I LOVE to read, but I admit I have some quirks (although they seem normal to me). My favorite topics are biographies and history, but I'll make an exception for fiction that's historical or biographically "inspired". Nothing unusual there. And it has to be a good, old-fashioned, hardcover book. Unless it's just not available and then I'll "settle" for a paperback. (The thought of reading an e-book has never seriously crossed my mind.) Now, let's move on to the reading process … each page must be turned while keeping it absolutely pristine, so much so that when I finish a book, the spine's still perfect and you'd think that no one even opened the book, let alone read it. (I even did this with textbooks in college!) Why am I like this? No clue, but I am what I am.

Anyway, before I had children (when my "job" was being a corporate wife to an executive who lived around the world), I read a LOT of books, as in hundreds over the years. But once I had children, that number dropped dramatically to the point where I was lucky if I could find the time to read half a dozen books – not counting children's books. And after my sister and I began Red & Black, I've probably averaged a book a year. (Although I read and re-read the manuscript for our book countless times before going to press.)

So here I sit at my computer, writing this. I look up at my workroom bookshelves and see plenty of books that I've collected over the last years as a reminder that one day I'll get back to my beloved books. For now, I always have plenty of newspapers (they tend to accumulate over the week), magazines, and online articles to keep me busy as "brain breaks" during the workday or for the few minutes I can still keep my eyes open when I go to bed at night.

And I can't help but think about how different my sister, Black, is from me in so many ways – Including reading. For me, it's something that I love to do as it provides enjoyment and an escape, whereas she does it, in true Black fashion, to research and learn more about any given topic. (I can only imagine the business and non-fiction books on her bookshelves, although her contemporary décor has them hidden behind doors.)

So, what inspired me to even think about this in the first place? Last Friday morning she sent me an "empty email" – there was nothing but an attachment. And when I opened it, I laughed. Because, well, it just said it all. While also reminding me of my love of reading. And this takes us back full circle, not only to the image of this post but to the beginning of this post.

Photo by mevans on iStock


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Did you know that April's Autism Awareness Month? I wasn't aware (pun intended) of it until I read our local homeowner's monthly newsletter and it caught my eye.


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Actually, last month the founding organization, the Autism Society, changed "Awareness" to "Acceptance" to foster inclusivity, as knowing about something is very different from accepting it. But I am guessing that is not the point of this call.


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Although it isn't autism, it reminded me of years ago when we found out that Natasha has learning disabilities.


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I think you mean DIFF-abilities.


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Of course, that's another thing I remember. I was focused on the negative aspects of her diagnosis until you asked me, point-blank, "Why are they called disabilities?" And proceeded to explain that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.


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Exactly! Imagine the world if everyone excelled at math, but flunked English. Or, a world of lawyers, but no musicians. Some people are better at social skills, while others excel at handling technical data. Why not just say that people who have different skillsets and abilities have DIFF-abilities versus making them feel like they have shortcomings?
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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Well, the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was over a month ago, but I still see plenty of articles about it. It's really "stirred up" things in the Royal Family.


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Well, I guess it put "a bee in the royal bonnet." Although, I would not believe everything you read. Right after the interview, I read several articles suggesting the monarchy should end with Queen Elizabeth. I cannot imagine that happening.


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Oh, that isn't anything new. It's been going on for a long time; there was even talk of it when I lived in England decades ago. All the interview did was further encourage those who are already advocating it.


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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, but as I said in our Banter Bite, Talk About Getting The Royal Treatment, the Royal Family does seem to have "issues" in terms of race relations and dealing with mental illness. I can understand why people are questioning whether the monarchy, with its "old-fashioned" traditions and beliefs, is still relevant.


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But it's not like that's the only place those issues exist. Just pick up a newspaper, turn on the news – it's everywhere! Unfortunately, the Oprah interview put a very public face on it – The Royal Family, or The Firm, which is how the family and institution refers to itself.


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Who nicknames themselves The Firm? It sounds like a Netflix series, but with less class than " The Crown."
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