Wednesday, August 5, 2009

To Delve Into the Forbidden

When talking with friend and fellow writer Michelle McLean today, she made a comment that got me thinking. It went something like (but not exactly like) this:

"The reason I have to wear glasses is from all the hours spent reading books with a flashlight."

When I was a tweenager, I'd hide in the linen closet with my two little sisters (who made beds in the blankets on the high shelves) and read aloud to them by the light of a flashlight (torch for all of you UKers). The books we read were Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's witch books--forbidden reading for my younger sisters.

Then came the year that I lived with my Aunt. Ten o'clock sharp was lights out or die! At least, I thought she'd kill me if I didn't turn the light out. When she pounded the ten o'clock warning on my closed bedroom door, I'd turn off the bedside lamp and flip on the electric blanket no matter that it was the middle of summer. Why the electric blanket? It had a microscopic orange light on it, just bright enough that if I moved it along each individual line of the book, I could read! I hunkered down into the wee hours of the morning with the likes of "Clan of the Cave Bear," "The Hobbit," and "The Hero and the Crown."

And yes. I, too, wear glasses.

Anyhow, the point I am trying to make is:

What lengths have you gone to to read?
What rules have you broken?
Where did you have to hide to delve into the forbidden?


28 comments:

Yunaleska said...

I used to wake up early in the mornings (half four, five am) to get extra reading in before school :) Now I enjoy the sleep!

When I'm alone in the house I read while I'm eating meals.

Yamile said...

My babies have one of those lamps with three brightness settings. I turn on the dimmest setting, and read until they fall asleep. If the light keeps them awake, I stand by the window and read by the outside light. Except when it's a scary book. In that case I just use my iphone's light. I have VERY poor eyesight. years and years of abuse all in the name of addiction: reading.

Lost Wanderer said...

I used to and still do read everywhere, including at mealtimes. That used to annoy my mom, especially because it encouraged my young sister and my cousins to read at dining table too.

I read as I walk to, much to the amusement of my colleagues who see me walking to work, reading and ask me how can I manage that.

Jessica said...

Did the same thing! LOL Got caught too, but not in trouble. :-) Now, for the forbidden books I was a little more of a scaredy cat. Didn't read those unless no one was around. :-)

Jamie D. said...

So that's why my eyesight sucks. And here I thought it was genetics. ;-)

My mom used to sit on the floor in the hall outside the room I shared with my sister, reading a book to make sure *we* were going to sleep instead of reading or talking. As soon as I got my own room, I'd "go to bed" then turn the lamp back on and read until I finished the book. Whatever book that happened to be.

What I used to get in trouble for was taking books to family events (BBQs, parties, reunions, holidays). Because it was a time to be social, and well...I wasn't. I preferred to ignore the family members I hardly ever saw, and get lost in a book. My parents were constantly telling me to stop being rude and put the book away.

I still would prefer a book to a family gathering, actually - I'm still not very social. Now I read on my PDA - much easier to sneak a few lines here and there. :-)

Suzette Saxton said...

Glasses, of course! Forbidden reading, definitely!

We just introduced my 6yo to the Harry Potter series. She fell in love and read the first three books in three days. We asked her to stop there for a year or two (mature content in book four - Cedric Diggory dying etc.) and she agreed. And then she began disappearing "for naps" for an hour or two at a time...

You guessed it. She was keeping a battered old copy of book four uner her pillow.

Suzanne said...

I used to read everywhere. At the kitchen table, at restaurants in cars and while walking. My mother yelled at me all the time "Put down that book!" I can remember saying "Only two more pages?"

Memories. Thanks Suzy!

JStantonChandler said...

I always have a book with me. Even if I'm running errands with my husband. If there's somewhere he has to go that I don't particularly need to, I'll pull out the book and sit in the Jeep until he's finished.

The only books I've ever had to hide were the Harry Potter books and that's just because right now my husband and I live with my inlaws. When we move out, those books are on the shelves with all my other "questionable" literature!

~Jen

Michelle McLean said...

LOL good to know I'm not alone! Like the others, I still carry books everywhere with me; on errands so I can stay in the car and read while my husband grabs a gallon of milk, at mealtimes, waiting for my super slow computer to boot up...anytime and anywhere I can.

When I was single, I'd stay up until 4 in the morning reading. Being a wife and mother has crimped that habit a bit, but I still devour as many books as I can.

And now my 4 yr old daughter falls asleep clutching a favorite book like a teddy bear and my 6 yr old son has started turning the lights back on to read. Or he'll sit in the doorway of his room, reading by the light of the hallway nightlight. When I catch him, I let him go back in his room with the light on :) Who am I to judge? And I certainly can't bring myself to punish him for it. After all, he probably got that particular gene from me ;-D Actually makes me proud instead of angry :D

B.J. Anderson said...

Lol, I never had to hide because my mom didn't care if I read at night. I used a flashlight as well, and when I got older I even had a book light (and by that time I usually just stayed up late with the lights on). And yes, I wear glasses, too.

Bethany Wiggins said...

I forgot to add one... If I am reading something so awesome that I feel like my heart is being torn out of me if I stop reading, I will take it in the car with me (when I am driving) and read it at red lights. I have had more than one car give me that polite *honk* .

Thanks for all the responses! I feel loved.

Tess said...

I used to work in an insurance office and would read by hiding the book in my top desk drawer...when anyone came by my cubbie, I'd quickly slam the drawer shut and pretend I was just getting a pencil. Ah, those good old days of deceipt....

