Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bedside Reading

I am usually working on one book or another, but I've found this autumn that my pile of books on my bedside table has grown tall. I am actively reading them all in snippets here and there as the mood strikes, as there are indeed ascribed moods for each book:
When I'm feeling overwhelmed on the home front, and finding difficulty in keeping on top of things with the twins, Abby, preparing meals, cleaning the house, getting outside, appointments, errands, family activities and walking the dog, it's easy for me to start feeling anxious. I've learned quickly to nip that in the bud. After all, I am extremely happy in my life and have more blessings than I could ever had expected. Someone always has more work than I do. Those people are the Duggars. I know they're hokey, preachy and almost unrealistic, but I find them amusing and conciliatory. I just began this book and it so far is a more detailed guide of how, exactly, they run their household. It answers questions about individual discipline, organizing the sheer number of children and lives in their home and how they strike their balance. It's not for everyone, but it's interesting to me.
When I'm feeling rather vapid and apathetic, I get grumpy. I have no right to feel bored, disinterested or mopey, but it does happen from time to time. It's not a religious text or a spiritual guide by any means, but anytime I read a chapter or two of Eat, Pray, Love, I am guided to find my center again. It helps me feel gratitude, gives me perspective and brings me back to where I want to be, spiritually. I have read this book more times than I can keep track of, and really identify with Liz Gilbert's voice in this book. It's in my top five for sure.
Sometimes, I almost need to feel forlorn. Sometimes, when the sky is clouding over, there is a chill in the autumn air, the wind is blowing violently outside and I want to eat comfort food, I instead have been opening Sarah's Key. It's a holocaust story, and comes recommended as being well-written. Anyone who knows me knows that I am easily enraptured by a good, haunting holocaust story. I'm about 15 (short) chapters in and can see this becoming a real page-turner after the next few plot points.
Rhythm of the Family sits on my bedside table year-round, because it is meant to be read in such a way. There is a chapter for each month in which the author, super blogger Amanda Soule, and her husband share seasonal anecdotes, crafts, recipes and projects. The whole things is meant to foster an appreciation for and deeper connection with nature and the seasons. Some of the ideas are a little granola for me, and a little more time-consuming than I am willing to do, but overall I have really enjoyed it since receiving it for my birthday last October.
In my spare moments (the ones I still have in my day before Rich goes back to work and I go back to reality with three kids at home), I have been treating myself to a creative writing course. The instructor recommended The Artist's Way in the first class, so I checked it out from the library. It has really been tying together the themes of my life right now: spirituality, creativity, connection to the people and events around me. Combined with the lessons in the class, I have really been exercising my creative muscles and reaping the rewards of a greater calm in my day: There has been major satisfaction with doing something so personally fulfilling in my life these days.
There's a little insight to my state of mind these days, via my reading pile. Now, the kiddos are waking up and it's time for a family walk in the woods.

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