Sunday, May 02, 2010

Story time

I love books. Love them. I remember when I was young, our town had one bookstore. It was a B. Dalton Booksellers, and my mom took my brother and me there often. By far, my favorite thing about the store was the smell. The smell of a bookstore remains a welcoming and soothing aroma to me. I feel like I am being hugged when I walk into one.

That B. Dalton became a pivotal place for me; I would thumb through the latest junior novels and classics time and time again, finally choosing something that caught my interest. I brought it home and read it loyally. And I fell in love with the feeling of what a book can do. It can stir up your greatest passions, or break your heart. A book can reveal a problem or plant a seed of learning. It can make you feel scared, cry bitterly, or inspire courage. I continue my pilgrimages as often as I can.

I wish today I had more time to read, particularly fiction and classics. But with the little time I do have, I now lean toward books from which I can glean something helpful – marriage and parenting books mostly – and books that challenge my faith. I will include the fact that I spend a LOT of time reading with my kids. I spend too much money on books for them. And when they outgrow certain ones, I have to stop myself from boxing them up and saving them for their kids. (OK, certain ones I will save forever and ever and if a fire burns down my house, I’ll just buy them all up again!)

Books are both powerful and precious to me. In many instances, they act as mile markers for my life. At certain stages, God has given me a book right when I needed it, to guide me and teach me and love me. And for my children’s lives, I always turn to books to aid me in teaching them during transitions and challenges.

When I was pregnant with my second, my daughter and I read Minnie and Her Baby Brother.

When my son broke his leg at 2 years old, we read Maisy Goes to the Hospital.

When my daughter started preschool, we read I Love You All Day Long and The Kissing Hand.

When both my grandparents died this year, we read God Gave us Heaven.

Your head would spin if you knew the number of times I read both the boy and girl version of Once Upon a Potty. (I can nearly recite it: “What was it? Was it a flower pot? Was it a hat? Was it a bowl for the cat? NO! It was a potty!" This one deserves a photo. Motherhood is so glamorous!)

Books are irrevocably intertwined with my memories. They are a beautiful part of the pages of my story. So I decided I would begin to write book reviews on my blog. Most of us love new recommendations, and there are so many great pieces of writing – for grown-ups and kids – that can be instrumental in our own personal stories. (Now I just have to decide which one I'll write about first!)

Ultimately, God is a lover of a good story. That is why our lives are filled with drama and adventure. He is the ultimate author, and that fact forms the basis for this entire blog. We are all enrapt in His story for each of us, whether we realize it, or want it, or not. The idea that I am reading my way through life, and that I am simultaneously being written through life is thrilling to me. God writes only epics, and I love being the heroine of one. I imagine, in my book review posts, you won't be able to separate the story itself from the power of it in my own. Regardless, I hope you enjoy my informal suggestions for a good read, and I hope you have some recommendations for me as well.

God made man because He loves stories.
- Elie Wiesel, 1928

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