Once upon a time, I was a little girl who, more often than not, spent hours on end living vicariously and aimlessly wandering through the pages of books. Sure, I played outside. A LOT, actually. But coming inside was not really ever a problem because there was always a book that was just as enticing as building a dam on the creek behind our house or putting pennies on the railroad tracks at the far end of the neighborhood. There was always a story just as thrilling as riding my bike down the “big” hill. There was always a character I wanted to spend as much time with as I did my friends. I was the kind of kid who sat and read (then re-read the next day) cereal boxes. My mom rarely had to convince me to take a bath as a child, because I usually had a mystery to solve in a Nancy Drew book, and with it hovering on the edge of the tub, bath time became sleuth time as well.
I’ll take them in any form, really, I will. Audio, digital or the ones where I can physically turn the pages. Although, I really do still prefer the real ones. I find immense satisfaction in turning the pages and seeing how rapidly the end approaches.
Honestly? My idea of heaven would be a nice little window seat in a cozy, sun-filled room, window open, just enough of a cool breeze flowing through the window that I need a fuzzy blanket on my lap, and a cup of tea or hot chocolate within reach. And then, just like in Beauty and the Beast, a massive library with one of those ladders on rails so I can find whatever my heart desires. (Because Belle is my cartoon alter-ego.) Maybe a delivery once a day from Amazon with a new book as well, because, after all, I’d have eternity to spend reading!
Both my parents read – and still do – quite a bit, so it was only natural that I followed suit. And, as an only child, the characters in books became my “friends” in a manner of speaking. I did have real friends, but I loved exploring the mountain with Grandfather and Heidi, or figuring out the best way to turn the wreckage of the ship into a tree-house in Swiss Family Robinson. Those “friends” opened my eyes to a world beyond my little patch of earth, and fed my curiosity about life “out there somewhere.”
I would imagine that most people who blog also like to write, and write because they like to read. Or even if you don’t write or blog, if you’re reading this, you must surely like to read? So I wondered, what are the books that changed your life in some way? And how? I love, love, love, love, love book recommendations from other people. I can stumble into a book on my own, but even so, I often use Amazon reviews to see if the book and I might be compatible. (I really like to research any purchase, even if it is just a book!) But the books from people I love and admire, well, those are the best books to read. For anyone reading this post, I consider you a (virtual) friend, so please share with me the books that have meant something to you. And then, if you can, try to boil down what you think is the essence of the book in one word. Follow that with a more lengthy explanation if you like, but try to condense what lesson the book taught you in just one word. For instance, to me, from Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, what lingers in my mind to this day is optimism. It was a hard book to get through when I read it the first time in 6th grade, then again when I read it with my kids while homeschooling. Still, I was always impressed that in the face of such hardship and fear, Anne remained optimistic. She wrote:
I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.
To endure what she did, and yet persist in believing in beauty in the midst of that cramped, darkened apartment?
I’d love to know what kinds of lessons have been imprinted on your heart by the books you’ve read. In a few days, I’ll return the favor and recommend a few of the books that changed my life. Who knows? We just might make each other richer for it!