where to go

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i love to read.

i read and i read and i read and i never tire of it.

i ask myself all the time why books are so important. why i can’t fall asleep without reading. sit in a tub without reading. wait for 5 minutes anywhere without reading. why i’ve always got a book tucked in my purse and a running list of library deadlines, fines, requests.

and what i have come up with is this:

there is a feeling i get when i read that cannot be duplicated. it doesn’t come from medicine. it doesn’t come from social interaction. it doesn’t come from television or music.

it is that feeling i’m hungry for. the escapism of it. the examination of life and people. the feeling that i’m learning something, even if it’s only how to be soothed when i need relief.

reading is a solitary experience, yes. but, it’s also a connection. you see the world differently and you begin to accept that the world might even see you differently.

recently, i read: my name is lucy barton by elizabeth strout

it was on my to-read request list for awhile and then it arrived at the library. i wasn’t quite sure what it was about – only that it had high reviews and that i loved the burgess boys (also by strout).

i read this book a few days after spending a week with my mom in the hospital. i was feeling so many things, but not quite sure what they were. honestly, i was too emotionally spent to even really try. i just knew i wanted to escape to whatever book was up next on my queue.

and my name is lucy barton couldn’t have been more perfect.

it is about a mother, sitting with her daughter in a hospital bed, examining, in glimpses, an old life that is painful, but meaningful.

the writing is beautiful.

but, more than anything, this book said the words i didn’t know i felt.

it said that love is imperfect. that families, even at their worst, are important. it said that relationships are complicated and feelings are unpredictable. it said that life is hard, but also wonderful – sometimes at the same time. it said that there is something between mothers and daughters that matters – really, really matters. it said that sometimes we need to go back before we can go forward.

i sobbed through much of this book.

it was the cathartic release i needed.

and this is reading for me – a release, a need.

when my oldest daughter was very little, i was obsessed with engendering in her a love of books. we would bring stacks and stacks of books home from the library, ripping our library totes with the strain of their weight. i would read and read to her until my voice grew hoarse. even after she could read herself, i’d read to her. i didn’t know why it felt so urgent.

but, now i do.

i was trying to tell her, trying to show her where she could go if she needed something.

here. here is where you go.

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