A favourite guilty pleasure
A few months ago, I bid a tearful goodbye to my babies and hubby as I headed back to St. Paul from Saskatoon, with them planning to stay on a little longer.
ďIíll miss you so, so much,Ē I said, squeezing them tight one last time before I left. Then I arrived home Ė to quiet. I cleaned up and miraculously, things stayed put away. The toys didnít mysteriously fill the empty spaces I just cleared, a little boy didnít follow behind me colouring the walls with crayons, and there was no cleaning up from the constant meals and snacks.
It was amazing. I took the opportunity to indulge in one of my favourite guilty pleasures Ė something I do while realizing in the back of my head that 100 more important tasks beckon. Still, I poured myself a drink, curled up in bed and proceeded to read for the next two days.
Of course, Iíve read books since having kids, but not with the same time or dedication as before. As a child, I used to walk home from school reading a book, I would read through recess, and I would go home to read some more. In the place of good friends, I had Henry Huggins, Anne of Green Gables, the Pevensie children, Mathilda and more - and that was just fine by me.
My local library has always been a good friend to me; I canít count how many fantastic reads Iíve found just by pulling out a random book with an appealing cover and description. Iíve found lots of gems, from the funny, light reading of Sophie Kinsella novels, to the page-turning and popular Time Travelerís Wife, thought-provoking reads like Prodigal Summer, and historically-set novels like The Book of Negroes and my most recent read, The White Pearl.
Once I find an author I like, Iíll go through their whole repertoire, with Elizabeth Berg being one unexpected find in our local library. Like a good song, her books just went straight to my heart with Bergís down to earth and true portrayals of everyday people finding their way through life. Popular author Jodi Picoult also offered a few great reads, but I eventually tired of her trick of constantly throwing a twist into the ending, a la Agatha Christie. At some point, you get tired of expecting the unexpected.
The latest one I keep hearing about is the infamous 50 Shades of Grey, of which ladies apparently canít seem to get enough. Iíve heard itís a smutty page-turner, but Iím worried that it would be like reading the Twilight series, where I would keep thinking - ĎThis is so ridiculous! Why am I still reading this nonsense? Why doesnít the vampire just bleed her dry already?í - only to find myself unable to stop turning pages. So Iím holding out on requesting that one.
My husband will occasionally pick me up on monstrous late fines I accrue for being forgetful, but even with the fines, using a library is way cheaper than buying books and way cheaper, I could point out, than satellite television for some peopleís sports channels.
Iíve infected my kids with the disease too. My daughter loves our trips to the library, and while I originally held out hope that my son would be able to entertain himself without me reading to him, he too has discovered a taste for books - literally. (ďLook at how nicely this board book fits in my mouth, mama!Ē) He will foist the same story with five words in it at me again and again, using the succinct but remarkably effective, ďEh? Eh?Ē until I cave and read it, sometimes juggling reading different books to both of them at the same time.
I am so looking forward to the day when the kids and I can all dive into a giant world of make-believe together in a series of chapter books, whether itís the Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter. Itíd be a bedtime ritual with their hair still damp from their bath, smelling like strawberries as they tuck into me quietly without jabbering or fighting with one another. One can always dream anyway.
I recently saw an email about books becoming obsolete, in the face of competition from the digital world. I do hope thatís not the case. Though I have a Kobo, I still prefer dropping into the library, and playing the Russian Roulette game of picking out a book on the basis of its cover and seeing what treasures might unfold as I open the pages with that dry, tangy and inviting smell. The world can speed along without me, but as I curl up with my book, time slows down and I can enjoy my imaginary worlds in peace and wonder.
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