Ecanus at Work

June 24, 2007 at 8:43 pm 22 comments

Yesterday was one of those hectic days filled with errands, kids, friends and generally running about or talking until my throat hurt.  Inbetween housework, an editing customer and grocery shopping in the morning, then the movies, dinner with my son and a birthday party for one of the grandgirls in the evening – I noticed a trio of little girls huddled in the sunshine next to the building across the parking lot.  On closer inspection, I saw they were taking turns reading from the book A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Bad Beginning.  Watching them read, giggle, gasp and pass that book around made me miss the opening credits of Room 1408, but it was worth it. 

Its been a long time since I saw children sprawled under a tree in the summer, just reading a book.  Despite our house filled with reading material, and having a writer for a mother, getting my own kids to read for pleasure was a hopeless endeavor.  While I’m an outspoken supporter of modern technology in all its forms, there is such magic in the lowly book.  I work with a handfull of aspiring young writers, none of which read for pleasure.  It shows in their writing, but it will take someone more convincing than me to prove that to them. 

One of my more ethereal, angel loving friends told me about Ecanus, the guardian angel of writers and writing, back when I was a young mother.  The theory of an angel assigned to guarding the written word stuck with me.  I had been fussing over the inattention the chidren, teenagers and young adults I knew were paying to books, when The Shameless Lion Writing Circle came up.  It struck me that the power of a lion was exactly what dear Ecanus needed to complete his mission. 

I hope we’re seeing a change in the reading habits of our nation.  Blogging, e-mail, instant messaging, flash fiction…these things open doors that can be opened no other way.  But there’s also time to take a book from the shelf, curl up on a lawn chair and escape to places and times available no other way but through the pages of a book. 

What’s the last good book you read?


Entry filed under: Books.

Eight Things The Weird, The Dumb and The Gift

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. colleen  |  June 24, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    I haven’t read for pleasure in quite a while, but whenever I do I realize how much I love it. I was planning on taking Cormac McCarthy’s book “The Road” on my vacation because a friend recommended it, but then another friend scared me off by saying his books have such a hard male edge. Maybe I need something lighter for the beach?

    I enjoyed seeing the image of the girls reading. I feel encouraged by it.

    One of my greatest accomplishments in life was reading out loud all the hobbit, narnia, earthsea, and mosslower series to my sons. One went on to be a reader, the other did not, but a bond was forged between us because of our time spent together in stories.

  • 2. katcampbell  |  June 24, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Colleen – The Road is a great book, but very depressing reading for the beach. I don’t think the edge is necessarily “male” but “survivalist”.

  • 3. Rob Kistner  |  June 24, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Artheo and I thought we’d drop by and see what you and Ecanus were up to… 🙂 We enjoyed your post.

    The last meaningful book I read was “The Meaning of the 21st Century” by James Martin. The last lite fare book that Artheo read was “The 6th Target” by James Patterson.

  • 4. anhinga  |  June 24, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    I stumbled on your blog and had to bookmark it. I will be back. Love what I have read.

  • 5. katcampbell  |  June 24, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Rob – thank you for stopping by! You picked a good day to see what Ecanus has been doing. Artheo and I have the same taste in reading material.

    anhinga – Thank you! I look forward to seeing you again.

  • 6. DaveM  |  June 25, 2007 at 1:48 am

    “Looking good dead” By Peter James. A crime writer who tells a believable story in such a way that you dont want to put the book down.

    Sometimes I think “we” go wrong by trying to get kids to read what we as parents think is good for them. Let them read anything [ within reason, depending on their age etc] so long as they read and develop their imagination it has to be good for them. Take Shakespeare for instance , in schools they ruin it by looking too deep into it, disecting and analysing it. Shakespeare wrote plays for the common people who just wanted , a laugh, a bit of pathos or a good plot. The plays were meant to be enjoyed by all ,not confined to the few. Literature is all around us even on the back of ketchup bottles . Enjoy it.

  • 7. Jon M  |  June 25, 2007 at 2:21 am

    Hi Kat and Ecanus! Dave M’s comment above is so true! And blogging does seem to open up all sorts of channels of communication!

  • 8. Hayden  |  June 25, 2007 at 3:52 am

    I used to be a HUGE reader – until I realized that I can’t both read and write. I need to leave my brain a little “hungry” to make stories happen. I miss it – but, for me, writing is the most incredible fun I know how to have. (Overall, not including the miserable ‘stuck’ days.)

  • 9. Stacy  |  June 25, 2007 at 6:19 am

    I read tons of books. I am always in the middle of at least one, but usually more than one. I’ve been this way all my life and it amazes me that my kids weren’t readers considering the example I set and the opportunities I made sure they had. I never, ever forced them to read a particular thing and rarely vetoed anything because that’s the way my mom dealt with my reading. I was reading adult contemporary fiction when I was 11 or 12. I don’t hold out much hope for my daughter becoming a reader (her ADD makes anything like that a real struggle), but somewhere around his junior year in high school my son turned into a major reader!! He loves Stephen King, but otherwise we do read a good bit of the same stuff….crime thrillers, mystery, adventure and history.

