Reading, and the escapism it affords, have been comforts in my life for as long as I can remember. It was disappointing to me, after giving birth to Baby #1, to discover that my new-found “Mommy Brain” was mucking that up. It was difficult to concentrate on what I was reading when I could actually stay awake long enough to read! Over time, I settled back into my comfortable routines of reading current events throughout the week in Time Magazine and having either a novel or a work of nonfiction on hand to occupy my mind. I’ve become more selective in my reading as I’ve grown older, in the interest of making the best use of my limited time to indulge. If a book doesn’t grab me 30 pages in, I put it aside. It doesn’t mean I won’t go back to it, it just means I can’t invest time in it right now because I’m not connecting with it.
When I received my breast cancer diagnosis, my battle with insomnia began. At first it was the unknown that kept me awake. Later, during chemotherapy, it was the cocktail of medications. I seized the opportunity to tackle my ever-growing list of books to read. Immersing myself in Naomi Novik’s historical and fictitious account of the Napoleonic Wars fought with dragons or tensely turning pages while rooting for Radar in Reif Larsen’s latest creative endeavor carried me through many sleepless nights. The days, hours, and minutes passed by slowly when I wasn’t feeling well. Books took my mind places that my body simply could not.
These stories became my therapy. They were my lifeline to something beyond myself and my current situation. They gave me mental focus and a responsibility, too, to stay with the characters to the end of their journeys. I can’t stress how important these things were for me.
The Goodreads website/app has become a necessary tool to track what interests me and for remembering what I’ve read previously. There have been occasions where I’ve forgotten completely that I’ve already read a book, (thank you, chemo brain, here and here), so saving my ratings and reviews is valuable. I’ve become addicted to recording my critiques and entering book giveaways for titles that are on my want-to-read list. Find me on Goodreads on my profile page.
As a new feature to this blog, I’ve added Book Recommendations. My first post comes from the brilliant Toni Morrison, who I was introduced to when I was a college student. Her novel Beloved was required reading in the African American Literature class I took, and I spent the following summer reading every other book she had published to date. Her lyrical prose, her insight into humanity’s flaws and strengths, and her riveting story lines inspired me to be a better, more engaged reader.
Check out the new Worms in my Salad page here.
Tell me what you’ve read recently and why I should read it, too!