In late January, I won the book drawing at the library. The clue was A M G T D what A M G T D. I love word puzzles, and I had stood staring at the thing for a couple minutes before the answer came to me (in John Wayne’s voice, no less). “A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.” I filled out my slip and dropped it in the can and thought no more about it.

Then I received the word that I had won. I could come in and pick out my book at my convenience. I should probably feel a little foolish about how excited I get about something like this, but it truly did make my day. It feels luxurious to take my time looking through brand new books, making a careful choice.

On the way out the door, I paused in front of the new word puzzle. P G before A F. The shortest ones are always more difficult for me. It took me a few minutes of hard thinking but I finally came up with ‘pride goeth before a fall’. I wrote my solution down and dropped it in the can and then my new book and I headed home.

Sometimes when I read a book that has received a lot of press, a best seller, I am disappointed, and have a hard time figuring out what all the hubbub was about, so I began J. K. Rowling’s first attempt at adult literature a bit tentatively but was soon engrossed. ‘A Casual Vacancy’ was very good.

Is there anything at all more wonderful than being in the middle of a really good book? It’s great motivation; the knowledge that there is an excellent book sitting on my bedside table gets me through mundane household chores like nothing else. Because Tim and I work opposite shifts, I can curl up in bed and feel no guilt at all about reading until I am drowsy and ready for sleep. At least during the week, anyway.

Ol’ J.K. provided me with four days of very good reading. However that book triggered something, and I have once again become a voracious reader, returning to my childhood habits. When I was a kid, I read 4 or 5 books a week. It didn’t matter what they were, if they were within reach, I read them. No one ever told me that I couldn’t, or that I shouldn’t, so I read to my heart’s content.

When I grew up and had children of my own, it was important to me that they become readers too. We read books from the time that they were old enough to sit still for them, and they loved sprawling on my bed to listen. We read plenty of the regular kids books that take five or ten minutes to read, but we also read regular ‘Winnie the Pooh’ or ‘The Wind in the Willows’ or ‘Peter Pan’ or the Little House books. We always read a chapter or two before they went to bed. I enjoyed our reading time just as much as they did.

I began to collect books for William almost as soon as he was born, imagining the day that he would sit on my lap to hear stories. I’m happy to say that those days are here. He has an extensive collection of books here at his grandparent’s house. I remember reading the Dr. Seuss books to his mother and to his aunt and uncle too, and there is big time joy in reading those books once again to a small boy fresh from his bath, curled up on my lap in his footy jammies.

I also have the great pleasure of reading to a group of kidlets who are not my own, but plenty dear to my heart anyway. Thanks to them, I am rediscovering the wonderful world of children’s literature. There’s Splat the Cat, who’s a goofy little child-cat full of insecurities. There’s wonderful Pete the Cat, with his zen approach to life (It’s all good). Eric Carle’s books about bugs are great fun, and I have discovered that I can still do a very good imitation of Grover the Monster after all these years, and “The Monster at the End of the Book” is a classroom favorite.

Books. I’ve dived back in and the water’s fine! As I begin once again to accumulate new books, I’m forced to make decisions. I have to get rid of a not-so-good book to make room for a new book. Even that’s a little bit exciting to imagine the day when all the books there will be beloved favorites. I read on my tablet, but quite honestly, my tablet will never, ever replace the heft of a book in my hands.

Imagine my surprise when I got a call just a couple weeks ago. Remember P G before A F? I won that one too. I imagine that the freezing weather kept a lot of my competition away from the library, but still, I was plenty excited about winning again. I went to the library to pick my book that very night.

The previous month, I’d been torn between two books. I waffled back and forth before ultimately choosing the J.K. Rowling novel. My second choice was right there on the cart waiting for me and I gave an excited little exclamation that made the librarian laugh.

Clutching ‘The Aviator’s Wife’, I walked back out. There was that can. The clue this month was W T L T H. I studied it for a moment, and then, eureka! I had the answer. I took the slip of paper and I quickly wrote down the answer. And nope. I’m not giving any clues at allthere is another book on that cart that caught my eye!