Books, books, and books

Photo of baby Baobao touching a page of Dr. Seuss' Fox In Sox

Our purpose in life is to tell each other stories.
— Heath Johns, in conversation

Dear Baobao,

You know I am a book-lover. Not so much of the physical objects (though there are some books that are both readable and objects of physical pleasure — visual and tactile and, sometimes, even olfactory, pleasures, if the book is an old one.

But mainly, I am a reader. I read for current information and general education, and I read for pleasure.and, sometimes, even moral improvement.

But mostly, I read for story, for the telling of stories, about people who don’t actually exist. Yes, your papa is one of those (apparently) rare men who like to read fiction, novels and short stories both.

And so I have already in your young life tried to start indoctrinate introduce to the joys of reading. You have a couple of favourites already, though even Doctor Seuss can pall on an adult after a while — and no Seuss has yet made your go-to list yet — so I have indulged myself by reading you the entirety of The Hobbit (a very strange novel in a lot of (very good) ways, and more so for reading it out loud, and have no started in on Winnie The Pooh.

Not that you have spent a lot of time actively listening to my dulcet tones, but — I hope — this will help to subconsciously prepare you for years of bedtime stories to come.

Of course, I don’t remember the really early books I had in my life. The best I can tell is that there were a lot of Dr. Seuss’ books kicking around in the days I can remember (a couple of them, I still have, tattered and well-loved as they are), and I remember listening to the late Jimmy Stewart narrating a few of the Winnie The Pooh stories on a record we had when I was very young.

So, picking out books for you in your first year has been a bit of a crap-shoot, but with two hits so far.

And, so far, your two favourites are among mine, too, thank god, because a couple of others Mama Raven and I ha’ve picked up are both poorly-written and, worse, boring. Meanwhile, as I said, you do have your favourites, so that is where I’ll start this section off, with two old-fashioned, if brief, book reviews.

The list below will grow with time, as we discover stories new and old (though all, of course, will be new to you for quite some while to come). Since a lot of the books will come more or less pre-approved by yours truly, those reading over your shoulder should expect more recommendations than warnings, but we’ll see how it goes.

Love always,

Papa Zee
Ottawa, July 4, 2020

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