase a while back and read a lot of them lol. I have definitely read some strange ones from King which made me avoid his books if they sound like they have a weird plot.

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  6. The best pastime isn’t it? Spending time being engrossed in a book regardless of what time! I miss that… I haven’t been able to get into a book in a long time.. Not at the fault of any writers but just the inability to let my mind quiet… *sigh… I find it’s getting harder and harder to hold my attention too… I should look into this lol

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  7. I love this! Going to bed with a flashlight to read a book is as good as it gets. Even as an adult, those times are as exciting and memorable as they were in childhood.

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