Monday, February 23, 2009

Books:an Important Part of My Life

I love books. I love to read books and sometimes I cannot part with them. I just did another inventory because I have a shelf over my computer desk on which I keep my favorites. Right now I am holding on to the Jodi Picoult books but later I will keep only my very favorites of hers such as My Sisters Keeper. One of my favorite authors is Anna Quindlen who used to have a column for the New York Times many years ago. She took many of her best columns and put them in two books which I have reread many times Living Out Loud and Thinking Out Loud. I also have her fictional novels Black and Blue and Blessings. I have three books by Kahlil Gibran and often I read from The Prophet. I have many self help books and some psychology books that I often read. I have a few fictional novels that I will not part with which I have read multiples times, such as Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Lovely Bones.

Many years ago I had a friend who I exchanged books with all the time. When we got together over tea we often discussed what we had read.Many wonderful conversations took place in my kitchen regarding our love of a good read. One thing that really annoyed me was I would lend her books which would not be returned. I had bought the hard copy of Lovely Bones and told her how I loved it. My husband wanted to read it but she told me she would read it and get it back to me within the week. She lost it and replaced it with a paperback version. I am not a book snob but over years the paperbacks turn yellow and age badly. I once lent her teenage daughter one of my favorite books ever Love xx Janis by Laura Joplin. I made her swear that it would be returned in it's pristine condition and her Mom assured me she would see to it (the book was being used for an important school project). When the book came out new it was available in hot pink and turquoise covers. I chose the hot pink. For the next few months and even a year later I asked for the book back but I never got it back. The mother later told me that her daughter developed attachments to things that belonged to people she cared about and I told her while I could appreciate that concept, it was not HER thing but mine. I finally went to Amazon.Com and bought one although I had to get it in turquoise. At least I can read it again when I want to.

I think of all the books that I treasure one of the most, is a book most of you have never heard of, Walking Through the Fire by Laurel Lee. When I was first diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease I couldn't find anyone else who had had it. I later realized my radiologist was treating THREE young women but he kept our appointments at different times so we could never meet. At some point my mother gave me a magazine with an article about a young mother, like myself who had Hodgkins Disease. She was diagnosed while pregnant and refused to have a late term abortion. She wrote a story for them and I was elated to know there was someone else out there who had a young child (in her case a third on the way) and could understand what I was going through. Later she published her story in a book which was actually a journal she had kept in the hospital. I cannot tell you how much that book comforted me on my loneliest nights. Her husband later left her for their babysitter. She was a beautiful woman living a hippy lifestyle and really struggling. Her prognosis was very poor but she pulled through. Over the years she wrote two more books which I have although the third I only have in paperback and have never been able to find in hard cover, Signs of Spring. Last Fall I stumbled upon something online and learned that she had another cancer battle which had finally claimed her life. While I was saddened by that news I thought back to what an incredible life she had lived. She survived cancer for twenty years! Three separate occurences (her original, a relapse and later pancreatic) but she was diagnosed the first time with stage four. This woman is my heroine. It's not how long you live, but how you live your life. She lived her life stoically, full of dignity and grace and most importantly love. She turned the low point of her life around and used her experience to provide hope for others. She became a college writing professor in Oregon. Even though her life is over, I feel as though she lives on in the hearts and minds of the people she helped and I am eternally grateful to have known her, if only through her words and her lovely illustrations. Thank you Laurel. I found she had written another book, Tapestry which i just ordered online today. It can be ordered on if any of you are interested they also have a bio of Laurel Lee there.


Missie said...

I have loads of books, and I'm always buying new books with the idea that I'm going to read them, but I never do.

I can sit down all day and read blogs, but when it comes to reading a book, I'm asleep by the second page! LOL

IndigoSunMoon said...

I used to read all the time. I just stopped for some reason...not sure why.
One of my favorite authors is Janet Evanovich. Her Stephanie Plum series of books (13 as of now) have made me laugh so hard I cried.
I haven't read Love Janis yet. I really want to.