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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

A Walk in the Woods

I tend to win things. Not always, of course…but if there’s an “enter to win” offer that shows up on Facebook and I don’t mind the sponsoring party having my email or mailing address (usually they already do), I enter. I’ve won concert and play tickets, music, dinner, and books this way. I think maybe not many other people enter. Or I’m extraordinarily lucky. Perhaps I should buy lottery tickets?

Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the WoodsThe latest thing I won was two copies of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods plus two movie tickets (it was a promo for the movie); though now that I think about it, I never received the movie tickets. Doesn’t matter. Two copies of the book arrived at my house from Penguin Random House as soon as I gave them my address; which I might add, they already had.

A few weeks later I threw one of the copies in a care-package headed to #1 Son at college. He’s at an engineering school and I’m just so afraid he’ll forget to read what with all the math and science. (This really isn’t likely, but I have to worry about something.) He’s in a hyper-woodsy-outdoorsy location and had recently announced an interest in doing some longer hikes.

Me: How long?

#1 Son: A long trail, maybe….

Me: Like the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail? That kind of long?

#1 Son: Yeah, maybe….

Me: By yourself? I texted back as relaxed as I could.
Notice there’s no exclamation point after the question mark—that means I was [faking] relaxed.)

#1 Son: Yeah, that’d be cool….

So there’s something else for me to worry about. But I try to alternate that worrying with my worries about the snow shelters he’s now into building. (They’re engineering students—this means they have all the yearnings and yet not all the skills to build things safely. Ventilation, for instance—that’s my worry this week. When you factor in the still developing pre-frontal cortex of these little boys, I mean, young men…well, like I said, I have to worry about something.)

ANYWAY…a week or so after I sent the book, I asked if he’d read it. He said he’d started it but had to put it down because of finals. “I can tell it would be distracting,” he said. And what’s a mother to say to that? So he packed it and brought it home for winter break—it’s a well-traveled book at this point. He curled up in the red reading chair in the living room his first full day home and pretty much only put it down to eat. He read and laughed and kept saying “You have to read this!” to any of us who passed through the living room.

So here we are a month later and I still haven’t read it. (Still intend to.) But #1 Daughter picked it up as soon as her brother left. She also lounged about in the red reading chair and giggled through the whole thing. “You have to read this!” she said whenever her father and I walked into the living room.

This marks a milestone of some sort in our family. We have read so many books together, and our eldest has handed down books he loved to his sister over the years, but they were books I’d read (and purchased for him). This is the first time, I do believe, that both of them have devoured a book (an adult book at that) and neither of their parents have gotten to it yet. They laugh and joke and talk about it and just keep repeating: You have to read it!

It’s coming up in the pile. In fact, I might just start it tonight….

2 Responses to A Walk in the Woods

  1. David LaRochelle February 20, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    You’ll love it!

    • Melanie Heuiser Hill February 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

      Yes, so I’ve heard!

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