Let’s get reading Milan woman reads over 100 books in a year
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic…ever wonder why reading starts the curriculum for school?
Gerry Doane of Milan has the answer to that. “Reading is everything. I like to read; it takes me places I cannot go.” And, she does travel. She’s been to the Canadian Rockies, Alaska, North Carolina and Prince Edward Island and beyond, just to mention a few places.
Gerry set a goal to read 100 books and then it just escalated! Before she knew it, she said, “I amazed myself and read 146! That was not a New Year’s Resolution, but a challenge to herself to see what she could do. She averages 200 pages a day.
Always having a lovefor reading, Gerry says since retiring on May 1, 2010, as Matron for the Ripley County Sheriff’s Department, where she did bookkeeping for 15 years and four months…she finally had some time. She served under three sheriffs both Democrat and Republican.
At first Gerry did other things with her time and her comfortable Milan home reflects the talents she possesses by the many needlepoint, crochet, and other items throughout.
“You can only do so much of that kind of work,” she laughed, saying she has always loved to travel.
Gerry and her late husband, Ray, traveled extensively when he was alive. They went places she had read about. “I would read about an interesting place, we would research it, and then go,” she told The Versailles Republican. Now, it’s just the opposite. She reads the books that takes her on her travels. “I’ll soon be 78-years-old,” she noted, saying come February that’s her new number. She says she doesn’t feel like traveling now but gets in her recliner that has heat and massage and goes anywhere she likes through her books.
What does she read? Absolutely everything she can get her hands on! “I like a little bit of everything,” she noted, but said of course she has her favorites – which she has charted by the book, author, and content. Her first five favorite books from 2022 were: Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris; Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens; Twigs, Finding Twigs, Gathering Twigs, all by Charles Tabb.
Some to take note of from 2021 that she loved are: The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarrow; The Great Alone, Home Front, Winter Garden, True Colors, On Mystic Lake and Angel Falls, all by Kristin Hannah. “When I find an author I really enjoy I just order more books,” she laughed, admitting Amazon knows where she lives. She said she reads true stories, historical books, or fiction. She loves a good mystery with a little romance.
Reading from 8-12 hours most days, Gerry says she must keep plenty of books on hand. She has read some on her tablet and gotten some from the libraries, but mostly she buys them.
Does she read them over and over? Well, just a few have been read more than once – but typically she gets something new.
The daughter of Ralph and Alma Prager Brandes, Gerry said she was mostly into numbers where she excelled over the years in her various bookkeeping positions. She can kind of incorporate the numbers game in with the books as she keeps track of the month, books, and pages she has read (see chart). In 2022 alone she turned 44,148 pages that took her around the world, like a time capsule backward and forward, places she could never hope to go. She is truly a keeper of the books!
But when reading, Gerry goes. “Sometimes I’m in the book,” she laughed, saying she might fall asleep reading and even dream she is actually a part of the scenario.
She has a list of books she’s read, a list of books she wants to read, and a list of books to research to see if she wants to read them.
Does she get bored since retirement?
Absolutely not! She stays active and when her brother, Ron, gives her a call and wants to have a lunch or dinner date, she’s ready to go. She visits with relatives by telephone weekly and enjoys whatever life brings. But, most days she can be found in her chair, curled up with a good book.
She encourages people who like to read to join up with the Osgood Public Library and Milan Library and take the Century Club Challenge to read 100 books this year. “It broadens your knowledge and just overall feels great to learn,” Gerry shared. The bonus part is you can do and be anything you want to while you’re in your book – there are no limitations. For those who don’t like to read – give it a try!