I have also been a reader, you know, that kid on the bus curled up with a book. I once missed my bus stop because I was tucked behind the seat reading so intently I missed the stop, and the bus driver didn’t see me. In the days before cell phones, I remember it being pretty traumatic. Someone called someone who called my mom to let her know I would be very late as the driver had to do the whole rest of the route.
The last two books I’ve read have both been a celebration of books and reading and I felt like I spent a week with people who understood that little girl behind the bus seat.
In Well-Read Black Girl, Glory Edim has collected heartbreaking, joyful essays by women of color about the books they loved, particularly the ones that seemed to draw from their lives, honoring those stories and inspiring these women to tell their own.
Books for Living is Will Schwalbe’s second books about books. (I have not read The End of Your Life Book Club…yet.) These are the books that have made a difference to his life, his beliefs, the way he lives. I had already started moving away from constant connectivity before reading this book and was rediscovering my love of reading, curled up with a book for an hour, being away to lose myself in a different world:
Books are uniquely suited to helping us change our relationship to the rhythms and habits of daily life in this world of endless connectivity. We can’t interrupt them; we can only interrupt ourselves while reading them. They are the expression of an individual or a group of individuals, not of a hive mind or collective consciousness. They speak to us, thoughtfully, one at a time. They demand our attention. And they demand that we briefly put aside our own beliefs and prejudices and listen to someone else’s. (p. 14)
Schwalbe suggests we should each construct a list of the books that have been important to us. It may change but those changes will be of interest, too.
I’ve been thinking about that list but am not ready to share it yet. I would love to hear what might be on your own list. Meanwhile, I have another book to read.