The bookcase in my living room
You know how certain smells and songs can transport you to a different time? I’ve got a similar situation with books. Looking at my bookshelf, and resting my eyes on certain books, brings me back to different periods of my life.
Let me share a few with you:
I read Aunties - Our Older, Cooler, Wiser Friends in 2001. It was the year my first nephew was born, and the year I was beginning my teaching career. I had great aspirations for the type of aunt I hoped to be, and the type of teacher I hoped to be. I can distinctly remember sitting in the LAUSD headquarters in downtown L.A., waiting for my name to be called, and reading Aunties.
I read Elizabeth Berg’s Open House during my first year of teaching. I tried bringing the book with me to read bits of it during my lunch break. And I learned that magazines made better reading material for those all-too-brief lunch breaks.
I read Jane Green’s The Other Woman in 2005 during our trip to Paris. I made sure to have a “fun” novel with me to distract me from the terror I felt during my first (and so-far only) international trip.
I read Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions during the first weeks of my son’s life. Babies don’t come with operating instructions, and I was desperately afraid of doing something wrong, of mistakenly hurting this angel -- my son. When Ryan would wake up in the middle of the night, I would feed him, and settle him back in his crib. But before heading off to bed myself, I’d sit and read for a bit until I knew Ryan was sleeping again, and it was safe for me to return to bed.
And, I read Last Song by Nicholas Sparks in the summer of 2010. It was the book I had with me when I was hospitalized for four days. And, stuck in that hospital bed, I wished I had a different novel to occupy my time. (I had started it before the hospitalization). A tear-jerker was not exactly the type of book I needed to try and distract me from the pain, the shots, and the tests involved with a hospitalization.