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Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Photo showing various books on my bookshelf

My bookshelf

This morning I made a list of six books I remember reading. I remember the experience of reading them, not necessarily the details of the books. I remember where I was, who I was, and what was going on in my life while I was reading those books.

I remembered reading Love Story by Erich Segal. It was the first book I ever read cover to cover in one sitting. I was nestled in a purple beanbag chair in my family’s living room. It was a hot day in the summer before my junior year of high school. Mom and Dad were at work. I was completely alone. The house was deafeningly quiet, and for the first time in my life I became so absorbed in a book that I lost track of time and space. The experience opened new possibilities for my reading life.

I remembered, too, reading Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Dr. Susan Jeffers. It was early January of 1989; my son was two years old. During those early years of motherhood, it seemed impossible to find long stretches of uninterrupted time for reading. So, on several consecutive Thursday evenings, my husband took over, and I went out alone to a nice restaurant. I asked to be seated away from other people and told the waiter I was planning to be there for a while. Sitting sideways with my legs up on the booth and my back against the wall, I ate slowly, nibbled my way through dessert, and lingered over several cups of decaf coffee. Week after week I returned, luxuriating in the quiet corner of the restaurant until I finally finished that book.

I also remember the book I read on January 15, 2005. I missed a connecting flight and found myself stuck in Detroit’s airport for an entire day. It was bone-chillingly cold outdoors, below zero most of the day. But the sun was shining brightly and I found a gate that was closed for remodeling. I plopped down in a generous patch of sunlight and pulled out a book my friend Jean G. had given me a few days before: The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitchel Albom.

I finished the book in its entirety just before boarding my flight to Lincoln, Nebraska. I made it to the hospital by evening and had a nice, long chat with Dad. I left when visiting hours were over, and he died unexpectedly a short time later. How could I not remember reading that book?

Sometimes we read books that change our lives. Sometimes our lives are changing and the books we are reading are part of the landscape that give substance to our memories. Can you think of six books that you remember the experience of reading? Comment here or send me an e-mail. I’d love to share a memory with you.

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