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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Sunday, March 9, 2014

On books and attention spans

Awwww ... aren't Tabby and Solomon cute with their big smiles?  My main motivation for posting this picture though, is to point out the woefully small bookshelves in the background. 

Our house is overflowing with books.  We have bookshelves in every room of this house (including hallways) except for the kitchen and two bathrooms.  Before we moved here I donated several boxes of books and since then have regretted it several times.  Now I don't want to get rid of any more books.  And we still keep buying them.

So we decided on a new project - to build several floor to ceiling bookcases in our living room.  I'm excited!  I remember when my dad helped me build a little bookshelf when I was about Tabby's age.  I still have the shelf. 

I have loved reading ever since I was little.  (I was obsessed with Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Sherlock Holmes.)  I remember my brother P. used to wear pants or shorts with huge pockets so he could carry a book in them.  Everyone in my family loves to read.  Tabby goes through books at breakneck speeds.  Solomon will sit for long periods of time with us reading him books.  Hunter is moving quickly through his readers for school.  (As an aside, I was using the Sing, Spell, Read and Write program with him - that one worked great for Tabby - but Hunter recently said he couldn't stand the readers because they were "so unrealistic."  So I switched him to the original McGuffey readers from the 1800s much to his delight.)

You may be thinking I should "just get a kindle."  Well I may be forced to at some point, so I can read e-books and such on them.  But I am "old-fashioned."  I love the feel of a book in my hands.  I love that I can just PICK IT UP and read.  I don't have to plug it in and keep it charged.  :)  I can write in them, put sticky notes on the pages, and breathe in that book smell.

Last year I decided to write down the titles of all the books I read during the year into a notebook.  On January 1 (of this year) I counted them all up.  My grand total was 63 books.  That was rather satisfying.  :)

Tabby playing at a piano recital - December 2013
Yesterday I took Tabby to Meredith College to participate in a piano competition called Federation.  She played songs by memory and also hymns in front of judges and took a written theory exam.  I knew I'd be waiting around some so I took ... a book.

It was bonus reading time - getting to sit in the hallway in the music building and reading.  At one point though, I looked down the hall and observed the many parents and the other kids waiting for their turn to play piano.  Other than some kids looking at their music or staring into space, every other person was tapping away on their cell phones.  I suddenly felt rather out of place with my book.

That then made me reflect on things I've read in the past few months.  (Such as articles like this: "Is Google Making Us Stupid"?)  How frequent computer usage is changing the way our brains think.  How people have a hard time concentrating on things for more than a few minutes at a time.  How fewer and fewer people are reading a whole book through.

I know that MY attention span has changed.  At least when I'm sitting at the computer.  I want to jump from here to there.  Anything that is long I think "I don't have time for this!"  (Are you thinking that right now reading this blog post?!)  My husband sent me a 6 minute video to watch last week and I shamefully still have not watched it.  I keep thinking "I don't have 6 minutes to spare!"


I won't blame Google for it all though.  I think my kids play their part.  It seems I can rarely be working at anything for more than a few minutes when someone interrupts me.  ;)

Hmmm ... what book should we chew up? I mean read!
Last week, Hunter and I read a fascinating article in Our State magazine about North Carolina State University's Library and their "librarian."  The librarian is a "bookBot."  That is a robot.  If you want a book, you "order" it on a computer and then this robot fetches the book for you.  (See picture.)  It only takes about 5 minutes!

Uh.  Why?

It's so much quicker (and cheaper!) to just grab a book off the shelf, isn't it?  And what about if you want to compare several books on the same subject to see which one to take?  What about the fun of browsing and finding books you didn't know existed?  And just what if the bookBot is broken??!!

Broken bookBot means I don't get my dump truck book, right?
Ah me ... Did you know what the wisest man to ever live - King Solomon - said about books?

". . . the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body."  - Ecclesiastes 12:12


  1. I love books also!!! Although I did not accomplish as many as you by far:) We have the same problem with book storage, but like you I do not like the kindles. I have asked my husband to make bookshelves but there still not done:/ it would be awesome for you to post more about the books you read I'm always looking for a new good book to read!!!

    1. Great idea Tesha - I will try and post a list of what books I have read each month. I'll post what I've read so far this year, hopefully later this week. I confess I get much reading done while nursing. I am not sure I'll be able to read as much once I wean Solomon!

  2. Forgot to mention I love that picture of Solomon if he is such a cutie:)!