A trip to Chapters brings good reads to mind

Laurie Snider
Notes from the Nest

If you were to ask my husband and children, what one of the most frustrating things to do with me is, there is a pretty good chance they would tell you, it’s going on a trip to Chapters.

At the outset, there’s some kind of negotiation, about how much time we’ll spend there is involved. Then, I solemnly promise to appear at the agreed upon time and not hide down some shadowy isle, blissfully perusing titles, completely oblivious of the time.

Books are a passion of mine. Upon entering a book store, its as if I go into a trance, transfixed by an abundance of titles to scrutinize. For the most part, its not to buy, just to skim, scour and analyse. I like to take my time, see what’s out there. What are the latest topics of interest? Are there any new works by favourite authors? This, is how I inevitably lose track of the time, leaving family members somewhat exasperated, as more often then not, I fail to meet our timeline.

I’ve always loved reading and being read to. As a child, I have fond memories of my siblings and I coming home for lunch and Mom reading to us, as we scarfed down a grilled cheese. This was a tradition that Randy and I continued with our children, at bedtime. I shared the likes of E.B. White, J.R.R. Tolkien, “Anne of Green Gables” and “Harry Potter”, while Randy handled “Narnia,” “The Screech Owls,” “Goosebumps” and “The Hardy Boys.”

Reading to our kids, was one of the most pleasant parts of parenting. Everyone was snuggled up in pajamas, slipping into another world, sharing some giggles or holding our breath in anticipation, as we waited for the next chapter. “Sorry guys. Time for bed.”

Both Randy and I are avid readers, for pleasure and enlightenment. We often share well-loved volumes. Two of our favourite authors are Bill Bryson and Terry Fallis. Bryson is a gifted writer, with a masterful grasp of the English language and a knack for using it to great effect. He’s also laugh-out-loud hilarious!

Our first introduction with Bryson, was his New York Times bestseller, A Walk in the Woods. Years ago, on one of my forays into Chapters, I spied it and purchased it, as a birthday gift for Randy. I can still picture him on vacation, perched on a lawn chair, toes in the water, busting-a-gut, while reading the antics of Bryson, his disheveled friend Katz and a meddler named Mary Ellen, as they hiked the Appalachian trial.  Since then, we’ve devoured most everything he’s written. He never fails to inform and entertain.

Canadian author Fallis, is another side-splitting humourist, with impeccable comic timing and wit. His first novel, The Best Laid Plans, a satirical take on Canadian politics, became a bestseller and went on to win the prestigious, Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.  Fallis, writes likeable characters that you can’t help rooting for and wished you knew. His books, always make it to the top of our reading pile. 

There are so many different genres of books to choose from, literally (pun intended) one to suit every conceivable taste. We all have our preferences and cherished choices. Our selections are a reflection of our character, while also helping to shape them. My lifetime fondness for reading has enriched, informed, motivated, comforted and entertained me.

My affection for rural life and animals, was enhanced as a teen, when I read the enchanting series, “All Creatures Great and Small,” by James Herriot, a veterinarian, in the Yorkshire dales. Canadian author Sharon Butala’s, Perfection of the Morning, led me on a journey, both physically and spiritually of the Prairie grasslands. Susan Branch’s positive energy, cheerful disposition and joyful watercolour illustrations, inspire me.

I had to wait all the way until page 450, in beloved author Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, to finally profess their love for each other. Who wouldn’t be smitten by all the vexing language, romantic subtilties and reading between the lines? It was worth the wait! Their declared ardor for each other, was finally out in the open. It was enthralling! This is why the story, first published in 1813, never goes out of print.

When I need a lift and a smile, I go to Mitford, a fictional town, created by author Jan Karon. It’s a lovely little place, much like Napanee, with endearing characters, led by the affable Father Tim. My copies are dogged eared and worn, from rereading. I like to visit there often.

Books are meant to transport us, for a few minutes or a few hours, as they transmit the messages, the author wishes to convey. Is it any wonder, I get lost at Chapters!

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