Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved books and reading. From the first easy reader books to The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High series, through all of the different libraries and bookstores I’ve visited, from books as decor to writing my own books, I love everything about books and reading. So I thought it would be fun to visit some of my favorite book-related moments.
Reading War and Peace
This is a case of reading the right book at the right time. In fact, the book itself is almost beside the point. Here’s what I mean. Right before Matthew was born (3 days before, in fact!), I had my last day of work at a hotel and became a full time stay-at-home mom. It was something that was absolutely the right decision for me and for our little family, but I also had a bit of a hard time with it.
Every moment involved these little people, and I lost a bit of myself. So we instituted “mommy me time” which was a couple hours every Sunday afternoon where I would leave the house by myself. Sometimes I ran errands, but most of the time, I went to a coffee shop and read a book. And one of the books I read was War and Peace. It took six months of mommy me time to get through that book, and the first few weeks I was reading it I wasn’t sure if this was a smart undertaking, because there were a lot of characters to get used to, and remembering from week to week was tricky.
Eventually I got into the story, and it was a beautiful arc of character redemption, as well as a time for me to remember who I was – the person who enjoyed reading meatier classic literature, seeing themes, dissecting passages. Things I used to do but hadn’t since college.
Reading War and Peace was about more than just the story, although I think it’s well worth the time. For me, it was also finding myself in a time where I was adjusting to new roles, and it meant a lot to me. (Read more here)
Visiting Shakespeare & Company in Paris
Jesse and I took a trip to Paris in spring of 2014. We saw so many beautiful things, ate delicious food, and enjoyed a week away from the kids. One of the places we visited was Shakespeare & Company.
I love browsing bookstores at any point, but wandering among French and English books, picking out a book for the kids, and playing the piano on the second floor rank as one of my favorite things we did on our trip.
Being on the What Should I Read Next podcast
I’ve listened to What Should I Read Next since the beginning (although I’m currently behind by quite a few episodes), and at one point Anne sent out an email asking for readers to talk about tracking reading. I responded to the email, talking about the journal I had back in my grade school days to keep track of books, authors, and page counts. I don’t have that journal any more, although I wish I did!
Anne emailed back and asked if I’d like to be part of a group episode about all sorts of different tracking systems, and of course I said yes! I still have her listed in my Skype contacts, because it’s just fun to see her profile pop up there along with my family and friends. My part of the episode is only a few minutes long, but that episode also prompted me to start tracking my reading in more detail again, and that’s been a very helpful decision for my reading life.
Now in addition to title and author, I also write down a few positives and negatives for what I read, so I can look back at it later to know why I liked something, or to see common themes show up, like the fact that I really like diving into dystopian or fantasy worlds, but only if they’re well established and have some depth. (Read more here)
Publishing my first cookbook
I’ve written and published three cookbooks, and I’m working on my fourth, but my first book will always hold a special place in my heart. I learned so many things about recipe development, photography, marketing, and my nemesis formatting during the process of creating that book.
It’s also my most popular cookbook, and I think that’s because it’s my favorite, and people can tell. It’s the one that came from the start of our gluten free journey, and wanting to have favorite recipes in a way that we could eat them.
Not only that, I’ve dreamed since I was a little girl of being a published author, although cookbooks weren’t on my radar. So to hold my first book in my hands, and to see other people enjoying it, was pretty much amazing. (Read more here)
Enjoying Harry Potter through my kids’ eyes
I’m just the right age to have read the Harry Potter books as they came out. I never attended any of the midnight release parties, but there were at least a few of the books that we got the day the came out, and my sister and I fought over who got to read them first. I’ve read the entire series multiple times, and now my kids are at the age where they’re reading them too.
Jonah and Matthew have both read the whole series, and Hannah has started the first book. Jonah asked if we could reread the series together this summer, so we’re taking turns reading each book. After reading the books, they get to watch the movie with mom, one on one. Not only do they get to see a different form of the story, but they also get that special time with mom, which is important too.
I know it’s not everyone’s favorite series, but I love a good fantasy story, the fight between good and evil, and all the fun quirks of a magical land. I race through the books every time I read them, and to see my kids get sucked into a good book is one of my favorite things as a parent.
Our book tastes don’t overlap everywhere, but fantasy and adventure is the sweet spot, at least so far, and I’m loving being able to read good books and watch my kids enjoy them too.
So there you have it. Five of my favorite book-related moments. I’d love to hear one of yours – share in the comments below!