Sunday, September 26, 2010

a real page-turner

Avi has always been into books. It might have started at age 3 weeks with one of her first photo shoots taking place inside of a book shelf, specifically in the poetry section. It might be genetic;
her father has only recently gotten over his indulgent tendency of buying too many books, wandering into too many book stores while vacationing, lingering too long in the poetry, architecture, and landscape sections. Her mother's genes also offer no way out from books; when not completely busy with Avi-rearing and running a wedding photography business, she can be found blissfully engaged in the world of a novel.

So, it should be no surprise that Avi would become a bibliophile. As far as her book habits go, Avi's sensibilities tend toward the ritualistic. Next to warm milk, a tried and true book is what comes right before bed. And during the past week or so, books are what she reaches out for when waking up in the morning. While being pulled out from her crib, her little hands & fingers stretch out towards her shelves of books across from her crib while she utters intent, "da-da-da" noises at them.

Usually, her tastes are quite particular. She prefers the prose to be sparse, and the imagery colorful and photojournalistic. In fact, her preferred genre by far is creative non-fiction. She's a positive realist, to be sure, and appreciates being able to personally connect with the books' protagonists, particularly young characters (as in 5 years old or less). There are a few exceptions however, since if a book possesses engaging lyricism placed harmoniously within the narrative, it will certainly be a keeper (great Nana's gift of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is one of her favorites).

And besides a book's style and content, what equally arouses Avi's interest in books is the simple, physical activity of turning the pages. In the beginning, her pudgy fingers were unable to separate the children's book pages, so I'd split them for her and let her turn each read page. This allowed our reading time to be an interactive and collaborative effort. Then starting several months ago, she became more adept at separating the thick, cardboard stock pages of children's books herself. Now, she’s honing her skills on the mature, “thin-page” variety of books, which involve some serious motor skills. It’s probably the equivalent you or me trying to sculpt Michelangelo's David with a pocket knife. Her fingernails pry in between the slivers of pages and if the literary angels are with her, she’ll separate them on her own. If not, she’ll settle for rapidly flipping the pages which basically involves her frantically wiping pages with the flat of her hand. Using this method, she can get through a good sized novel in about 4 seconds.

Much of the time lately, it doesn't matter what the book is about- be it Dr. Seuss or Leo Tolstoy- so long as there are pages for her to turn. She will waddle over to our hallway library, toss almost every book within reach on the floor, pick one of them, carry it to a comfortable spot, then sit and just turn pages. Ahh, the pleasures of books.

1 comment:

  1. My sweet Avi!!! You are growing up too fast!!!! Please enjoy your infancy! I love you, Sitti