Books offer escape from Iowa winter

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

With the final college football bowl game, the national championship game last night, in the record books, it's time to face the facts - the holiday season is over.

Yes, the tree has been taken down, the last string of lights extinguished.

And I find myself in my usual January funk.

After weeks of hustle and bustle; food, family and fun; daily life comes as such a let down. My calendar, previously filled with engagements, looks pretty bare. Weekends are back to doing laundry and cleaning house. It's hard to get fired up for that.

And then there's the cold.

In January, in Iowa, cold is a visitor who's overstayed his welcome. And, as I get older, I find more and more reasons to avoid the outdoors. I may be of hardy Scandinavian stock, but the bloodline must have thinned out a lot since my ancestors' days on the fjords. I gaze longingly at photos of summer fun, and find myself visiting Travelocity online a lot, building dream vacations to places where sand, not snow, covers the ground.

It's during these dark days of winter that I thank God for books.

I can escape, for a few minutes or, on particularly cold and blustery Sunday afternoons - hours, to somewhere else. Snuggled up with a good book, a cup of tea and a blanket, winter doesn't seem quite so bad.

I've changed a lot over the years, but my mother can attest that one thing that hasn't changed about me since I was a child is my love of reading. It seems funny, in these days of electronic amusements galore, that my mom used to yell at me for spending too much time reading!

A lot of people are buying electronic readers these days. Kindles and Nooks filled many holiday stockings. I'm resisting the electronic story book. Somehow, it doesn't appeal to me. I want to browse the aisles at the library, seeking out familiar favorite authors, and being waylaid by an appealing book jacket on my way. I want to turn a page, not touch a screen. I want to see my progress through the pages by the movement of the bookmark.

Somehow, snuggling up with a cup of tea, a blanket, and an electronic reader just doesn't seem the same.