The Reading Promise – Book Review

Title – The Reading Promise

Author – Alice Ozma

Genre – Memoir

On the weekend celebrating Father’s Day, Alice Ozma’s tribute to reading is a fitting book that highlights the parent-child relationship and the bond forged through books.

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This is not a book about books – If you’re looking for a list of titles to pick up and authors to check out, you’ll be disappointed. The Reading Promise is about the very act of reading, and how books connect people. This is a book about individuals having the quilt of their lives woven together by the books they shared. It is a tribute to the words on a page, the person who read them to you, the one you read them to, the memories associated with each book you have ever read. For Alice Ozma, reading is an act of love, and she describes her book as a love story.

When Alice was nine years old, her parents went through a separation. Her father ended up with sole custody of Alice and her sister Kath. Dad wanted the girls to know they would always be his priority no matter what. And the bibliophile that he was, he made a pact with the girls to read to them and with them everyday. Books ensured they would always be there for each other – whatever else might separate them in life, reading would be the one activity that bound them.

Kath did her own reading (she’s seven years elder to Alice), but dad and Alice took up a challenge to read together for a hundred consecutive days. This was a fun activity for a nine year old – she got to read and spend time with dad. They successfully completed the challenge and realized there was so much fun and learning on the way that they set a new target for a thousand consecutive days of reading – even giving the project a title, “The Reading Streak”. Avid readers, however, will always read – target or no target. The 1000-day goal ultimately resulted into 3,218 days – the reading streak continued for nine years, only coming to an end when Alice left home for college.

“The Reading Promise” beautifully takes us through the father-daughter relationship and the role books played in their lives. As a single father raising two daughters, dad relied on literature to get him through parenthood – according to him, anything you ever needed to know could be found in books. And this love for books is what he shared with his children. As mentioned earlier, this book is about the memories associated with books read over a lifetime. Alice’s mum’s attempted suicide, her  parents’ divorce, her sister leaving home, her first accident while driving, road trips, visits to museums – from the ages of nine to eighteen books backed her every step of the way, whether to learn how to cope from characters going through similar situations, or just as a diversion when situations got too overwhelming.

Each chapter begins with a quote from a book she was reading at that point of time. So, from a child to an adult the reader is taken through an assortment of books that grew up along with Alice (or rather helped Alice grow up).

Anyone who has been raised by bibliophile parents and grandparents, who has literally been born and brought up around books, who has tonnes of friends who are bookworms, and has in turn introduced one’s children and grandchildren to books will love “The Reading Promise”. It’s an ode to the unsaid promise that books have always been there for us and we will always be there for books. And as we share books with the people we love, we promise them that we will always be there for them. Books, and the memories of reading them, are treasures we entrust to our loved ones. A reading family will identify with this greatly. (Even Alice Ozma’s name has a literary story behind it – Dad went all out right from the time of his children’s births.)

“The Reading Promise” was written when Alice was twenty-two years old. (Hence the tagline of the “promise made thirteen years ago”.) The writing is simplistic and childlike – not intended as a literary marvel but more as a compilation of the bookish antics of the father-daughter duo. Read this if you have bonded over books with your parents/children. A fabulous read for all bookworms, though fathers and daughters will particularly enjoy this one. A single father raising daughters and using literature as a medium to have “the talk”. Or dad showing up at the theatre because rehearsals have gone on too late, and arguing with the director that it’s nearing midnight and the day’s reading is pending. Alice’s writing strikes a chord of how protective dads can be, no matter the age of the daughter – that eagle eye will always be on the lookout for “injustices” (however trivial they might be). As it pays tribute to this special bond and the role books play in the equation, this is a must-read, on Father’s Day or any day.

P.S. There is a detailed list of books the pair read over nine years, compiled at the end of the book. At a glance, it literally reflects how the father raised his children  through books and how their reading choices evolved over the years.

Rating – 5/5

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/rdp-16-target/

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Eat Well. Live Simply. Laugh Often.

Wow! Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt brought back some old college memories. This blog is a fun site for the hobbies and activities I like to share with the world (and also connect with like-minded individuals to learn from and grow on the way). I try not to keep my posts too technical for the benefit of my followers who are following and reading about my myriad pursuits. For those of you who are so used to being bombarded by books, running and dance articles, I do have a professional life besides all of these. (Time management is the key!) I am a nutritionist by profession, though I try to keep this blog fun by avoiding too many serious posts. So don’t worry! We’ll stick to tradition and keep this write-up light as well.

