Monday, February 18, 2008

Reading is a Together Thing

Sara's "Waiting for Stone Crossings"

I come from a family of readers. My mother sustained me through many a dark day as a child, by reading poem after narrative poem to my sister and I on the couch. My father will not give you an hour's peace before he once again picks up a newspaper or book and reads an excerpt to you. Even my paternal grandmother read huge volumes of The History of the World when she was in her seventies. And she would tell me all about what she was learning.

So imagine my surprise when my Littlest just didn't show an interest in reading. Or so I thought. It occurred to me one day that she is highly interested, as long as reading is a social activity. And then I realized she is not so different from my mother, my father, my grandmother. Reading is something they always shared. It was and is a time of bonding and affection, of sharing.

Which brings us to me. I belong to three book clubs. I love to read, but rarely finish a book unless it's one I'll end up sharing with someone. It is only natural that I would function the same way in regards to my own book, Stone Crossings. After all, as I recently told an interviewer who asked me why I love to write, "I don't love to write so much as I write to love."

No surprise then that I wanted to start a Stone Crossings book club wiki where readers who desire to go beyond the opportunity to comment can really join the club by bringing themselves more fully into the sharing process.

As you may know, a wiki allows everyone to post, not just the wiki-master. So if you visit the new wiki right now, you'll see that this has already begun. People are posting pictures on the theme of Waiting for Stone Crossings. And, at least for me, it's a wonderful time of sharing, laughs, awe and bonding.

Of course, I invite you too. Stop by and see what others are doing, hear me read an excerpt, add your own pictures or blog post about Stone Crossings. Because reading is a together thing.

Here are a few people who've already joined the party by doing:

Photos and blog posts:
Dave Zimmerman
Christine Scheller
Charity Singleton
Blue Mountain Mama
Flourishing Mother

Carl Holmes
Christianne Squires
Ted Gossard
Gail Nadeau

Waiting for Stone Crossings sculpture and photo, by Sara B, age 10. Used with permission.

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Blogger Jenn said...

Writing to love is a concept I had not worked out in my head, but I think there's really really something to it. Im going to have to process this, along with other revelations . . .

12:12 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

this is is a beautiful idea, laura! i just added my name to the list ... i think. ;o)

eagerly awaiting your beautiful book & looking forward to sharing in it with you!

1:06 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Good news! My sister-in-law fell and broke her ankle. (No, that's not the good news; I love my wife's sister.) The good part is that when we went to visit her in the hospital, we saw a man fast asleep in the waiting room. That's the first image I thought of when I wanted to find a picture for your Waiting for Stone Crossings. The beautiful thing is that I did not have to endure another mall trip to catch the shot; isn't that great?!

4:15 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Jenn... interesting that your thoughts on your blog and the thoughts here today have converged. Thoughts about what it means to love to write (or not).

Kirsten... thanks. It seemed like the natural thing to do, because I write for people not for returns (of which there are very little anyway even for very good writers). I loved the pic of you on the swing. A great way to wait!

Craver... very funny! I saw your pic over on the wiki. So this is the polar opposite of swinging to wait! And yes, I'm glad you didn't have to endure the mall to find your best shot. ;-)

4:24 PM  
Blogger Nikki (and sometimes Daniel) said...

I have to say that I absolutely understand reading as social activity... my husband and I read together with some regularity. My mom got me started, and we had reading rituals in our house right through my teens, like reading Dave Barry's column in the Saturday paper to each other. During college, I participated in a wonderful book discussion group; we didn't read on our own and discuss, we read together aloud each week. One of my fondest memories for my years working in schools was the time my mother came and was the second voice in "Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices" which we shared with my class. I read stories of artists and musicians and operas and ballets to the kids at every opportunity and I still have most of those books and hope to share them with my own kids someday. I say anything that helps us share books is beautiful... which I have been busy deciding which books to release to the wild via

I'll be delighted to find a way to contribute to the waiting wiki. Among other things, I have a new camera that is begging to be used. You've provided me with an excuse to spend more time using it. :D

7:58 PM  
Blogger Christianne said...

okay, so those pictures really made me smile. your readers are so creative! :)

and ps: i have to thank you for being God's nudge to our beautiful friend Kirsten to head out to mount herman . . . where she will also have the lovely opportunity to meet YOU!

