August 24, 2009

Eat Pray Love All Day!

Today I am sick, no…maybe just exhausted from imagining my husband having an abdominal aortic aneurysm. I take my Ziacam and cough less, snuggling in bed with “Eat Pray Love”… enjoying the read!

I remember lying on our old plaid couch in our family room in Elverson reading, it was probably something girly and nonsensical like an old Grace Livington Hill book. The sun would drop behind the trees in the woodlands and I would be squinting…just a few more pages before the girls would ask why I was reading in the dark and if we were ever having dinner? I just needed some comic relief raising four girls with a husband who was on the road quite often.

Reading was a necessity in life, I read to the girls, they loved books! I had them read to each other and we wandered around the Dalton’s Book at Cutler Ridge Mall taking turns pushing the youngest in a stroller while we searched out interesting books and sat on the floor Indian style sucking it all in. I often tell the girls we were the originators of the current book store trends where people are welcomed to read for hours in comfy chairs. Back then, no one complained about sitting on the floor.

As the years passed and the girls grew older, I graduated to the Coral Gables Library where I spent every Wednesday night waiting for them to finish youth group or choir or whatever. Art, movies, history of religion, psychology, science, autobiographies jumped from the pages of books, magazines and even those machines with the tapes in them! There were also chairs, but from time to time, I still sat on the floor amongst the book shelves. I loved those evenings!!

My father never finished high school; he worked with his father and became a cement mason. Being an excellent craftsman gave him certain satisfaction but deep inside he always felt uneducated. When my brother went to college, it seemed to bring something vicariously to his learning soul but he yearned to study everything about the world around him… and reading was his outlet. He ferociously read everything he got his hands on, becoming more of a scholar than he realized. I would not describe myself like that but I feel that same hunger to know about everything, and reading is my delight and pleasure too.

But I have a little sickness about my reading, I am so afraid I will miss a good book, especially if it is about a topic I love, or am interested in. Sooooo I order books constantly on Having my iPhone Amazon, makes buying that much easier! In Jan 2009 I asked 10 co-workers I love and respect, what book they thought I should read this year, there's ten right there (no I didn't buy them all) So books are everywhere, on shelves, in piles and stashed away! Many started but then set aside when next one arrived.

Here are just a few

Held at a Distance
The Art of Aging
The Hole in the Gospel
Fostering Health
Let Them In
Change Your Brain Change Your Life
The White Man’s Burden
The New Friars
Aging With Grace
Dare to Journey
Escape from Slavery
Dr. Sa’eed of Iran
Natural Medicine in the Tropics Treatments

Suddenly what I love has become depressing, I tell myself I am an irresponsible steward for buying so many books. I mentally make a schedule of how I can get these books read! Since I love reading so much, shouldn't I take care of my responsibilities first? There's the cleaning, wash and how about the thank you notes and isn’t writing to the grandchildren more important!!? Shouldn’t I be checking my work emails if I called in sick?? Then I have an epiphany, I remember what Elizabeth Gilbert writes in this book I am reading. She questions her sense of Puritanical guilt, does she deserve this or that pleasure? She describes it as an American concept too, have I earned a pleasure? How can I read??...have I earned this privilege yet?? Oh dear how “OFF” is that, does it ever happen to you??

Well that’s me…. But today I decided …I don’t need a Taskmaster to rule my reading life, who shames me for buying books or my reading performance, no!!!... I kicked him out the front door and turned the lock behind him! At my age, maybe I just need to "throw caution to the wind" and read ALL day if I wish! Yes, that is an excellent idea…and when I am done this book I might just find my old Grace Livingston Hill books!!

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