Our prompt for today “julienne” transported me to those years of university classes. I majored in Food Technology, Nutrition and Dietetics with a specialization in Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) and Sports Nutrition, along with a super specialization in Diabetes Education. Nutrition therapy, however, is not just about planning and prescribing diets on paper but also cooking each of the meals you plan. Principles of food science need to be applied to account for changes in food composition in raw versus cooked foods, meals should be an assorted mix of colors and textures in addition to being palatable. Each food preparation was rated on a “sensory evaluation” chart – an individual score for each parameter (taste, smell, visual appeal etc.), followed by an overall score by adding up the individual gradings.

The cooking practical classes were quite something! Now I’m quite good with my gross motor skills (lifting, punching, jumping), but my fine motor skills are another matter altogether. I’m capable enough to paint, sketch, embroider or engage in any miscellaneous art and craft, but finely dicing and chopping ingredients, applying decorative piping onto cakes or muffins, or cutting vegetables into julienne strips were an enormous task. I still wonder how I got through university exams. (Maybe I made up in theory.)

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https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/06/14/protected-julienne/

RDP #13 – SMORGASBORD

How has the week been shaping up in the blogging world? We’re on Wednesday – my day for picking the prompts (woohoo!!) For the benefit of those (like myself) who were following the Weekly Photo Challenge in addition to the daily prompts, I’m proposing a word that can be used either way. At the moment we don’t have a separate page for the photo challenges, but I loved participating in the photo challenges and have selected a prompt that can be attempted for writing and/or photography.

Today’s chosen word is “smorgasbord“. What comes to your mind when you think of the word and the ways it can be used? Formulate a write-up describing the word and/or a photograph depicting what lends meaning to the word – let’s have your thoughts on “smorgasbord“.

To those participating in the daily prompts, use “ragtag daily prompt”, “RDP”, and “smorgasbord” as tags so your posts are easily accessible to fellow bloggers. For those contributing photos, use “weekly photo challenge” in addition to the other three prompts.

Being a Wednesday, you are invited to post two blogs if you want – one describing the word in text, and a separate one for the photo. Or you could just club the two. The photo option is specially for those who actively participated in the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Here’s the link to the ragtag community page – post all your blogs there so fellow bloggers following the prompts can find you.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/06/13/rdp-13-smorgasbord/comment-page-1/#comments

Happy reading, writing, photographing, sharing. We love to hear and see it all!

Here’s my contribution for the Wednesday photo challenge using the prompt:

https://curiouscat99.wordpress.com/2018/06/13/tomes-and-travels/

 

RDP #9 – RAGABASH

Ragtag Daily Prompt of the day : Ragabash

Ragabash : scoundrel, ragamuffin, idle worthless fellow, shiftless disreputable person.  Mass noun: rabble or riff-raff

Create a new post inspired by today’s prompt.

Use “RDP”, “Ragtag Daily Prompt”, and “Ragabash” as tags.  Create a pingback to Ragabash. Alternately, copy your link in the comments below.  Do give pingbacks a little time to be approved as they need to be moderated to avoid spammers.

FYI: Ragabash is not in the offficial Scrabble dictionary but is in Oxford and in the 1913 Webster’s which  Wikitionary is based upon.

Just a reminder – Our team of ragtag volunteers has launched the new site where all the prompts and posts of the day are on one common platform. Do follow the page below:

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/06/09/rdp-9-ragabash/

RDP #8 – PICKLE

The weekend’s here and the ragtag community has successfully completed a week since it’s inception. Steph from Curious Steph kicks off Week Two with the word of the day – “pickle”. 

Let’s sharpen those writing skills using today’s prompt. For those who missed the news, the ragtag volunteers have set up a site to unify all the prompts. Kindly follow the link below to the new ragtag community and share your posts on that page – we made it easier to connect with fellow bloggers.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/rdp-9-pickle/

Here’s my post on today’s prompt:

https://curiouscat99.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/friday-fun-pickles-with-brian-crane/

RDP #7 – PURPLE

Great news for all bloggers following the daily prompts! The next point in the evolution of the Ragtag Daily Prompt. The end of Week One, and our volunteer team has launched a new central website. Follow this site and your daily prompt will appear!

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com

Today’s word is “purple“. Let’s hear your thoughts on the word of the day – and post your links on the new site above.

Living Your Dreams, And Your Nightmares

The Daily Post coming to an end, sadly discontinued many of their activities that bloggers were following. A bunch of us have resurrected the daily prompts in our own way, by forming a team where one member shares a word for the day. Since the Ragtag initiative is in infancy stages, we haven’t yet decided on a separate project for the Weekly Photo Challenge. Wednesday is my day for selecting the prompt (woohoo!!), and since I loved participating in the photo challenges, I’m proposing a photo depiction using the word of the day.

When dreams turn to reality, which sometimes turn into nightmares. It is said, “it is hard to wake from a nightmare when you aren’t even asleep”.