Suzette Saxton said...

Oooo, I have a new one! Last night the kids and I were at a lovely but rather long outdoor pageant. I had Stephen King's shorty story collection Night Shift with me and was in the middle of "The Last Rung" when dusk turned to darkness.

I was dying to find out if Kittie fell to her death from the top loft of the barn. (The entire ladder fell away beneath her, leaving her hanging on the last rung.)

Enter glowie bracelets. My son brought a bunch to my daughters, and green glowed the brightest - bright enough to light up one full line of text. Line by line I slid the glowstick over the text until I'd read the whole story.

Stephanie said...

Hi Suzette-
I loved your stories. My mother was an avid almost rabid reader so I never really had to hunker down to hide and read. Broken rules-hmmm...I am Catholic school girl so compliance is my middle name so I'd have to think about that one too.
Great questions and thank you for following my blog and I love your updates on Fbook too!
xo Stephanie

Kat said...

I totally used to read with a flashlight too! I never had to hide to find a place to read, but I actually sit in my closet with my laptop to write. It forces me to not get distracted. I'm a fan of booklights too. But those might be the reason I (also) wear reading glasses...

The Kid In The Front Row said...

I remember one time when I was out with a girl, and we were having a great time-- but i got a text, which i figured was from this OTHER girl, who to be honest; i kind of liked. and it was very tricky, i didn't want to be rude to the girl i was with, but i really had to read that text. eventually, i did-- exactly as the girl i was with ordered some more wine.

that's the lengths i go to read....

Lilly Jones said...

Hello all,
This was funny and unleashed memories from long ago. Yep, in a UK boarding school I'd be reading long after "lights out". And whenever we were caught by a house mistress who'd open the door suddenly to check on us, we'd relocate to the bathrooms with our torch lights. For some reason, it was imperative that I finish the novel I was reading on those nights ... or else my life might be incomplete, or the world might have come to an end? Lol!

Thanks for evoking such fond memories. Enjoy the rest of your week.
LJ

Rhapsody B. said...

Blessings....
Well nothing that exciting for me, I pretty much read what I wanted. Oh! wait thats not true! While i could read anything i wanted, Until i happened upon my uncle's stach of porn, of course as a kid I was clueless, didn't know what it was or why it was hidden away but I was curious yet I instinctively knew it was forbidden, which made it more the intriging to see what is it that had the adults so fascinated, why they go through all the trouble to put the books there and not where all the other books go, what made these special? I had to find out. So when the opportunity presented itself I peeked and saw and never peeked again because i was too afraid of getting caught....was a bit confused though for a while i couldn't figure out why people would take pictures of their selves that way, till i was old enough to make sense of all the madness...

wow...I think that was a TMI

Mandy said...

Great post Bethany!

I STILL have to sneak around to read. For some reason my family feels like books are my "other family" and they've even hidden the book I'm reading to keep my attention focused on them. (A little melodramatic if you ask me) I get up super early, in the middle of the night to read. I read in the bathroom, at the bus stop, and in my car at the post office. I sneak in a sentence or two anywhere and anytime I can!

Jen H said...

I, personally, was never in danger of getting in trouble while reading as a kid.
But this totally makes me think of Tad, my 9 year old son. I have recently been finding his book underneith Eli, my 3 year olds crib. At first I thought it was Eli getting into Tads stuff.
Turns out, Tad has been crawling under the crib (they share a room) at night to read by the blue glow of the nightlight!
He will stay up until 1am some nights! crazy kid...but, as long as its summer I actually don't mind it; when school starts there will be some rules enforced-maybe.

Angela said...

t image there--you reading under the glow of the electric blanket switch. Score one for you!

lizB said...

LOL

Great visuals, Suze. I did that too with WPB's The Exorcist. Scared the heck out of myself. Couldn't sleep for MONTHS!

Liz

Shelli said...

i read in bed. I have a hard time reading any other place - dont know why :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Gee, I don't remember breaking any rules as a kid when it came to reading. My parent's were just thrilled to have me read at all.

Now I'm bad for reading all the time. I'll stay up past 11 pm (I get up at 5 am) just to get in one more chapter. Whenever my kids aren't looking, I sneak off to read. If I'm lucky I'll get in a few pages. And when my husband drives . . . Well let's just say tomorrow I'm going to get in eight solid hours of reading. :D (Thank goodness for portable DVD players to keep the kids entertained)

Cynthia said...

I purchased a tiny lamp with my
allowance - Mom was so happy
thinking I was taking an interest
in decorating - ha! It was all
about reading into 2 or 3 in the
morning. As a preteen my favorites
were William Faulkner, Christina
Rossetti, Mystery novels and
short stories about any woman
in Paris.

Amy Tate said...

Oh I love this post! You know, I've never outgrown reading by flashlight. As corny as this sounds, I still do it. My husband hates it when I don't come to bed at the same time as he does. I know... he's spoiled rotten! Anyway, I was into a book not long ago that I just couldn't put down, so I bought one of those book lights from Barnes and Noble. I just love that gadget! Now if I could only do something about the hubby's snoring, I'd be good to go.

K.M. Weiland said...

Reading with the light from an electric blanket! That's classic! When I was young, I clearly remember locking myself in the bathroom to read and carrying my book with me to the supper table. I even found a little device at a garage sale that allowed me to prop a book open on the table, so that I would have my hands free to eat while I read!

Suzette Saxton said...

I'm just reading all your stories again and loving them - what fun! And what great lengths we go to to read.