Memories of My Former Life in a Stack of Books

Written by Karen, a mom without a blog

What do the books on my shelf say about ME?

As we all know in the world of supermoms, one of the most important things to remember is that after the day of taking care of your brood, you absolutely need to spend a little time on yourself. Those end of the day moments where we do whatever it is we do to unwind and discover peace….

Truly, I would love to be able to spend some time at night to light some scented candles, bathe, take care of neglected hygiene issues, watch some TV or a good movie. But really, I just only want to get in bed and READ. And unfortunately for me, more often than not, once the house is quiet, I can eek out a few pages from a bedside book before I AM OUT.

I have ALWAYS been a bedtime reader, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT – until June 5, 1995, the birth of my oldest daughter. Since then, my reading has been VERY sporadic.

I miss it. I miss losing myself in a book for hours. I truly, truly miss it. Me time. Reading in bed is me. It helps me connect to the world, travel the world and appreciate the world around me all from the cozy comfort of my own queen-sized bed. It keeps me grounded and sane after a day of chores and children.

The other day, I was laying in bed, looking at the stack of books next to my bed. What to read? What to read? Then it became… wait, what are these books? How did this stack get so big? I realized I had started all of them save for two. Seven books. I tried to remember why each of them sounded interesting enough to me to bring them up from the basement bookshelves to the place of honor next to my bed. And then I tried to remember why I never finished any of them.

And what did these titles say about me? Or the “me” I think I’d like to be?

1) On the bottom of the stack: “Forever Blue: The True Story of Walter O’Malley, Baseball’s Most Controversial Owner, and the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles”

HUH? You are really wondering about me now, aren’t you? I started this book five months ago and stopped just shy of chapter six. What was the distraction that kept me from finishing? – a busy summer, looking for mindless travel fodder, who knows?

What does this book say about me? I’m a Dodger fan and I’m glad to have it and I will finish it someday, but I’m going to have to start over – its been too long.

2) “Stephen King: On Writing”

Yes, I’ve always liked Stephen King, but not all of his books. But I like to write occasionally and I’m interested in reading his opinion on writing and how it became his life. It’s been sitting by my bed for a year…

I suck.

3) “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver

A family eats locally for a year – a great achievement. The book will make you either feel bad about yourself and what you and your family consume and waste or it will inspire you to change your life… and then feel bad about yourself as you fail to live up to your own unreal expectations.

Mostly, I aspire to be inspired. I’m not putting this book back in the basement quite yet. I made it to page 51 a few months ago, I can do it again.

4) “The Women on the Wall” by Wallace Stegner

A library book. That in itself makes me feel good because 1) it was free, 2) the amount of time I have to read it is finite, and 3) its local literature. Wallace Stegner is a Salt Lake author, completely smart and a bit intimidating.

The problem? It’s a book of short stories. You’d think that would be perfect for a tired girl like me –who falls asleep after a chapter or less in most cases. BUT, its not, I’ve never been able to get into books that are a collection of essays – I. don’t. know. why. What’s my problem – this guy rocks! My husband praises his name! Ugh…. I’ve renewed it twice and I’m still stuck on the 6th story of 18!

5) “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen

I’ve finished this book – I’m just reading the Penguin Classics Appendix. Totally true. It’s almost more interesting than the book, which is a rough read by Austen standards (I’ve read two others that I loved). BUT the characters are interesting and the Appendix is explaining A LOT! Besides this is a library book as well and I’m waiting to take it back until I try to work my way through the Wallace Stegner book.

6) “Notes to Myself” by Hugh Prather

Just drug this out of a memory box last month. Its supposed to be one of those inspirational books you can read almost like a bible devotional – something to reflect on as you fall asleep, something to make you THINK. Yikes! It was given to me by an old boyfriend in my mid 20s when I was SEARCHING for meaning in EVERYTHING. Conversations were not simple then and it was a rush to feel smart and creative and analytical – does anyone remember these sorts of moments? Bringing it to my “must read” stack is probably my way of wanting to get my brain cells working again, especially as I may attempt to enter the adult world by getting a job again soon. But so far, my brain is having a difficult time going there…

7) “Wonderful Ways to Love A Child” by Judy Ford

Beautiful – read some of it and feel guilty for not reading all of it 15 years ago when it was given to me by a wonderful friend on the cusp of me becoming a mother. I found this in a memory box also and feel like I could always use a refresher in this area so my relationship to my kids stays real and not robotic…

Someday soon I hope to be able to get to all of these reads – when I don’t fall asleep after just a few pages every night. Maybe I should put most of them back in the basement to take the pressure off. I’m normally a one book at a time sort of girl and this stack is getting a little out of control!

But what should go and what should stay… I don’t know… maybe I’ll just plunk through them as I can – I don’t want to feel like I failed by giving up on any of them!

Honestly, I don’t know exactly what these books say about me – besides that they are dusty and under-appreciated while I snooze away the night, gearing up for another day of not reading…

It won’t always be this way, will it?

What’s on your shelf? And what does it say about YOU?

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