Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The right book at the right time

My wonderful husband gave me the gift of a solitary weekend hotel getaway for my birthday back in March, and I finally had the time to cash in on the offer this past weekend.  So off I went to Salado, TX for the first time, knowing that there was shopping and eating to be done there, but bringing along books nonetheless.  As usual, I brought more books than I knew I could read in 36 hours, but I wanted a selection to suit whatever mood I happened to be in during my stay. 

Product DetailsI have a penchant for self-improvement books, so in went my new copy of Wishcraft by Barbara Sher (a classic, never out of print, and edited for its 30th anniversary in 2009).  I also revisit the topic of feminism from time to time, and so my repeat reads of The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd and Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh landed in my bag. 
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It's been at least a year since I picked up the last two, and the first I have never read.  I'm not one for remembering specific passages from a book; rather, it's the feelings I get from a book that stay with me, and that's why I chose the last two books as traveling companions--they resonate in a positive way, even if I can't say specifically why.

Product DetailsSo which book did I ultimately take out of the bag and out to dinner both nights in Salado?  Gift from the Sea (Pantheon, 2005)--and it couldn't have been a more perfect choice. Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote this book while on sabbatical on a Floridian island, taking a break from the demands of marriage, children, home, and work.  She speaks about the fragmented life we lead, split between the tasks that come with our ever-increasing connectedness and global awareness.  Her solution for restoring balance to this crazed existence is regular periods of solitude:

"Solitude, says the moon shell.  Every person, especially every woman, should be alone sometime during the year, some part of each week, and each day. .....But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves:  that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of the whole web of human relationships." (pp 42, 44).

And there I was, sitting in an old inn, eating a solitary dinner in total peace, feeling comfortable in my solitude, with Anne Morrow Lindbergh telling me I was just where I needed to be.  What amazes me about this book is that it was originally written in 1955, yet Lindbergh's observations are still relevant, the needs of women still ringing true almost six decades later.  Truly a classic volume, and the right book at the right time for my weekend getaway. 


Product DetailsProduct DetailsOf course, I can't stay away from children's books this summer.  My two latest purchases are Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back --a Geisel Honor Book-- and Karen Cushman's Newbery winner, The Midwife's Apprentice, which I picked up in a musty old bookstore in Salado.  If you haven't read these books, PLEASE do so ASAP!  The first is a picture book, and so entertaining that even my teens love it; I can't wait to use it for an inference lesson in my classroom.  The second is another classic, short read (I finished it in two hours on the couch last night).  I was transported to 14th century England during that time, where Cushman gently described the harshness of everyday life before literacy and modern-day medicine were commonplace.  What we do have in common with those times are our human issues:  foibles, doubts, and the highs and lows of relationships.

Off to do more reading--enjoy these summer days with a book in your hand!  Here's hoping you find the right book, at the right time, for you.

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