hiiii! so, maybe you're like me and one of the constants in life has been the comfort a really good book can bring. one of the funny things about having kids is it makes you think about your own childhood A LOT -- and it's so fascinating to me what stands out the most. i have so many memories of going to the library, finding a new spot to read in our house, feeling myself grow with the stories i read.
into adulthood, much the same was true. i can tell you exactly where i was when i read most of my favorite books -- i think some books just come in your life right when you need them, whether you could have anticipated that or not. i'm not sure if it's been the long winter, or adjusting to two little girls underfoot, but i've been craving good books to get lost in and a few have really done just that. in two of these, the writing literally took my breath away, and in the other one i found a new way of thinking about something that was incredibly helpful to me.
redeployment -- this was my christmas present to ryan, and one night when he was flying, i picked it up just to read a few pages -- well, i literally couldn't put it down. i've spent a lot of time thinking about the wars in iraq and afghanistan, and especially the men and women who have been willing to serve there, and this book was so raw, so incredibly written, so painfully honest, it left me speechless. it is incredibly intense (as it should be) and the writing is simply stunning. the last two pages left me in tears and spellbound all at once.
this is the story of a happy marriage -- i have such a writer's crush on ann patchett and so this book, a curated selection of all her writings, was such a gift. it showed the breadth, and depth, of her work. she has a way of taking you to a place, a moment in time, an idea that is so vivid -- i found myself loving the dog she loved, sitting across the table from the nun at whole foods, nodding along with her observations on marriage, and then, when the book was all done, clutching it to my chest, sad it was over.
the life changing magic of tidying up -- i devoured this book in a single weekend, which is probably no surprise if you've been reading this blog for a while. i really read it on a lark, not sure if it would just be a reinforcement of all the things i hold to be true about taking care of your things, and making a home, but found myself rethinking, in really helpful ways, truths i had held dear. the simple idea that every single thing in your house should bring you joy, somehow clarified what i thought was a simple enough system (that everything should be useful or beautiful). it took some efforts i've been making in our home, and made them so much easier to actually finish. i loved that the book was written in a different culture (which for some reason made it easier to observe out own). i'll be honest, i've been doing some MAJOR purging since reading this, but i'm already seeing it bearing fruit -- i'm doing less schlepping of things from one room to the next, less searching for something we've lost, less laundry, less taking care of things we don't need or use. putting all the clothing i own in one room was alarming; going through books, one by one, holding them & looking at their cover was so much more effective than looking at their spine; letting go of the idea that something once brought me joy or might bring me joy made it easier to sort things honestly.
i feel myself looking for some really good fiction, some stories well told, so if you have any favorites you'd like to share, i would LOVE them. also, i feel like i'm on the brink of being able to read some chapter books with ellie, we picked up a version of stuart little that looked wonderful at the used bookstore, but to all you parents out there, any recommendations for where we begin?
i know i'm not here much, but know i long to be, and so i'll leave you with some of my favorite words, by one of my favorite writers, "courage, dear heart." - c.s. lewis