LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Warming up to a good book

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By Terri Likens, Editor

Today I will have the pleasure of spending the evening with a book club on River Road.

I’ve been looking forward to it since last November, when they originally asked me to join them for the session.

I enjoy talking about good books, hearing what everyone else is reading and sharing the ones I love best.

Recently, I temporarily swapped my copy of Edward Abbey’s classic Desert Solitaire for a friend’s copy of Ferrol Sams’ Run with the Horsemen.

My friend will be spending a week in Arizona soon, so I wanted — through the book — to immerse him in the desert environment I still love dearly.

He somehow knew I’d appreciate Sams’ Depression-era coming-of-age comic memoir, and he was right.

Every couple of evenings or so, we get on the phone and talk about where we are in the books.

It’s like our own little book club.

As regular readers know, I’m more likely to talk about books and reading in the summertime.

I guess that’s because I read so ravensously during my childhood summers.

I often read an adult-length book a day, and sometimes got well into another one before calling it quits at night.

In my younger adulthood, some books were so good that — even mid-workweek — I stayed up all night to finish them.

It’s been a while since I’ve done that.

The last time involved John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil after I first started my job here in 2002.

I realized, as I stumbled through the following work day, that I no longer have the stamina and concentration to pull off that kind of marathon reading — not if I expect to earn a paycheck.

I continue to push the limits with my nighttime reading, but try to put down whatever I am reading by 12:30 or 1 a.m.

I lamented last year that I had not been reading enough lately, and I’ve really been trying to make up for it.

While winter isn’t my traditional reading season, I’m discovering that a good book is a great way to escape the gray and gloom that has been hanging about this January.

My shelves are stocked with plenty of yet-to-be-read offerings.

I have  books on Native American history, bestsellers, mysteries, classics, biographies and more.

But I’ll probably turn back to my friend for my next two books: The Whisper of the River and When All the World was Young. Those complete the trilogy that was launched with Run with the Horsemen.

Besides, who can think about the dreariness of winter and her own cares while wondering what kind of trouble Porter “Sambo” Osborne Jr.  finds himself in next?