Let’s talk about books, baby. Let’s talk about you and me…

The title of this post is inspired by a popular song in the 90s that my roommates and I might have been blasting loudly through our open windows once when our home teachers arrived.  Ahem.  Where’s that stupid life eraser when you need it?



Only in the past year have I begun to read books again.  I have a college minor in English Teaching, people, and for the last 7 years, I have stumbled through an almost completely bookless fog of raising little children.  If you are currently in that fog and long to read something besides Maisy goes to the Hospital or the nutritional information on a box of Fruit Loops, you are normal.  And I promise you that the time when you and your brain become reacquainted is not as far, far away as it seems.

So my brain and I have begun a new quest for literature.  Toward the end of 2009, I read The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society.  Lots of people had mentioned it on their blogs, so I got curious enough to try it out, and I really liked it.  I also read Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons because I eventually want to read The DaVinci Code and I had heard that A&D was the prequel.  (By the way, I saw the movie after I read the book and there were some MAJOR plot deviations that bugged me.)  Despite that fact that I’ve seen all the Jane Austen movies several times, I had not read any of the books, except for one back in 2003 when I went on a cruise.  So last month, I read all three favorites:  Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.  Loved them, of course.  Somewhere in there, I also read The Journal of Curious Letters, book one in a trilogy called The 13th Reality by James Dashner.  I have to admit that young adult sci-fi is not usually my genre of choice, but I figured that since the author took me to Homecoming in high school, I ought to give it a try.  It was pretty darn good, and I think any of your kids that liked Harry Potter would like James’ series.

Let’s see, what else?  (Be right back, I’m going to check Goodreads.com.)  Oh that’s right.  I started Wuthering Heights but didn’t really like it so I didn’t finish.  Is that bad?  I loved, loved, loved Jane Eyre.  It was the first one I read on my return to literature.  I couldn’t believe I’d never read it before.  Matt recently read The Undaunted by Gerald Lund and thinks I’ll like it.  I just finished Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl and right now I’m reading the “authorized” biography of Mother Teresa.

Here’s my current “Books I want to read list.”  There are so many that I feel like I should have read AGES ago but I never have yet:

John Adams (Paperback) by David McCullough John Adams (Paperback)
The Hiding Place (Mass Market Paperback) by Corrie Ten Boom The Hiding Place (Mass Market Paperback)
With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln (Paperback) by Stephen B. Oates With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln (Paperback)
Man's Search for Meaning (Mass Market Paperback) by Viktor E. Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning (Mass Market Paperback)
Les Misérables (Penguin Classics) by Victor Hugo Les Misérables (Penguin Classics)

So, help me out, O wise readers, and build my request list at the library.  Please.  (I almost forgot my manners.)

1.  What books have you always wanted to read and never have?

2.  Out of all your reading, if you could give me one or two must-reads, what would they be?

3.  I’m not in the mood for dark, depressing stuff.  (This is also why I never finished Crime and Punishment.)  I can appreciate it sometimes, but lately I’m in the mood for inspirational literature.  What’s been one of your favorite inspiring books?

And if you read any LDS literature, do me a favor and fill out this quick survey for my author friend, Rebecca Irvine.  It’s only 8 questions and helps her with some market research.

Thanks!  I can’t wait to see your recommendations.

p.s.  I am kind of a book prude, so show a tiny bit of restraint in your suggestions.  If the book cover looks anything like this, consider me uninterested.  (Sorry, Kristina and DeNae. *wink*)

Getting it right

Alright, there are plenty of things I mess up.  I’m not the most patient mother in the world, I’m always running late and forgetting things, and even Matt admits I’m no laundry maven, and well, let’s face it, that list could go on and on.  But I would like to focus on the positive here and publicly declare that there is one thing I do right:



I read to my kids.  A lot.  It’s the one area I spoil them in and don’t feel guilt about it.  Holiday gifts always include books.  I’m also a sucker for book orders from school.  I love that their rooms have shelves full of books that are theirs to keep and read whenever they want.  We go to the library (almost) every Monday and they check out more books.  (Due to my skill of running late and forgetting things, I also pay enough fines every few months to keep most of the library workers employed.)

And you know what?  My kids love to read now.  Grant has started trying to read chapter books, and Clark reads so well that, despite being 4 1/2, he helps Grant with the hard words like “information,” “Philistines,” and “chrysanthemum.”  Even Natalie prefers to read books on her own than be read to.  She’ll sit down, turn the pages, look at the pictures, and narrate the story by herself, making it up as she goes along.  And if I try to get them to go to bed without reading them a scripture story, they won’t let me get away with it.

I don’t usually brag.  Hopefully my readers know that.  But this is one thing I’ve done right.  And I would now like to confess that my motivation is mostly selfish.  Consider the following:

  1. When my kids are out-of-control hyper, I know I can settle them down if I offer to read them stories.  They cuddle and listen quietly.
  2. The library is a free outing that also requires a certain level of quiet.
  3. They almost always bring a book with them when we go anywhere in the car.  Translation:  quiet.
  4. Now that they are “independent” readers, I start getting them ready an hour before bedtime and then let them have reading time until lights out.  Again, extra quiet time for me.  Books are awesome.


So I’m curious, what’s something you do right?  Give yourself a little credit.

And p.s.  I am loving the General Conference book club.  You guys have made the greatest comments already and it’s not even halfway through the week.  Remember that you can click on the reply button under any comment if you want to respond directly to someone else’s comment.  And though many people have written long, awesome commentaries, yours can be as “small and simple” as you want.  There are no rules and I love just knowing that people are reading.  It seriously made me feel connected to a bunch of strangers to know that we’re all studying the same thing together and collectively getting inspired and motivated.  Awesome, ladies, keep it up!