King Richard the sexist, er, the dead

I read my very most favorite online comment ever today.

While I agree with the Danish reader that sexism is prevalent in this book, the reader should be aware that Richard Scarry died 10 years ago (1994). Later “Scarry” books, as written by Richard Scarry’s son, Hank, do reflect current times and attitudes. However, I think Hank Scarry would be hard-pressed to tamper with his father’s book, which many people consider a classic. I suggest using this book (as well as Cinderella, Snow White, etc.) as an opportunity to discuss sexism with your children. It’s more productive than complaining about the dead on Amazon.

I love that. It’s more productive than complaining about the dead on Amazon. I do think I’ve found my new catchphrase.

In other news, I’m reading again. I love to read. Above all other things, it is my favorite pastime. I have rather eclectic tastes; this week’s books include Isabel Allende’s Forest of the Pygmies, Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, and L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside. (Children’s literature–including young adult–is a specific interest of mine, and Murakami is a fascination for me. I just can’t put his books down.) But reading is, well, it’s not very… productive. You don’t really have anything to show for it afterwards (and I like to have things to show for my time;  I think of it as a personality flaw). Except, of course, for lots to think about and a sense of calm that comes from living an internal life for a while. But you can’t photograph that. (I don’t think. They do some amazing stuff on the internet these days.) I feel awful if I go a while without reading–and reading online doesn’t count–reading a book. It doesn’t for me, anyway. I feel jittery after a while, my attention span shortened and my ability to enjoy one thing for a long period of time hampered. I start to feel sick, honestly. A book just feels good in my hands, its solidity, the subconscious knowing of how long you have left based on the number of pages in one’s right hand versus one’s left (or however it is that you read). Ooh, the smell! Especially the smell of trade paperbacks and low-quality wood pulp. Mm.

And yet, I forget to read. A magazine, a bit of stuff online, a blog here or there, that’s about it. I can’t believe it myself, but while I always have a book on hand that I’m currently reading, I often forget that reading is an option at times. Being a stay-at-home mom means that I spend a lot of time with one ear cocked. I refer to it as being “on” all the time. I had not realized until I began making the time to read (and taking that time away from other pursuits is difficult to rationalize to myself) that it is a way of forcing myself to turn off, to un-cock the ear. I get to go inside my head and shut the door and put my feet up. Yes, conscientious reader, I do this after my boy is in bed, sleeping, safe.

Oh, and there’s another benefit: the books I’m reading? None of them is by Richard Scarry and all of them have concepts of greater weight than whether Mr. Frumble is eating burned toast for breakfast. Not that I have any issue with Mr. Scarry (or “King Richard,” as my son calls him. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know these things) in any guise. After all, you will see no complaining about the dead on this blog.


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