When I was in fourth and fifth grade, I competed in the Book Bowl. When you read all (12? 15?) Sunshine State books for the year, you qualified for the Book Bowl and you battled the other elementary schools on trivia questions about the stories. I vaguely remember getting the list and begging my mom to take me to the library so I could put them on hold. It’s also important to note that I was undefeated at #1 on the AR point wall in the library for like, ever. I bought a Stuart Little remote control car and a “day as a librarian” pass with my spoils.
Though it’s been over a decade since I read a Boxcar Children book, I still love to get lost in a book. On my 20th birthday, Kent and I were newly dating and I asked him to torrent me books for my Nook, my present from my parents. He loaded that baby up with HUNDREDS of books. (Yes, not ethically but that’s besides the point right now!) I tore through over a dozen Patricia Cornwell novels and sobbed my eyes out for the third time reading Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. Reading has that magical ability to take you into a world that you create with your imagination, not a world that’s fed to you over a tub of popcorn.
Every paycheck, I buy myself a book. Sometimes two books if I get excited/can’t decide/find a great Amazon Prime price. Over Christmas Break I read Amy Poehler’s ‘Yes Please’ and loved every last scrupple of her witty words. I felt an obvious next choice would be Lena Dunham’s ‘Not That Kind Of Girl’ which left me disappointed by page 52. I’ve put that one down and have a wealth of opinions about Lena, but that’s another day and another blog post.
Some books I’ve read lately that have been hard to put down:
Yes Please – Amy Poehler
Homegirl is a great writer. I’m still thinking about how beautifully she addressed the subject of her divorce, saying “I don’t think a 10-year marriage constitutes failure” which was followed by “Divorce really sucks.” I read it during a car ride to Tampa and was honestly bummed out when I finished it. It left me feeling like Amy and I would be friends, if I were a witty comedian/celebrity/disgruntled state employee.
Spiritual Midwifery – Ina May Gaskin
Anyone with a vagina should read this! Anyone who plans on supporting someone who will push a human out of their vagina should read this! While you’re at it, read ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth’ too – just for good measure. I’m a strong believer in the power and strength of a woman’s body and this books instills that. I’ve read a bunch of Ina May’s books and when I put each one down, I feel like an invincible, bad ass woman who is gifted with the opportunity to grow a human. Spiritual Midwifery opens with a sea of birth stories from women who gave birth in the 1960-70s in school buses, log cabins, under the trees and on a farm. It later goes into the birthing process, anatomy and physiology of a pregnant woman during labor, etc. I think birth is a naturally frightening thought for a lot of people, but Ina May really brings it down to a natural level that makes you wanna have five babies without anesthesia. Well, not really, but you get the point.
Creativity, Inc. – Ed Catmull
I ordered this off Amazon ($15! Prime!) while I was sitting in a leadership talk. The woman speaking said it was inspiring and was a great read for someone managing, a creative person, or both. I’ve had to try my hand at leading/managing lately and I love Pixar, so why not! I really wasn’t expecting such an engrossing book from a “how-to” type of book – but Ed Catmull tells the story of his career, Pixar and Disney in that same warmth that made me feel like I’d be friends with Amy Poehler. Addressing change, accepting mistakes, keeping inspiration alive and the communication of a successful team are a handful of the things Ed writes about, often while explaining the company culture at Pixar which is fascinating by itself.
I read because I love to, but sometimes feel I don’t have the time. As a part of my 101 in 1,001 challenge, I’m pushing myself to read at least 12 books a year.