I know many people—especially students on break from the school year—will try a reading challenge to make their summer reading time more interesting. There are a million of them out there. You can google to find one or join the Frisco Library Friends group reading challenge, opens a new window that is running right now. I’ve decided to try one of my own making—a Tribute Challenge. I’m going to read some books that were important to loved ones I’ve lost, in honor of them and my memories of them.
One of the people I’m honoring with my reading challenge was a long-time family friend who was a very important part of my life, especially my childhood. Her name was Jeannie and she died at the age of 93 this past January. She loved to read and had a big influence over my love of reading. We spent many days together doing all kinds of fun things like fishing, swimming, playing games, and reading! I’ve started reading a mystery series by Anne Perry, opens a new window because she told me many times how much she loved her writing and books. It has helped me still feel close to her even though she is gone.
The other person I plan on reading in tribute for is my mom. She is still around but suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. Over the last few years, she has slowly lost the ability to read anything longer than a short news article. She was probably the biggest influence on me as a reader. I have many memories of her reading to me, taking me to the library, and as I got older, taking me to the bookstore to stock up when I was running low on things to read. I really miss being able to talk books with her—to have that back and forth that we used to do either on the phone or when we got to spend some time together. We loved recommending books to each other! I still have a few books that she gave to me the year before her diagnosis that have notes from her about why I should read them and what she liked about them. I have been saving them, savoring the idea of reading them. It makes me feel like we are still reading together in a way.
My reading challenge this summer is going to be extra-special to me. I’m so lucky to have had great readers in my life. I hope reading their favorite books will make me feel even closer to them than I already do.