100 Consecutive Days: Entering the Reading Room

Recently, while playing hookey from church, I watched my favorite Sunday television program, “CBS Sunday Morning”. Watching CBS Sunday Morning is a ritual I have enjoyed since I was a kid. Truth be told, I wish I could skip church every Sunday, if only to watch my favorite Sunday morning program. One reason I love the program so much is due to my memories of sitting with my Dad (who also looked for reasons to skip church) and watching the show together.

Before I get to Sunday Morning segment triggering this post, I have a confession. I am not an avid reader. Gosh, I should just go ahead and admit fully, I am not a reader. I know, I shake my head with my own disgust as I admit my shortcoming to you. After all, bloggers tend to be voracious readers. Many blogs pertain to the latest and greatest book. Bloggers throw out names of authors and the books written by the authors, as often as I throw out my love of ice cream and Dutch Monkey Doughnut’s flavor of the day. (Banana cake, by the way. Banana cake is the flavor Dutch Monkey Doughnuts is promoting today.) Continue reading “100 Consecutive Days: Entering the Reading Room”

Help Yourself

How many self-help books do you own? Need a minute to go count the collection you’ve created over the years? Or, have you passed your books along to others?

Lately, I seem drawn to book after book, promising me a better life. Please, don’t misunderstand me, I love my life. Still, with so many books within reach touting a better life – well, color me interested.

I think I am still coming off the “Eat, Pray, Love” thing. I never read the book. (Why does admitting to not having read the book take me back to my high school days and Cliff Notes?) I did – you knew this was coming – see the movie. And, though the movie wasn’t great, I find myself thinking about the messages portrayed in the movie. I have been accessing my library’s website daily, to see if a copy of the book is available. Hang on, I’ll check now . . . ARGH! Still unavailable.

Self-help books are destroying me. My over-analytical ways are only encouraged by the countless books out there claiming to help me. Who says I need help, anyway? Hush. I heard that.

“I’ll have to try that.” I hear myself say that statement time and time again, during conversations with friends and family. We are always offering our advice about this or that; assuming how we were helped will fit nicely and neatly in another person’s life. Though really, we’re all different.

Though written words and another person’s experience may inspire, I find more insight and inspiration by doing the most simple tasks. For example, when I am making and packing my son’s lunch for school, I find a peace making his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sometimes, I get lost in the spreading of jelly across the peanut butter, attempting to cover the peanut butter perfectly, while creating an artful spread of jelly.

I find self-help in the calming (and yummy) scent of freshly made cinnamon toast. I find self-help in looking out my living room window and catching a glimpse of a deer running through the yard. I find self-help in sitting down with Joe, mesmerized while he reads to me from the books he brings home from school. To me, self-help is easily attainable when you grab hold of the good moments in life. And, when the bad moments hit, well – perhaps that is when the books are helpful. The books give us something to read through, escaping our momentary feeling of madness, until the dust settles and we see the good again. Perhaps we’re not looking for answers in the book, as much as we are looking for a diversion.

I’m not in a state of madness at the moment. Although, if you know me, you know this could change at any second. Still, as I continue to wait for a copy of “Eat, Pray, Love”, I find myself becoming obsessed with the countless self-help books being released daily. With so much help available, I may need to find a self-help book on how to learn to need more help. And, to make non-significant matters worse, next week begins the last season of Oprah. ACK! Oprah’s last season!

I wonder how many books will be released helping folks deal with Oprah’s final show: “Oprah: How to Live After the Show Ends”. Hmm . . .  Anyway, I’ll continue to check the status of “Eat, Pray, Love’ at my the library; and, in the meantime, I’m willing to bet I could find a self-help book to help me deal with my obsession of self-help books.

Memories and Classic Books

Two Girls Having Coffee, By Julian Bailey

I went to dinner with a friend, and we talked about how our kids are entering new phases in life. First, my son starts going to school Aug 2nd. And second, and more monumental, both my friend’s daughter and my boss’ daughter recently became card carrying members of the ‘monthly’ club. With that, my friend and I began to talk about when we became members of the ‘monthly’ club. We thought it was funny because we remembered the where and when we started. And, we both assumed most women remembered their where and when.

My friend and I continued walking down memory lane, recalling more memories of our own childhood and young adulthood. (No worries, Friend, I have no plans of telling our tales. Though, seriously, I am still laughing about ‘fish eyes‘ and blushing as I remember J – um, anywho…) Suffice it to say, I am amazed I am alive today. And, due to some of my past experiences, I am amazed my emotional/mental issues aren’t more intense.

Our conversation changed from memories to books, with my friend telling me about a book she read and really enjoyed. The book was written by Judy Blume. And as soon as she said ‘Judy Blume’ I flashed back to all the Judy Blume books from our childhood: Deenie, Iggie’s House, Blubber, Are you there God? It’s me Maragaret, etc. And, I remembered one Summer when my cousin and I flipped through the pages of Judy Blume’s book ‘Wifey‘. My cousin and I heard there were some steamy sex scenes in ‘Wifey‘, so we would sneak into her parents’ bedroom searching through her Mom’s copy of the book. Ah, adolescence.

After meeting with my friend, I made a point to go to the library and check out the book she recommended, ‘Summer Sisters‘. I took my boys with me, so they could pick out new books. My youngest, who just randomly pulls books off the shelf, handed me a copy of a Hardy Boys mystery. I explained to my 4yr old that the book he picked was too old for him, and I put the book back on the shelf.

Suddenly, I started to get excited. Again, Judy Blume’s books for a younger audience popped into my head, and I found myself wanting to read the books again. Adolescence was going to find me again, through my boys. Why not jog my brain with books from the past? In fact, I think reading some Hardy Boys books to the boys would be fun  . . . in a year or two.

I know there are newer books out there, similar to Hardy Boys and Blubber, but I am hoping my kids will explore the ‘classics’, too. Who knows, I may start reading the ‘Fudge’ series to my boys in the next couple of weeks. Why not let them hear the ‘Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing‘? I’m sure as heck not going to tell them the tales of my youth, well – not all the tales.