by Justine Camacho-Tajonera
I would have to say that it was my Mom who got me into reading even though she died when I was only three years old. She left so many books behind that I was too intrigued to leave them alone. One of the first books that I got my hands on was Justine by Lawrence Durrell, one of her favorite writers. For obvious reasons, I was drawn to it. I wrote my name on it when I was very young. I wrote an essay about it called Claiming Alexandria in the now defunct literary journal, Pen & Ink. It was on marginalia and how it has a very personal history for me. You see, my mother wrote notes in her books. Others may claim that it's a messy habit. But not for me. I'm so glad she wrote those notes. I have a piece of her that I can always keep with me. Whenever I'm in a secondhand bookstore, I automatically look for the Alexandria Quartet (Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, Clea). I named my daughter Clea, naturally.
There were other books in her library too: The Sacred and Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch, Five by Iris Murdoch, Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, Women and Madness, and so many more. I will always be grateful to her for leaving this legacy to me. I've had a peek at her world and who she was through the books she read.
I make reading a part of my family life now. I make sure that both my kids catch the habit and see me reading. Reading books is a wonderful thing. It's not just a pastime. It's a whole world of thinking that cannot be replaced by TV or the computer. And it's a way of keeping my mother's love alive too.
Image from http://www.larsenbooks.com.au/c19.htm