I honestly can’t remember in time in my life when books were not central to my existence. They have been an ever present friend, a reliable anchor in difficult times, a magical escape, and even a mischievous curiosity. They ground warm memories, like trips to the Brooklyn library with my mother as a little girl. Books were a source of father-daughter bonding when my Dad would take me to the Happy Booker at the local mall and buy me books and stickers. He wasn’t much of a reader himself, but he knew that good parenting meant acknowledging and supporting my adolescent passions.
The memories that books have provided me over the years stick so tangibly in my mind. I remember these Monster books that my brother and I would read about a really tall, yet gentle monster who was loved by everyone in his neighborhood. As I would periodically reminisce about these delightful books, no one I knew had ever seen or heard of them, to the point where I thought perhaps I had made them up. Then, while perusing a teacher colleague’s first grade classroom library, I was reunited with Monster tucked away in the stacks. My colleague could see my six-year old self emerge in that moment and gave me the book, handing me a treasure from my childhood.
Allistair Cooke’s America gave me my first look at the brutality of lynching in the South. I would return again and again to that black and white image on the glossy pages, struck by the smiling white faces looking back at me. Judy Blume provided hours of relief from rainy day boredom. Alice Walker’s Temple of My Familiar ignited my soul. The suspense and shifting perspectives in Dean Koontz’s Intensity gripped me from night until the early morning hours as I bypassed sleep turning page after page. Oh the Places You’ll Go was the first day of school routine that I shared with Emmanuel from Kindergarten until 7th grade when he lovingly told me, “Mom, I’m good.” as I reached for the book on the shelf.
Albus Dumbledore tells us through JK Rowling’s pen that, “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. . .” More truer words could not be spoken, in my not so humble opinion. How lucky are we to have books at our disposal to conjure up and tend to every possible emotion in our capacity? I am a firm believer that if we stay open, the right book will find us at the very moment that we need it. They impart that lesson or provide comfort or shake us to our core, sometimes propelling us towards new adventures.
This week’s Mombbatical Mindset conversation is a celebration of the books in our lives, with a special focus on those books that have found us, delivered to us by the Universe as a synchronistic gift on our journeys. The guiding questions will be simple.
- Share with us a book that found you at the exact right moment.
- How did it find you and what was happening in your life at the time?
- Share some of your favorite quotations.
- Have you ever had the opportunity to pay this book forward to someone else and if so, who and why?