Bookish: My Life as a Reader
I get twitchy if I'm not reading a good book. I am often reading two or three books at a time, giving one of them time to "take" and then dropping the others...for now. As a mother, whose kids usually end up in my bed at night I read one book on my kindle (so I can read in the dark) and one old-fashioned page-turner. I carry the paper book around with me during the day to read in waiting rooms, long lines and on trains. If I don't have a stack of books on deck I'm off my game. My name is Beth and I'm addicted to reading.
Reading has gotten me through tough times and taken me on more vacations than any plane ever could. I come from a family of readers who taught me about the transformative powers of a good book. My parents taught me--not by preaching or nagging about summer reading lists--but by ignoring me. Yup. Ignoring me. You see, every summer my family would camp on the beach in Rhode Island for a week. We'd wake up, have breakfast and spend the day on the beach. My parents lay out our blanket and set our umbrella. They'd swim with us for 10 minutes and then sit in a beach chair and read for hours. They'd get up and jump into the ocean again to cool off then it was back to the latest Stephen King, Tom Clancy or Robert B. Parker. They also ignored me on weekends after dinner and early in the morning while they had their coffee.
I don't remember when it happened, but before long my sisters and I joined in and we all happily ignored each other on vacation, with our noses stuck in thick mass market paperbacks. Don't' get me wrong...we ate dinner as a family regularly, went to the movies and played monopoly. It's just that I remember them reading A LOT and when they read they were content, relaxed and ENTHRALLED. I wanted that too.
Now, on occasion, I try to find time to ignore MY children. They're still a bit too young to ignore near large bodies of water, but we're working on that.
The Books I Have Loved.
When I sat down to make a list of my favorite books, I was surprised at all the associated memories that came flooding back along side them: friends gained and lost, jobs, breakups... I didn't want this list to be a struggle. I included only the books that bubbled to the surface of my memory without effort. In other words, the books that have stayed with me over time and left a mark. I excluded obvious choices (To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye) and checked my vanity at the door (gotta love Chick Lit!). These are books, in no particular order, that ended up in my hands for various reasons (fate?) that I have loved.