The first time I went skiing the one thing I really appreciated were the instructions. Not knowing what to expect I assumed we would jump into skis and just hit the slopes. Thankfully it wasn't how this lodge operated. For all those who admitted (at the check-in counter) to having never skied before, we were taken aside and given basic ski lessons. And let me stress here again how much I appreciated those lessons. What looked like easy-peasy taught me a great lesson about assumptions.
I'll put it to you this way; babies (three and four years old it looked like) were coming down the slopes within 20-30 minutes max! But me, I won't dare embarrass myself any further, describing how many trees I hugged before I got to the bottom. I'm just glad we started out in the morning because I hadn't thought to bring camping gear.
I use that rather bazaar skiing experience to expunge assumptions of what reading may look like from afar. You know... reader's eyes running back and forth, up and down pages, um-humming, maybe sighing a few 'ah ha's', crying, laughing, and they're done. Had I taken this approach with skiing, there's no telling how I may have ended up feeling about skiing. I could still be up there on that mountain, or I could feel as I currently do, appreciating the lessons learned... understanding why light clothing is more suitable for skiing, despite initially thinking it would be the opposite. I also know why shades are important, and not the stylish kind suitable for wearing on the beach, but the kind with the proper UV protection that securely adheres to your face. There's nothing like seeing your cool glasses going in one direction, while you and your skis go in two and three other directions.
But okay, so now I know the essentials I would bring with me if I ever hit another slope, but here I'll share the essentials I grab when delving into a book.
- Eyeglasses for obvious reasons (for me) are essential. There's nothing like reading something you can't read!
- Bookmarks and post-it tabs are essential for those who read print books and like keeping books in pristine shape. If you're reading on devices, a good e-one will allow you to earmark your pages, and flip 'em back the other way when you're done.
- Mood is a big essential. And I speak of bringing the appropriate mood to the genre. I primarily read memoirs and biographies; one genre that is far more diverse than all the other genres combined. While the stories often come from one perspective, the subjects cover anything from science and medicine, to dying, hope, healing and religion; basically casing every square inch of any bookstore, library, or reading apparatus. So it's really important to ensure we have the best mood for the book... and or vice versa.
- Which brings me to the matter of tissues. You certainly don't want to dampen the book any more than it already is.
- Aleve helps too. There have been occasions when it feels like the book is sitting on my head rather than in my lap, or on my desk or bed.
- A second layer of skin is an essential necessity, and all too frequently one that is overlooked. Let's face it, once the book is in print, it is in print. This is not the time to be wishing the ten year old abused child would've done what we 'might' do today. What happened, is what happened, which grabbing that second layer of skin does help get through the experience.
- Flex balls also help, especially if you're one of those readers who must finish the book.
- Muzzles are good for those books like the one I just finished reading, 'A Hamster is Missing in Washington, D.C. by Ed Spivey. I got to howling so loud, I almost got 'checked in.'
- Which brings me to the reason shawls are essential, although I bet you don't know why? Well, it's like this. I don't read books on iNooks, eNooks, a Nook, or screens, and for the same reason if someone asked me to board an invisible plane. I know it sounds exciting and fun, and once I do it I'll never fly 'regular' planes again, but for now it's outside my reality zone. Therefore, I don't have the luxury of concealing what I read. This is where the shawl comes handy. Instead of hiding the book, I can hide behind the shawl. ß And this is one you can try at home!
- Above all, the most important essential is having an open mind. What would be the point of reading otherwise?