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You know the feeling. You’re visiting a family or staying at a hotel, and you spot books. They draw you, and you pull out the most appealingly packaged volumes, start thumbing through, and read random interesting passages with no thought of discipline. Sometimes, you actually commit yourself to one. You sit down with it and read long sections, so absorbed that you stay up way past your bedtime. Case studies and examples are irresistible. Or you borrow the book, take it home, and read it from cover to cover. Can your found books and how you read them tell a story about your life?
My story away from home started with . . . well, no, actually, it goes farther back than that. After I discovered reading, taught by my mom in our village home in Northeast Thailand, I always picked up books at friends’ houses. What else are you going to do when there’s no TV? One of my earliest memories was of a family visit with German friends in the mountains. In the kids’ room, I saw the row of colorful picture books and hesitated, remembering that this family spoke German. But I took a look anyway, and although the letters looked English, I realized I couldn’t decipher the text. My mom caused some momentary confusion when she said, “Did you see the books?!” And when I picked one up hopefully with the same indecipherable result, she laughed and said they were in German.