I was at a family function and a bright and bubbly sixteen year old, whom I used to babysit when she was just a wee bairn, came up to me and asked me how I was doing.

It surprised me that she sought me out, and even after she’d asked me the usual questions, she hung around and we started talking books. She’s actually the daughter of my husband’s cousin, and a real reader! Over the years I’ve given her so many books at Eid time.

She just finished reading Macbeth!


She was hoping they’d be doing The Merchant of Venice in English next year. Immediately it took me back to grade eight when I memorized Shylock’s speech for my English class.

 I told her that Hamlet  was considered the bard’s best.

She said she’d gotten tired of ‘modern’ books. She was reading this book, oh she couldn’t remember the name of it. After much memory prodding it turned out to be Wuthering Heights.

Apparently her friend read it religiously every year and she was trying to make herself get through it.

I told her not to bother! I had forced myself to read it many moons ago and even at the end of it couldn’t figure out what all the hype was about.

I call that book Dithering Pits.  Oh Heathcliff! Oh Kathy! I’ll meet you on the moors my love! Blech!

The only bit of liveliness in the whole book, as far as I’m concerned, is right at the beginning when Kathy’s dead hand comes through the window!

I suggested she try Jane Eyre instead.

I’d given her The Blue Castle and asked her if she’d read it yet. She grimaced and admitted she hadn’t.

I urged her to read it as soon as she could.

And I was surprised that she’d given up on ‘modern’ fiction. She summarized it by saying that she wanted the books to be ‘about something’.

Maybe the more you read the deeper you need to read to get the same sense of satisfaction.

And as she left, I wondered at the similarities in her evolution of reading material to mine.

I started with mysteries. Read every mystery in the library collection of the Dundas Public Library children’s section.

Then, when I got itching to read something else, I began on adventure stories. Discovered Geoffrey Trease.

And I went through many of the classics as well.

Talking with her was very encouraging.