Growing up I longed to step into the pages where Watch was the lovable companion to Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny. To join them in their carefree life in an old boxcar. I remember the joy to find that the "cruel" Grandfather they had imagined was really a kind man who would take care of my friends.
I remember wanting to run around on the prairies with Laura. I'd join her as the rotten Nellie always tried to put the Ingalls' down. I always wanted in a confrontation just to rough up Nellie a bit.
I felt Anne's heartache trying to fit in (CARROTS!!!), finding a bosom friend, and falling in love with the dreamy Gilbert. I discovered my own ideals of love young. I couldn't read fast enough of the Bronte sisters, Jane Eyre, Rebecca and my trusted friend Ms. Jane Austen. There was something so beautiful about a time when there were rules of decorum during courting. That there could be a man such as Mr. Darcy. That a book could let me pretend I was Miss. Elizabeth Bennet. For those of you Austen addicts - you must read Austenland. MUST. Shannon Hale is magnificent. I have no idea how she wrote an entire book about me, without my knowledge.
Oh Aslan... I can't remember how many times I've read the Chronicles of Narnia. I feel like I'm the fifth escapee through the wardrobe with Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. I read something recently that said we should read the Chronicles of Narnia at least three times in our lifetime; in our youth, in our middle ages, and finally, in the twilight of our life. Each phase we go though brings new meaning, new insight and life experience. I have loved sharing these books I adore with my own daughters.
I love beautiful imagery, rich meaning and old-world mystery. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt is a recent find that I have been rereading quite often. It's a young adult novel, and while I am no young adult... except in my mind, it is a revelation. The language is rich and inviting, the story is moving and profound. It's one I will continue to reread and can't wait for my girls to discover.
For those of you who know me... you know I'm all about the food. While I've never been interested in visiting the land of my forefathers, it took Nicole Mones' The Last Chinese Chef to get me excited about traveling to China one day. The story is a mature love story. The food described within these pages is nothing short of miraculous. As an American-born Chinese gal (ABC) I had grown up with many customs that I just never realized as customs...and to discover that there's a whole world of people like me, is startling and comforting. I love books like this - that teach me, sustain me and bring me peace.
There is nothing quite like losing yourself in the throes of an author's words, in new worlds, and among familiar friends. Reading good books is something that can change you, bring you joy, and it is a gift to share that love of stories, with those you love most.
I hope my daughters grow up with fond memories of the books we read together, and the ones they will devour late at night, under the covers, by flashlight.