3:20 AM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

In our family we're returning to reading nights as an alternative to Nintendo, computer games, etc... It's so easy for boys especially to get caught up in those pursuits and never learn the joy of reading.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

my most favorite times with my kids growing up were reading to them - and of course, "doing" all the voices. Sometimes I would lean backwards across the front seat of the car (oh the days before seatbelt laws)reading to the 4 children piled into the backseat.

this Christmas, I was able to pass on one of those books to my step-daughter. Her son opened the book and said, "but Mama, it is too hard for me to read", only to be answered with great glee by his mom, "it is because it is for me to read to you!"

I will look forward to sharing Stone Crossing in much the same way - but I think I might need to leave off the "voices"

12:24 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

We're a family of readers and I love it. We read individually and as a family. Reading through Narnia, in particular, was a wonderful family journey. Books on tape/CD have been a great way for us to share stories while we're on the road as well. Shared stories give us a wonderful foundation -- they create inside jokes, yes, but also a common interpretive base from which to communicate and grow.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I love hearing about your reading family. My favorite part of homeschooling with the Sonlight curriculum was snuggling up on the sofa after lunch to read aloud to my boys.

Now, if you figure out zimbio, please do explain it, because I don't get it.

Love all the photos though. So creative.

9:24 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Nikki... that sounds like fun doing the reading together. And I love that you and your husband read together. Looking forward to seeing what your camera comes up with. ;-)

Christianne... aren't the pictures fun? I'm really enjoying them. And I am looking forward to meeting Kirsten. Wow, she really took to the idea of the conference so quickly!

Every Square... the voice of the parent, the laughter and sighs of the children... Nintendo cannot compare.

Susan... I love it. And, hey, you are welcome to add your voice (if not your "voices") with an audio file of your own on the wiki!

Katrina... I like the thought of how it creates a shared world. Yes.

Christine... the snuggling is great. As for Zimbio, what are you wondering about? It is a place to publish "magazines" on particular topics that are put together by various members (not just one person like in a blog). So our book club wiki is technically a Stone Crossings e-zine. :) And anyone can contribute anything at any time (though I the wiki-master do have the power to change or delete things if they need to be. ;-)

9:33 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Great thoughts. I love to read as in sharing. I do really get bored when no one is interested in my reading. Hence blogging. I do find a few interested, and I in turn interested in their sharing, as in your many thoughts and upcoming book!

Yes, it's fun to share about what we're reading. A big part of who I am.

And glad I'm not the only one who has trouble finishing books (though I'm better than I used to be- of course in my 50's so running out of time!)

1:28 AM  
Blogger Christine said...


I created an account on Zimbio so that I could post a photo. I don't know what I'm going to do with this account, and don't really get what it can do for me.

For your purposes, it makes sense. I look forward to joining in the fun.

3:31 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Ted... I don't know... maybe it says something about the books? ;-)

Christine... okay, you must reread the previous post for details. But beyond that I can explain, based on a wonderful kids' article about Google, that whenever a "big" site like Zimbio provides links to your site, this is a good thing in Googleland because it raises your pagerank. Then, when someone searches for, say, "black mold" they are more likely to be directed to your site than to some guy who just started blogging and is only linked to by his grandma's blog and who happened to also write about black mold like you did. Does that help? :)

4:52 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Sorry, L.L.

Bad student : ( I am.

Are you offering free tutorials in your spare time? : )

4:57 PM  
Blogger Charity Singleton said...

LL -- I loved your ideas about reading being a community event. There are many things in our lives that we think we are trudging on in alone that are actually more enjoyable and beneficial if we share them. We're also more likely to do them if we know someone is doing them with us! I am so glad to take part in the celebration here! And REALLY am waiting excitedly for that book!

7:21 AM  

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