It is freezing cold here in Northwest Ohio, finally. We really can’t complain. It has felt like spring up until now; we knew it couldn’t last.
Freezing cold makes me want to stay in and hopefully not have to go out until spring, but alas I have to get up each morning and trek to work. When I get home the thing I enjoy doing the most is not watching T.V., it’s reading.
I have a pretty big collection of books that really flies in the face of my attempts at minimalism, but I love them, and can’t seem to break the habit of an in-home library. Looking on Pinterest for a list of books today, I found this article on The Modern Mrs. Darcy about the 9 books we all should have read in high school but maybe didn’t, or maybe like me you just don’t remember what books you read in high school. I love lists like this; mostly because they give me a direction. She includes: The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Mrs. Dalloway. I would include a few others: Dracula by Bram Stoker, A Wind In The Door by Madeleine L’Engle, Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, and maybe one by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. I’ll have to go to the library to get a couple of these, but that is just going to remind me of a few more books I want to read.
Back in 2010, when I was driving loads of miles on my adjunct teaching circuit (I taught at about 6 schools and sometimes taught as many as 8 classes), I stopped at a used bookstore during a break, and I found a book by Louise Dickinson Rich called We Took To The Woods. It’s an autobiographical account of Rich’s experience living in the backwoods of Maine, and it was first published in 1942. I don’t know why this book spoke to me, I credit it with my love affair of living off the grid. Every night I would hurry home from teaching my college English classes, change into warm flannel pajamas, crawl into bed with my two cats at my feet, and read until I could no longer keep my eyes open. Rich’s matter of fact language and her honesty in recounting her life in the woods transported me every night for weeks to her cabin in the woods. What heightened the experience for me was at the time I was living in a tiny guest house with an urban woods surrounding me. I have read her book at least 3 times, and writing about it now, I know I’ll pick it up again soon and “visit” her in her little log cabin.
Books have a way of transporting us like that; it is almost cliche to say so. I think making an effort to gather a stack of books for reading, either around a theme or from a particular time in your life that you want to recapture, can be life giving and uplifting. For Boomers, reading books we read in high school or wished we had read in high school, might help us realize long lost dreams or deal with long buried problems. Whatever the reason I’d encourage you to try this during these cold months of winter. And if you are so lucky to live someplace temperate like Oregon or Washington or Northern California or even better someplace warm like Florida, I’d still encourage you to make a pile of your favorite books and start reading.
You can search on Google for a particular year that interests you – for example, the year you were born, the year you graduated from high school or college, the year your first child was born – just pick a theme and start your search. On Goodreads (which I encourage you to become a member and follow me) there are all kinds of suggestions and lists to spark your reading interests. Happy reading. Let me know in the comments what you are reading, or connect with me on Goodreads.