I love trekking and take to the hills every year in the monsoons when nature is lush. This picture is from a climb up a fort – undertaken a year ago – that had resulted in an accident. I had a fall on the descent and suffered from nerve damage.  For the following two months, the entire right leg was paralysed from hip to foot. Being a dancer and marathoner, it was a huge setback to not be able to move. Books, art, music served as a refuge. This blog was also an outcome of the accident. Since I was homebound and couldn’t do much, I began writing. And it has been wonderful connecting with fellow bloggers here.

This photo holds several meanings for me – dream-like for the wonderful day spent with friends, being in the lap of nature, climbing up a part of history (those are ruins of a fort we climbed up). And nightmarish for the fall and it’s outcome. It is also a perfect analogy for life – the good and the bad always balance out. It’s how we choose to see, accept and grow from each experience.

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Those of you who loved the Weekly Photo Challenge, share a picture depicting the word of the day for you.

https://curiouscat99.wordpress.com/2018/06/06/rdp-6-nightmare/

 

RDP #6 – NIGHTMARE

How has the week been shaping up, fellow bloggers? We’re almost a week into our new initiative, picking up from where the Daily Post left off. Along with the daily prompts, I suppose many were also following the Weekly Photo Challenge. We’re still new in this and our group of volunteer prompters is still working things out. For the moment we don’t have a separate page for the photo challenges, but since Wednesday is my day (yayyy!) and I loved participating in the photo challenges, I’m proposing a prompt that can be attempted for writing and/or photography.

Today’s chosen word is “nightmare“. What comes to your mind when you think of nightmare? A bad dream? A horrific experience? Whether in the mental, emotional or physical space, a write-up describing the word and/or a photograph depicting what lends meaning to the word – let’s have your thoughts on the word “nightmare“.

To those participating in the daily prompts, use “ragtag daily prompt”, “RDP”, and “nightmare” as tags so your posts are easily accessible to fellow bloggers. For those contributing photos, use “weekly photo challenge” in addition to the other three prompts.

Being a Wednesday, you are invited to post two blogs if you want – one describing the word in text, and a separate one for the photo. Or you could just club the two. The photo option is specially for those who actively participated in the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Here’s our team of prompters who post through the week. Follow each one so you receive immediate access when their words appear. We’re working on a unified platform to get all the prompts in one place. Till then, do follow each one’s blog.

Happy reading, writing, photographing, sharing. We love to hear and see it all!

Here’s my write-up on the prompt:

https://curiouscat99.wordpress.com/2018/06/06/fear-of-the-unknown-and-known/

And here’s my post for the photo challenge using the same word:

https://curiouscat99.wordpress.com/2018/06/06/living-your-dreams-and-your-nightmares/

 

RDP #5 – SITCOM

How’s it going, world? Our Tuesday prompter Lorna of Gin and Lemonade has given us “sitcom” to work on. As mentioned earlier, our volunteer bunch of ragtag daily prompters is spread around the world, across different time zones, so depending on where you are located you’ll receive the prompts at different times of the day.

If you use “Ragtag Daily Prompt”, “RDP”, and “Sitcom” as tags, it will be easier to find others who have also used this prompt. A pingback to this post will also make your post easier to find. If you don’t see your link right away, it means it’s in moderation, and will be approved shortly.

Our volunteer prompters and our days of the week to prompt are as follows:

We are working on a platform to unify all the prompts, to make it easier for bloggers to locate and participate. Till then, do follow each of these prompters so you get immediate access when the daily word is posted.

Happy reading and writing, and let’s see you playing around with “sitcom“.

(Here’s what I put down for our day’s prompt:

https://curiouscat99.wordpress.com/2018/06/05/smile-its-tuesday/ )

 

RDP #4 – FLUMMOXED

A new week in the new month of the new daily prompt initiative. Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt has been selected by Sgeoil – flummoxed. 

If you use “Ragtag Daily Prompt”, “RDP”, and “flummoxed” as tags, it will be easier to find others who have also used this prompt. A pingback to this post will also make your post easier to find. Due to individual blog settings, links might not be visible immediately till the respective blogger approves of them. Please be patient; moderating all posts may take a little while on a work day.

We don’t have a grid available yet, and are experimenting with linking formats and options to get the prompts across to as many people as possible and connect fellow bloggers.

Our volunteer prompters and our days of the week to prompt are listed below. Those who have been following my posts in the past few days, kindly note our Sunday prompter has changed. Please follow Martha instead – and all the others if you haven’t – to receive immediate access when each one posts their prompts.

Happy writing and have a great week ahead!

(Here’s my contribution to today’s prompt:

https://curiouscat99.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/bookworms-quandary/ )