and that isn’t easy these days…
“Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where were are.” ~ Mason Cooley
I have always loved to read. I read all the time as a young girl and teenager. I even wanted to be a writer. But then I got pregnant, married and started working…there wasn’t much time left over to read. Even when I did through the years, I couldn’t focus on the book. I read one every now and then until about a year ago I started reading a little more often. Just recently I was having trouble getting to sleep so I started reading more. Now I have been reading a book every few days. Finishing off one or two a week.
Reading can take us to far away places and make us feel and experience things most of us could never experience except through books. Reading a book as enjoyable as that may be is so much more than that..it can also be helpful in many ways. It has been known to delay Dementia and Alzheimers by keeping the brain busy and active. It can help relieve stress and relax us, thereby inducing sleep. I choose to read at night, in bed. If I don’t read my brain goes off on a tangent of what ifs and whys. And so I read. I read until I am tired or I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. And I fall into a deep sleep sometimes dreaming of the characters in the book.
Speaking of the characters in the books, I sometimes identify with them and feel like they are my friends or family. I was talking to someone the other day and almost told them I knew someone who had just gone through whatever it was they were talking about… I had to stop myself because I quickly realized it was a character in a book I was reading at the time. I also get upset when I finish my latest book of choice. I miss the people I have grown to love and want to hear what is going on with them now. I want more. What happened in the years since I left them….did they stay together, did they have that child? Maybe I get a little too attached to the characters in my books. I don’t remember ever doing that after seeing a movie. It’s just books.
We had libraries and also a few small book stores when I was young. They were the only way to get books. I remember getting my first library card, how excited I was. I also remember paying a fine when I forgot to take the book back on the day it was due. Now books are readily available anytime and anywhere. Ebooks are supposedly the best way and easiest way to read a book these days. I have a few on my kindle but to me the whole experience of holding a book in my hands and smelling the pages of my well worn paperback is half the reason I read. Laying in my bed with a beloved book is pure joy at the end of a long day.
I have heard that reading can be therapeutic. Back in the early 1900’s bibIiotheraphy first became a thing. Doctors and some early therapists thought that by reading books on subjects which mirrored issues the children and adults had could benefit them in ways other treatments could not. It is also sometimes combined with writing therapy. Some studies say it helps with depression. I think this is true. I know both reading and writing have helped me through some very difficult times.
I have read different genres at different stages of my life. I remember reading The Catcher in the Rye back in high school. We weren’t supposed to read it and my parents said I couldn’t. So I hid it under things in my drawer and read it by flashlight every night in bed. It was full of teenage angst and rebellion. Everything a teenager wanted to read about. I really want to read it again.
I read various self help books during my divorce. I read every book I could get my hands on. I thought it could fix me. Of course it was my fault we were no longer married. At least that is what I was told. After one breakup I read Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. I know this book was not given a lot of credit by the critics when it first came out. But the book and movie captured many women’s hearts and dreams. I mean come on….Who wouldn’t want to go away for a year and eat Italian food? Me(raising my hand) Not sure about the other two places, but why not?
I like fiction over non-fiction. Most of the time I pick light hearted books that don’t make me think. I want something to take me away not bring me down. I love books that are centered around ocean towns and beaches since I love the beach reading these books instantly makes me feel as though I am there. I love Erin Hildebrand, Kristin Hannah, Susan Wiggs, Wendy Wax, Lisa Wingate and my all time favorites Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher. I have to say my favorite book is
The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde. It is about families, 3 generations of family. And it made me feel so deeply I cried when I was finished. I do that quite frequently now when I finish a book.
Sometimes I read something based on the author or what or who the story is about. I did this recently when I read The Paris Wife. It was a fictional account of a true story about Hemingway’s first wife and the time they spent in Paris. I was enthralled with this book for many reasons. It held my interest and it was in Paris, a city I want to visit and is on my bucket list. It intrigued me so much that I wanted to learn more about Hemingway. So I decided to read “The Sun Also Rises”. It is widely considered his best and has millions of rave reviews. I hated it. After reading both of these I decided to try again and heard about another fictionalized account of a real life story. This one was about Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne, The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel. It was a very good book, but in the end it made me really hate him. I loved the movie with Jimmy Stewart as Lindbergh and thought he was a wonderful man. He very well may have been but his image is forever tarnished by my having read this book.
So yes, reading can take you to places you have never been and feel things you never knew you would feel. I love reading and so does my daughter and many of my friends. We trade books and we all share different views on the books we read. But one thing we all agree on is how much reading enriches our lives. I heard that people who read are happier. I know in my case this is true. Keep reading my friends and get happy!
Do you love to read and what is your favorite all time book?
“With my eyes closed, I would touch a familiar book and draw it’s fragrance deep inside me. This was enough to make me happy.” ~ Haruki Murakami
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