I remember reading books sitting in trees, under the yellow forsythia bush, and on swings. I used to read while eating, blow drying my hair, and sunbathing. I spent summers checking out stacks of books from the library every week. Reading was an obsession. Looking back in envy at the unlimited reading time of my childhood, I wish I’d read a little less “fluff” (think Sweet Valley High and The Babysitter’s Club) and a little more quality literature. But all the same, I was hooked on books.
Then I got a job, went to vocational school, got married, and started my family. Life got very busy, like it does for everyone. And I just….let books go. I can’t believe I did it, but I let adult responsibilities crowd out one of my greatest loves. For years, I rarely read a book outside of the board books I read to my toddlers. Once in a while, at the library with my kids, I’d grab something off the “featured titles” shelf, and hope it would be worth my time. I missed reading, but I had no idea how to jump back in. What would I even choose? Where would I begin?
Five years ago, we bought a house with a school room. A room just for homeschooling, and it was lined with bookshelves. Suddenly, I had what felt like limitless space for books. I started buying books at every rummage sale, and every time I went to the thrift store. I bought titles I’d heard of before, books by authors I knew, and just about anything that’s considered a “classic.” Then I just started reading them.
Last year, I discovered through a Facebook group (of course) that people often read multiple books at the same time. I saw pictures of other people’s “book stacks,” and it was like an epiphany. It had never occurred to me to do that, but I definitely wanted to try it. In 2018 I read twenty books. That’s a small number, compared to many of the book fiends in that Facebook group; but for me it was a joyful accomplishment.
I read a few classics, including A Farewell to Arms, Peter Pan, and The Color Purple. I read Unbroken, the story of Olympic runner-turned-POW Louis Zamperini. I read three of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants books (definitely in the “fluff” category, but so fun), and two books in the Anne of Green Gables series (I’d somehow never read beyond the second book before).
Then I found this beautiful gem on a list called “15 Books to Get Totally Lost In.” I did get lost in it, and was disappointed when I reached the end.
One of the most interesting books I read had been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years, and was a gift from a descendant of the original owner of our 200-yr-old farmhouse. It was written by a member of her family that grew up in our house, and was filled with fascinating tidbits about the farm that used to be here.
I’ve got a lot of good reasons to make time for reading. It’s important for brain health, which is a definite plus since muddling through my kids’ teen years is sucking brain cells away on the daily, I’m sure. I’m increasing my knowledge and honing my writing skills by exposing myself to many different authors and genres. I’m setting a good example for my kids, many of whom are already book lovers. And most importantly, it brings me joy. I feel like an important piece of me has been found. Though I never really lost it, I allowed it to get buried, and I’m so incredibly pleased to see it again.