I love to read. I use reading as a hobby, coping skill, method escape, and way to relate to others. I identify myself as a true bibliophile. Bookstores give me chills, I love the smell of old book pages, and I get giddy when people ask me for book selections. I can bore you to tears with recommendations and opinions on various books and authors. I silently judge those who tell me they don’t read because I can’t relate. Sometimes I beg and plead with those in my life to read a certain book simply so I can talk to them about it. Book club night is my favorite night! I identify different books with different periods of my life and will sometimes reread a book simply to stir up old memories. While I can list books that have changed me for the better, I also freely admit that there are books that have added to my general quirkiness. Below is a partial list of books that have made me more annoying.
1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I love Anne Shirley and reread the series every few years. I desperately wanted to live in a local subdivision called Green Gables simply so I could introduce myself as “Lauren Anne of Green Gables.” I have always wished I could have red hair so that I could be called “Carrots.” I consider my friends to be “kindred spirits” and am always in search of my Diana Barry or dearest bosom friend. While some women dream of a 50 Shades romance, I have always fallen for the Gilbert Blythe-type who will tease and banter with me. My internal dialogue is full of flourish. While I haven’t yet mastered Anne’s eloquence in speech, I aspire to do so with time.
People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you? -Anne
My inner-Anne is most often channeled while I’m driving. I engage in powerful imaginary dialogue full of dramatic manipulation of prose and verbalized passion. I can only imagine what I must look like as I’m driving around town gesturing and lecturing. Poor Trey has been the unsuspecting outlet of residual energy following these imaginary exchanges. I can truly relate to Anne’s foot-in-mouth disease and wild imagination that lends to exaggeration and eye rolls from others. But I can’t help myself. I love Anne for her willingness to be a vulnerable dreamer.
When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts…it’s like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud. – Anne
Perhaps this is what makes being a therapist appealing to me; the hope that everyone can reach a new potential. Life may bring a thud but the goal is to continue flying without fear or reservation.
2. Ashfall by Mike Mullins – My friend Melinda suggested this book (and the next two in the series) and my husband will never forgive her. Seriously, this series messed me up! The premise is that the super volcano underneath Yellowstone erupts and people have to learn to survive in a ash-filled post apocalyptic world. I was drawn into the story from the first word but then I mentioned the plot to Trey and he showed me an article verifying the true existence of the super volcano underneath Yellowstone. I then put myself into every situation in the book. For weeks (Trey may argue longer.) I’d randomly interrupt Trey with ideas about how we will survive when the super volcano erupts. I found myself thinking about protecting my family from the flensers (cannibalistic thugs that plagued societies trying to survive post eruption). I asked Trey if he still had any Army-issued gas masks to prevent us from inhaling the volcanic ash. I finished the series but the fear remains. I’m not confident that we are prepared.
3. Watership Down – I don’t trust rabbits. They are smarter than they appear.
4. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – I love this book more than words can express. Pillars is 973 pages of perfection. If you haven’t read it, please do so. AND then…let’s talk about 14th century undergarments. Throughout the book the male characters pull aside their loin cloths for various reasons. The book made me slightly obsessed with the development of underwear. I began researching early underwear (via the ALWAYS accurate resource, wikipedia).
5. Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – If you haven’t read this book, good for you. Nonreaders can avoid being influenced by the craziness shared in Lawson’s pages. Had I never read this book, I wouldn’t have begun to refer to multiple foxes as “foxen.” I would have no desire to own taxidermy. I would never have pinned the taxidermy duck “Quack the Ripper” or sent Trey and picture of a stuffed squirrel paddling a tiny canoe. It is a slippery slope from laughing about thrift store taxidermy finds to sitting at home on Friday nights dressing up dead mice as our founding fathers.
6. The Passage by Justin Cronin – This book is the first book in a trilogy about manmade zombie-type creatures called Virals that are out to destroy mankind. Much like Ashfall, this book awoke my inner survivalist. Soon after battling through the descriptions of Virals, I began watching “The Walking Dead” and “Naked and Afraid.” My daydreams began to be taken over by zombies and how I can protect my family when needed. During our weeklong camping trip last summer, I kept one eye out for the undead while assessing our “Primitive Survival Rating.” The book, and subsequent tv shows, inspired me to reread “Lord of the Flies” and further evaluate my ability to survive in difficult situations. After a particularly dramatic night terror about zombies eating my favorite dog, Mojo, I decided I needed a break from the undead.
Beware readers, books can change lives.