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I decided to participate in a “challenge” that the Toronto Public Library proposed for all of us card-carrying members to complete in 2020. 12 books in 12 months — doesn’t seem like much of a challenge, eh? I thought I could handle this very easily and maybe get the prize at the end. But, then, reading through the list of topics that you had to cover, I came to “Read a book about something that scares you.” Yikes. Should I end this challenge before I even begin? I have never been someone who likes scary things. I remember as a kid once hiding from my brothers and then having them scare the dickens out of me when they found me even though I knew they were coming. I knew then I was a wimp when it came to being scared.

I stay away from horror films and creepy mysteries about things that could actually happen to me. Years and years ago, I saw a thriller on TV about a woman in an office building being stalked by a guy she recognized as “The Killer”.  To this day, that memory can still give me shivers of fear when I find myself on an elevator, alone, in a deserted office building. Scary things are just not my kind of entertainment fun. I mean, really, I have never seen the end of The Shining nor read a Stephen King book all the way through and don’t even mention all those Halloween movies. I did watch Carrie, though, and, I admit I was rooting for her having experienced my own kind of high school hell.

And isn’t reality just too scary now to want to spend reading time on yet more scary stuff? I mean, really, I avoid newspapers, Sunday morning political talk shows — I don’t really avoid them because I’m in the pool but I would if I was home — any lies that come out of the mouth of Donald Trump and his cronies which are enough to petrify me for a whole day and, of course, all and any social media entry that has to do with the above. Is this really sticking my head in the sand and avoiding really important — albeit it scary — stuff or is it just self-preservation? I know it’s happening but it really scares me too much to have a steady diet of it on a daily basis.

But one book is not a daily basis, right? My friend, Lynda, the best-read person I know, made some suggestions each of which sent me wanting to put my head deeper into that sand. So what am I going to read for my scary entry? I guess I’ll leave it to last and read my way through the other eleven and hope, by then, I’ll get up my nerve to shout a big BOO to something that scares me.