Monday, January 28, 2008

What I'm reading and admiring so far in '08

I like winter---in small doses. (I have to add that because if I don't I will wake to seven feet of snow blocking the front door, which will cause me to turn into that guy from The Shining quicklike).

So, suffice it to say that I appreciate some seasonal chilliness once in awhile, I mean it IS January, for Al Gore's sake. (Love you, Al! Call me!) Also, it gives me the perfect excuse to curl up with a book and my $29 down-alternative throw from Cosco. Both are best enjoyed while making sweet love to a huge mug of sugar-free Swiss Miss.

We're a happy library family here at Casa Pellin, although sometimes I find the trip a tad frustrating. Much like wandering the video store aisles, an aimless search among the stacks can often prove overwhelming for me. It must've been all those nights in the early 00's reading "Here Comes The Truck!" and "How A Princess Gets Dressed"---for a while there I wasn't sure what the grown-up me liked to read anymore.

But now I get the pleasure of finding out all over again.

Don't get me wrong. I still love to read to my kids. Ramona Quimby, Junie B. Jones and that blessed farting dog, whatshisname, are alive and kickin' around here. But, since most of my friends have little ones too, I needed some suggestions on some good hibernation material that doesn't include colorful illustrations or an accompanying sing-along CD.

Recently I was flipping through a "Good Housekeeping" magazine while waiting for my oil change. It was the ONLY remotely female mag in the tiny little waiting area. The guys there already know I don't know nothin' 'bout fixin' no cars, so I'm not about to put on any airs by thumbing through Car and Driver, OK? Anyway--so not the point! GH has a piece in every issue now called "A Good Read" with a list of books recommended by their staffers. Guidance! I obediently marched down to our local branch that afternoon (um, well, this is Charlotte, so I zoomed over in my mini-van, found a killer space, THEN I marched). Here's what I found:

"Here If You Need Me" by Kate Braestrup. I found myself reading aloud to Hubs a lot from this book, which he usually hates, but he forgave me for this one. That's how good it is! This is an autobiography of a young widow and mom of four who also happens to be a chaplain for the Maine Wildlife service. She brings home the bacon, fries it up in a pan, and then gets called out to encourage, console and pray with the families of people and children lost in the Maine woods. Yes, we do need you, Kate!

"The Myth of You and Me" by Leah Stewart. This one was written by a Carolina girl, and if that's not reason enough to go out and grab it, it's won a couple of fancy awards, too. Because it's so effin' good. For anyone who's ever had a bestest friend who totally crapped on you once or twice but you loved them anyway, not in a pathetic co-dependent way, but an unconditional, kill-or-die,love-you-even-if-you-write-run-on-sentences way, this is for you. She also published a mystery called "Body of a Girl" that's currently on request at my library; I think I'm fourth on the wait list, so get in line, ladeeez!

Those are the only ones I've had time for so far, and GH is two-for-two on their picks!

I just adore books. Growing up in a three-channel-TV house (and one of those was fuzzy), books were of grave importance to me. If I can just get all personal-growthy for a minute, they became part of who I am. It's such a treat getting to see my kids discover what they love to read and have read to them. I can proudly say I know every word to "Here Comes The Truck" by heart because I read it eleventy-seven times to one Nathaniel Pellin from the time he was one year old until oh, about two months ago. That's when he discovered "Here Comes The Fire Truck!" Sigh. I sense a pattern.

As for Liv, she's actually started asking to cut our nightly storytime short so she can read a little of her favorites by herself in her room. This makes me want to beam with pride and burst into tears all at once. It's the gradual end of an era, of snuggling with her in bed and reading and re-reading "Dora In The Lost City," and "Bear Stays Up For Christmas" (even in August).

She's got new pals like American Girl Stories and A to Z Mysteries. I swear, she is like a garden. Every single day, every minute, there's something new and amazing there that you didn't notice before. Like little crocus shoots breaking through frozen soil. Or the first, finger-shaped daffodil bud, destined to be a yellow beauty.

Or a girl becoming a reader.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My fondest memories are sneaking out from the children's section of the library to the grown up section and then begging my mom to check one or two out for me. And in turn, whenever I come across a book that I used to read to my daughter when she was young, I am transported back in time. I hope the book cycle will continue with my daughter's daughter and forever more because books definitely become our friends and anchor us in our lives. Thanks for helping me remember that, Tracy.