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Eve Harrell: ‘For the Love of Reading’

Jennifer Oakley
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Eve Harrell

Memorial resident Eve Harrell counts Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes and The White Road as books that have impacted her life. (Photo: lawellphoto.com)

This month, Buzz residents share which books have impacted their lives and why in Jennifer Oakley’s One For The Books. Below, Eve Harrell talks more about her love of reading. 

For Eve Harrell, reading is a family tradition. Noting that her parents read to her, she and attorney husband Bob, in turn read to their children Rob and Caroline when they were young. Being read to, she says, sparked a love of reading for their entire family. 

“It’s that feeling of reading with a lantern under the covers,” smiles Harrell, remembering her childhood. “Reading is a treasured time that allowed me to be somewhere else. I had a vivid imagination and curiosity and I think that is what reading feeds: imagination and curiosity.”

For Harrell, an attorney and community volunteer, those experiences turned her into a lifelong reader.

”When I read the books I could identify with the characters. For example, I pretended I was Peter Pan and I was Wendy,” she recalls. “As I grew up I would put on symphony music, and sit and read. It would transport me into another world. I think it is so important for the imagination. I think it is one of the most special attributes of reading is to use your imagination and transport yourself into another world, {which} allows us to be fuller people, more understanding people. More inquisitive.”

Because she reads “more days than not” every week, Eve Harrell laughingly realized as an adult, she had a space problem for her books. Her longtime love of books and the penchant for buying them quite simply, added up.

“I had no place else to put my books and so I put them next to a reading chair in our bedroom,” recalls Harrell, who ended up with an artistic side table created from her reading stack. “I bought them with the intention of reading and then I slowly worked my way through them!” 

Books-as-furniture aside, Harrell says that her whole family gets into the spirit of reading. “We have a loose requirement in our house - to read the book before we see the movie,” says Harrell. “So I dutifully started reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins after our daughter Caroline admonished me to get it read - and I could not put it down!”  Harrell also notes that she and Bob love to support their local library: “the library is not just for our kids, you know!”

Check out One For The Books by Jennifer Oakley for more on reading plus a list of book recommendations from Buzz residents.  Also, be sure to check out our new Book Buzz blog, produced in collaboration with the Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library and the Bellaire Library. Share your favorite books with us in the comment section below. 

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