Today's 30 Days About Me prompt brings up fond memories mixed with regret. And, I'll admit, a little bit of longing. I grew up in a home where reading was the #1 way to spend time. I devoured books like other kids soak up video games, fell in love with Laura Ingalls Wilder and a string of one-off books that I couldn't tell you a week later if I liked or not.
Sure, I played softball and went to school and played outside. But, really, we read. My mom had Harlequin romances all over the house, so when I was brave I'd sneak a Danielle Steele novel or two. As I grew I moved on to the V.C. Andrews series and then later became obsessed with the tales so sensuously spun by Anne Rice.
The real life hit; college, full time work, more work, then kids and a family. And now, instead of reading books I seem to collect them. I pick them up at yard sales, Half Price Books and anywhere else one catches my eye. I always have the best of intentions, even daydream about a weekend completely free to curl up, preferably on a comfy chair on the back deck, with a big glass of something cold, and all the time in the world to read.
That never happens, of course. So this prompt is easier than listing a favorite song or a movie, because the pickings are slim as of late. In recent memory, my favorite book is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved it before she was on Oprah, before it was a Julia Roberts flick and before there were perfumes to represent her travels in Italy, India and Bali.
Maybe it was because I picked it up at the right time. She was writing about finding herself during and after a divorce; I was going through a divorce. She was writing about losing her passion for life; mine had drained away. Reading her story, even though I knew full well that I'd never travel to those exotic places or meet people like she did, gave me hope. That after all that pain comes something better; that we do indeed survive and grow stronger. That there is hope.
Today, though my favorite is by Alice Steinbach. I stumbled on her books at Half Price Books in the travel section, as I was skimming the shelves, pretending I was planning a trip and deciding where to go. I picked up both Without Reservations and Educating Alice. So far I've only read half way through the first, but I love it. She shares the story of traveling alone, for a year, to Paris, London…..and I'm not sure where else yet. I enjoy her writing style but more so the candor with which she writes. I'm living vicariously through her; even though I'm a single mom in a crappy rental townhouse, I feel like I'm strolling the rue du Bac. Even when I have to come back to reality, the thought that others are satisfying their wanderlust is satisfying for me.