I’m usually taken aback when I have conversations similar to the one I had yesterday afternoon. It was my day off, and I went out for lunch by myself. It was a spontaneous lunch out, but of course I had a book with me (those who know me somewhat well know that I’m seldom without a book, whether I’m at home, or at work, or on the bus, or…well, anywhere). A chatty little lady was sitting by herself in the booth across the aisle, and as we waited for our meals, she commented that the book I was reading must be funny — obviously, I wasn’t succeeding at containing my laughter! Our conversation went something like this:
Her: You look like you’re enjoying that book!
Me: Oh, I am — it’s hilarious! I just started it yesterday, and I can’t put it down.
Her: Do you read a lot?
Me: Yeah, quite a lot. I’m a slow reader, but I’ve always got something on the go.
Me: Do you read much?
Me: Oh. I get recommendations from friends or magazines or Google, and then I order them from the library.
Her: Oh, the library…
Me: Ah, yes, I love the library.
Her: Hmm… I live right by the library, but I don’t think I’ve ever been there.
Me (inside): Really??! Wow. How can that be? I can’t even imagine. No way. We’re all different, I guess, but …. wow!
Me: Ha, ha. Well, it’s a pretty fantastic place.
Me (inside): How can a person not want to at least occasionally be surrounded by a million books? How would I breathe without books? What is the mall or downtown without a bookstore? I can live without TV and, to an extent, without Internet, and I’m doing fine without a car… but life without my library card? I just don’t know….
Of course, we are all different, and that’s what makes the world an interesting place. I don’t actually frown on people who don’t read much — some of my closest friends shrug and say, “Reading? Meh. I could take it or leave it.” The Handyman doesn’t read much, and I think he’s all right! I do understand that, like an acquaintance said the other day, a five-hour hike is what feeds others’ souls, what gets them by, what inspires them. Fair enough.
Lately, I’ve been reading more memoirs than usual. I laughed myself silly on an airplane while reading Lauren Graham’s “Talking as Fast as I Can” — the part about “Slap That Bass” just cracked me up so much that I don’t know if my seatmate thought I was laughing or crying! Ian Brown’s book “The Boy in the Moon” really hit home for me, because my sister has some severe cognitive disabilities. I love the raw honesty with which Ian shares his fears and sadness, and the way he describes his love for his son…that warms my heart. Jaycee Dugard’s books are about the horrifying experience she had when she was kidnapped and in captivity for many years; fortunately, she survived the ordeal and is doing well now. Her memoirs are disturbing and frightening and sad, but also surprisingly hopeful. I’d definitely recommend them.
I’m an expert at taking things personally, even when they have nothing to do with me, and I’m great at ruminating. I only wish that my first thought in the morning is that all the people in my circle are life-affirming and uplifting and want only the best for me. But! Reality! That’s not how life works! Hence, I read, read, read. I read about behaviours and personalities, about effective methods of dealing with certain situations, about what’s going on under the surface. I read so I can free up my mind. I read so I can have peace of mind. I read so that I stop taking everything to heart.
And…it’s been a year of babies! And I know almost absolutely nothing about babies. I was fascinated by Desmond Morris’s book “Amazing Babies,” full of detailed descriptions of everything in a baby’s life, and also tons of adorable pictures.
When I was at Mosaic bookstore a few weeks ago, “Conscious Uncoupling” caught my attention. Anything to do with loss, grief, letting go, finding beauty in the hurtful things in life, developing into good human beings even though life throws us unfair circumstances that baffle us beyong anything we ever imagined — I’m interested in learning about that!
So, here it is — Tania’s Autumnal Reading List!
The Boy in the Moon: a father’s search for his disabled son — Ian Brown Motorcycle Therapy: a Canadian adventure in Central America — Jeremy Kroeker Through Dust and Darkness: a motorcycle journey of fear and faith in the Middle East — Jeremey Kroeker Love Shrinks: a memoir of a marriage counselor’s divorce — Sharyn Wolf The Parrot Who Owns Me: the story of a relationship — Joanna Burger Talking as Fast as I Can: from Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and everything in between) — Lauren Graham White Walls: a memoir about motherhood, daughterhood, and the mess in between — Judy Batalion A Stolen Life: a memoir — Jaycee Dugard
Freedom: my book of firsts — Jaycee Dugard The Prison Book Club — Ann Walmsley
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? — Frans de Waal Amazing Baby: the amazing story of the first two years of life — Desmond Morris Animals in Translation: using the mysteries of autism to decode animal behaviour — Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
Conscious Uncoupling: five steps to living happily even after — Katherine Woodward Thomas Five Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life: identifying and dealing with narcissists, sociopaths, and other high-conflict personalities — Bill Eddy Confessions of a Sociopath: a life spent hiding in plain sight — M.E. Thomas The Disease to Please: curing the people-pleasing syndrome — Harriet Braiker The Joy of Conflict Resolution: transforming victims, villains, and heroes in the workplace and at home — Gary Harper
When Helping Hurts: how to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor…and yourself — Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett
I’m Fine…And Other Lies — Whitney Cummings How to Do Everything: (from the man who should know) — Red Green (Steve Smith)