Saturday is the birthday of Beverly Cleary, author of Henry Huggins, Ribsy, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and the Ramona the Pest books, among many, many others. And yes, she’s still with us—going strong at 97, and an honest-to-goodness national treasure, if you ask me. Just the names Ramona and Beezus conjure up hours spent in my old grade school library, oblivious to the uncomfortable Danish modern stools and mushroom-colored carpeting and dusty sunlight, lost in the very kind and human world of Ramona and her friends.
In honor of Cleary’s birthday, the day has also been designated Drop Everything And Read Day—immortalized by Cleary herself in Ramona Quimby, Age 8. D.E.A.R.—come on, how can you not like that acronym—actually lasts throughout all of April, “a national month-long celebration of reading designed to remind folks of all ages to make reading a priority activity in their lives.” But the 12th is Drop Everything And Read’s epicenter, and since it’s a Saturday and all… it sounds like the perfect excuse to do just that. (Although if you’re reading a doorstopper, you might not want to drop it. Or at least keep your feet out of the way.)
I’ll admit to having envisioned this period in my life of part-timing and freelancing as a chance to finally catch up on reading, quiet afternoons at home on the couch with a cat or two. But the truth, of course, is that when you don’t have regular hours you’re never really off the clock—there’s always something you should be doing—and honestly, nothing’s better for digging into a book than a long and tedious mass transit commute. So I think I’m about due for an afternoon of Dropping Everything And Reading, in honor of an author (and librarian, lest we forget) who made a lot of young readers—this one included—very happy for a lot of lost afternoons.
(You can get the above image emblazoned on pretty much anything you can think of here.)