  • 10. Mr. Fabulous  |  June 25, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Pegasus Decending, by James Lee Burke. I love Burke’s prose.

    I like to think the girls had a Mad Magazine inside that book…

  • 11. katcampbell  |  June 25, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Dave M – Sometimes that’s true, especially what they do to Shakespeare. In my house, I never cared what they read though.

    Jon – Welcome! You’re right about that.

    Hayden – Yes, writing is like breathing for me, but I still read a bunch.

    Stacy – Oh that has to be fun! Talking books with your son.

    Mr. Fab – I’ll have to give Pegasus Decending a look. LOL, Mad Magazine isn’t so different from the Series by Lemony Snickett.

  • 12. Catch  |  June 25, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    HI Kat!
    I am reading Ann Rules latest book ” too late to say goodbye” and I have an Allison Brennan to read as soon as I am finished with that. Reading is a magical thing.\, it can take your mind off of worries, lower your stress, I have always been an avid reader. It is truly the younger generations loss not to know how comfy it is to curl up with a good book!

  • 13. Diesel  |  June 26, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Well, the Kite Runner was pretty damn good. I’m still slogging through the 26 books I’ve been sentenced to read by fellow bloggers.

  • 14. katcampbell  |  June 26, 2007 at 1:18 am

    Catch – Sounds like you’re ready for summer! Nothing rocks more than a book by the pool.

    Diesel – I’ve heard the Kite Runners good, I’m gonna have to pick it up next time I’m at the book store.

  • 15. John Linna  |  June 26, 2007 at 5:13 am

    You should see a lot of kids reading in July when the last Harry Potter book comes out. My grandson took home a big box of books from my basement and promised me he would read most of them this summer.

  • 16. Shelli  |  June 26, 2007 at 5:43 am

    I am reading a John Sanford novel right now. It’s good. I read Jonathan Kellerman last and that was good, too. I love to read. My kids do, too, and are excellent readers at that. I have said this before but, the only way to be an excellent writer is to read excellent writers.

  • 17. jackiesgarden  |  June 26, 2007 at 7:07 am

    I read voraciously – always have. My mom read the way I do. All three of my kids ended up being ‘readers’, too, even my son. And my grandkids (Chikken)’s two oldest, read as well. The Teen Queen (as Cindra calls her) is heavy into being a teen and all that that means. (She’ll have carpal thumb from texting!) But she still reads. It’s either in our genes – or we learned it by observing.

  • 18. Dewey  |  June 26, 2007 at 7:13 am

    The last good book I read is The Pesthouse by Jim Crace.

    I felt so sad when you said that your kids don’t read for pleasure in spite of having a writer mother and the house full of books. Is that hard on you? It would be devastating for me, I think.

  • 19. rel  |  June 26, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    “Delight”, taking pleasure in trhe small things in life.
    reflections by J.B. Priestley.
    I find it’s also a great book to read aloud.
    I’ve been an avid reader my whole life. And, although I love to write, reading always supercedes it.
    My dad said to me many times, “if you can read, you can do any thing. That caveat has served me well all my adult life.
    Everything I read, I read fro pleasure.

  • 20. katcampbell  |  June 26, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    Dr. John – J.K. Rowling did a wonderful thing when she wrote a series that captured the attention of the world.

    Shelli – Absolutely, I don’t know how people who don’t read think they can find the beautiful ebb and flow of properly constructed paragraphs without the examples of good books.

    Jackie – I inherited the love of reading from my mother, but my kids were always so busy, if they could read while hopping and running around they might.

    Dewey – Welcome! I won’t say its devastating because as little kids they liked being read to and now that they’re all in their 20’s things might change.

    Rel – Me too. Three to five books a week in the old days, less now because of all the things I’m reading while I’m editing.

  • 21. Nessa  |  June 26, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    I am the only avid book reader in my family. My daughter, turning 21 soon, is just beginning to discover the joys of reading, but it took finding the right books for her.

  • 22. Ramanoth  |  September 7, 2010 at 2:06 am

    My last book was not long ago, and I’m still reading another one. It’s by Terry Goodkind, about the fifth book in his twelve books series. It’s a science fiction/fantasy genere, and they’re great. He writes nice thick books, just how I like them. Unfortunately, books in this nation are being viewed as boring, outdated, and too much. they’re also recieving negativity becuase of summer book requirements. I myself had to read fahrenheit 451, and would’ve been more interested had it not been foisted on to me wiht my arm twisted behind my back. However, I doubt I would’ve read it otherwise.


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