Learning to read was hard for me. Harder than it was for my sister, at least.
I was homeschooled then, so it was my mom who was teaching me. She tried all the normal tactics, the alphabet groupings and sounding out and picture associations. Nothing.
Finally, she tried a program called “Sing, Spell, Read, and Write” which combined learning to read with music. I basically learned to read overnight.
And then I couldn’t stop. In second grade, each student was to make a caterpillar and tape it to the wall. In each circle of the caterpillar, we were to write the book we had just finished. The longer your caterpillar, the more books you had read.
My caterpillar wrapped around the room twice.
This exhaustive intro is simply to say: I’m a reader. I have been for most of my life, and I can’t stop now.
Here are a few books I’ve read lately that I recommend:
World Without End, by Ken Follett
Follett’s first book in this series, Pillars of the Earth, I read about a year ago. Both are sweeping epics that cover decades of time, but, surprisingly kept my attention the whole time. I recommend it if you love a big story with a little of everything.
The Defining Decade, by Meg Jay, PhD
The Defining Decade. I could not put this down. Finished it in two days.
If you are in your twenties: please read this. Now.
This book made me feel validated. Not because I think my life is particularly on track. But I have a natural inclination to take my choices seriously. And for a while, I let society make me feel bad or embarrassed about that. Like maybe I should just be having fun, not caring about very much.
I don’t at all think Dr. Jay is surmising that we shouldn’t have any fun in our twenties. Her point is merely: take your life seriously. You only have one and time runs out faster than you think.
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
Ah, Cheryl Strayed. I would venture to say that many who have read her story relate very little to the actual nuances and specifics of it. I’ve not lost a parent, been divorced, gone hiking for more than a weekend.
Why then, is this book so popular?
I think because Strayed writes inclusively and honestly and her emotions are ones we can all relate to. Have you ever felt like you couldn’t stop fucking things up, no matter how hard you tried, and how much you didn’t want to be fucking things up?
Yeah, then you will like this book.
American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld
This book is fiction, loosely based off the life of Laura Bush. How loosely? I wish I knew so bad.
But I can tell you this, I have rarely related to protagonists as profoundly as I did to Alice Walker, the main character in this novel. And the idea that even some of it might be true? Fascinating.
Tell me: what have you been reading lately?