The Magic of Books

quiet readingI love to read. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that books are a significant part of my happiness in life.

When I was growing up, books were sometimes my only friends. I was a painfully shy young child and didn’t hang out with other kids my age. More often than not, they were out getting into trouble or doing things that even then I thought would probably not add value to my future life plans. When I became a teenager, those thoughts didn’t change much. In fact, I became even more of a bibliophile; it seemed to be the smartest thing to do. While many of my fellow students were either getting into trouble, protesting the (Vietnam) war (which Mom wouldn’t let me do), experimenting with drugs, “dating” wink wink, or other questionable behaviors, I could often be found at the library or book store.

When I became an adult, my reading habit continued. In fact, I passed my love of reading and the language to my children. For the most part, it worked; they read regularly, as do my grandchildren.

A great part of my career was spent in an academic library environment. While there, my children had a constant source of reference materials for any school assignments that they may have had. There, they were introduced to the world of research, microfiche, academic journals, and innumerable monographs, magazines, and newspapers. The world of the academic library is very, very different from the local public library.

ScreenshotI loved it. In fact, I have no doubt that I would still be there if I hadn’t had a great opportunity here in Las Vegas. When I came to Vegas, however, no amount of jumping through hoops could get me an equivalent position in a library anywhere in the greater Las Vegas Valley. At least not one that could help pay the bills!

Now that I am older and am in a world of high tech, my desire to read hasn’t changed one whit. What has changed, however, is the mode in which I read my books.

Over the course of the last few months, I have read well over a dozen and a half books. However, only a couple of them – usually of the study variety – have involved actual books with covers and paper and ink.

Today’s world of easily available audible books has touched my bibliophilic soul.

I’m a long-term subscriber to a service called which is a subsidiary of Amazon. Over the course of the last few months, I’ve “read” many books while using their service.

There were books about one of my favorite passions, public speaking. I “read” Stand and Deliver, TED Talk Secrets, The Art of Storytelling, and Public Speaking Magic, among others. I’m a club officer and Area Director in Toastmasters International, and these books have been key to advancing me in the organization and I love it.

I “read” books about health, which, unfortunately, were few and far between. The fact that my waistline has more or less disappeared in a pile of zaftig, prove that the reading that I *have* done, I haven’t necessarily put into practice.

In Their Own Voices

listening booksSeriously, however, the books that I’ve loved have been chef autobiographies, which I’ve found completely fascinating.

For instance.

Marcus Samuelsson’s autobiography, Yes Chef, is comprehensive and enthralling. What makes it feel genuine is that he narrates his life story himself.

In fact, it’s the self-narration that makes the autobiographies so interesting. I find that I’m more likely to pay attention when I’m hearing the chef’s own voice than I may have been if reading it. One of the reasons for emojis is because sometimes the written word may lose something in translation; however, the voice reflects the emotions much more accurately.

The same goes for the abridged version of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s autobiography, Humble Pie. While mykindlecoffee view of Chef Ramsay hadn’t necessarily been a positive one prior to reading the book, my attitude changed a lot after I did.

While the narration by chefs who are currently active is terrific, I was concerned when I purchased “My Life in France,” an autobiography by Julia Child that was finished after her death. I was afraid that I’d be listening for hours to someone mimicking Julia’s famous trilling voice, but I needn’t have worried. The narrator, Kimberly Farr, did an excellent job and didn’t “do Julia” at all even though the entire book was in the first person.

Lovely. My ears thank her.

Now for the Wine!

books wineNow I wouldn’t be me without having enjoyed some books about wine, right?

The wine books varied in quality from pretty good to excellent. There was one that made me doubt my own intelligence. I wish I’d paid more attention in chemistry class!

Wine Drinking for Inspired Thinking by Michael J. Gelb; A Natural History of Wine by Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle (this was the brain-taxing one); Hungry for Wine by by Cathy Hughe; and Wine Journeys: Myth and History by Patrick Hunt were just some of the wine books that I’ve tackled so far this year.

My only gripe about the wine books is that the big study books, such as Oxford Companion to Wine and The Wine Bible aren’t “on tape” just yet. If they never make it, I can certainly understand. They are long and some of the reading can be, um, *soothing*!

Then again, there’s always Kindle…


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