Books, Books, and More Books

Last week, I did something I haven’t done since early 2020.

I went inside my public library.

During the pandemic, I was lucky enough to still be checking out books from my library, but through a system of reserving specific titles and arranging a day and time to pick them up.

But the library is open again. Open for leisurely browsing. For stocking up. For being in awe of the sheer number of books I have yet to read.

I first thought I’d go into the library with no plans. Just me, my library card, and my empty tote bag. And I’d stroll among the shelves, picking up books, reading the summaries on the back cover, and bringing home as many books as I wanted. (Or as many as I could carry in my bag.)

But then that thought made me feel a bit overwhelmed. There is such a thing as too much choice. 

So I handled the visit to the library the same way I handle my grocery shopping.

It’s considered foolish to grocery shop on an empty stomach. I thought the same rule should apply to me in a library. I was hungry for books. For the freedom to walk in and pick up books because something — a cover, a title — caught my eye. 

So I made a list.

I went online and accessed the library’s catalog. And wrote down the call numbers for books that had been on my “want-to-read” list. I limited myself to eight books. (I’m not sure how I settled on eight, except that ten seemed too many, and eight seemed close enough to ten.)

I went to the library and made my way around the shelves, gathering my books, until my bag was heavier than I expected (I didn’t realize one book was a hardcover and over 400 pages long). 

And I came home happy. With eight books including memoir (Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood), poetry (Mary Oliver’s Devotions), and fiction (Linda Holmes’s Evvie Drake Starts Over) to name a few.

Libraries are open again, and in case you couldn’t tell, I was smiling under my mask.

(The public library still requires patrons to wear masks in consideration of the younger readers who don’t yet have access to a vaccine.)

Thinking Pink Means Reading Pink

It’s June 23rd which means it’s National Pink Day. A day to celebrate “all things pink.” 

Some might think of the color pink and think of baby girls or cotton candy. 

Some might think of the singer and songwriter.

And others might think of Elle Woods and Legally Blonde

I learned about National Pink Day and thought of books. 

Here are some of my favorite pink books.

Beyond the Diaper Bag created by Megan Bekkedahl and Melaina Lausen

This book has a special place in my heart. It was the first time one of my personal essays (“5 Things I Wish Every Parent Knew Before Sending their Child to Kindergarten”) was published in an anthology.

Swapping Lives by Jane Green

A novel I read years ago that takes you on the journey of “What if…” What if you could imagine a different life? What if you stepped into another woman’s life?

The Victoria’s Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming and Other Lessons I Learned From Breast Cancer by Jennie Nash

This book showed me in a big way that authors publish books that are collections of personal essays. I read this book and thought, “Yes, it can be done. Yes, I can write about my autoimmune disease.”

The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love With Me by Keah Brown

Another book that has served as inspiration, giving me a nudge, encouraging me to write my story. 

In case you missed it, you can click here to read my earlier blog post, “Connecting With The Pretty One.”

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

I checked this novel out of the library but enjoyed it so much I bought my own copy to add to my personal library collection.

Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change by Maggie Smith

I won an advance reader’s edition from a Goodreads Giveaway (the only time I have won from the many giveaways I have entered). You’ll find my copy is full of sticky notes marking the many encouraging statements. A book I’ll return to again and again.

Chronic Resilience by Danea Horn

I consider it an act of serendipity that I discovered this important book. It is a must-read for anyone living with a chronic illness. (I have read it more than once and emailed a fan letter/thank you note to the author!)

What about you readers? Any favorite pink books? 

5 Inspirational Books

Did you know Friday, August 9th is National Book Lovers Day?

To celebrate – the day; the power of books; and those of us who find comfort, knowledge, and entertainment between their pages; I’d like to share with you books I have found helpful, inspirational, and just plain good.  Books I have turned to (some of them more than once) as I navigate this journey of living with an invisible disability.

The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan.  You can click here to read my blog post citing some of the passages that most touched me.

Chronic Resilience by Danea Horn.  This is one of the few books I ordered from Amazon without ever having seen a physical copy of the book.  I’m so glad I did.  I’ve read it a few times now.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.  You can click here to read the blog post I wrote while in the middle of reading this book. I will tell you that this was one of those books that started conversations among people I didn’t know, people who saw me carrying this book and reading this book and felt a connection to it as well.

Everybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts.  This book came recommended by a friend of mine (you can read my blog post about it here). 

And that led me to:

From the Heart: Eight Rules to Live By by Robin Roberts.  You can click here to read my blog post, gushing with praise for this book. 

 

 

Readers, I’d love to learn about the books you turn to for help, for guidance, for strength, or just a plain-ole-good read!  Feel free to share in the comments section.