A Thinking Problem and Nora Roberts
I have loved reading for what seems like forever. I can remember Weekly Reader when I was in grade school and being able to order books. I'll never forget being handed my very own copy of the latest Encyclopedia Brown or Beezus and Ramona. Being a military brat and moving often we didn't accumulate books. There was always a weight restriction (still is) when you move in the military. And, books, well books add weight. It wasn't a travesty as a kid. We moved, with very few exceptions, our books didn't. But you never forget the feelings. The joy of ownership.
One good thing was always the library. I always found good books at the library. That and X-Men and Spiderman comics. Yeah, my brothers liked Superman and Batman. Me? I was all about X-Men. X-Men had girls. Girls with powers. Spidey had MJ. She was no clueless Lois Lane who couldn't figure out who Superman was. Peter Parker didn't think his girl was too fragile to handle his super hero life. MJ was a woman to be reckoned with.
Anyway, all my early reading and frankly most of my reading now is and was to escape. An adventure, a new place. In a book anything is possible, any world, any circumstance. Escape from the mundane, the difficult, the real.
All of which is off topic from what I set out to write about tonight. I wanted to come here and talk about a new twist in my reading. Books aren't just means to escape the reality of life with all it's ups and downs. Reading , when I have a good book in my hands, has become a journey that lets me see different people and perspectives of life. Books don't just make me look at my own life differently. The best ones make me think. Think of things I've never thought about before. Think on a grander and broader scale than the me I was before I read the book. Megan Hart's books have done that recently. So has Maureen McKade and Deborah Smith.
Tonight it was Nora Roberts. As I was finishing HIGH NOON (excerpt) I really wanted to sit down with a drink and have a conversation with her, the grand Nora Roberts. I wanted to talk to her about being a woman with responsibilities. About meeting men. About commitment. I'd like to tell her how amazing it was to feel my own burdens in life lightened by something one of her characters said. I have new thoughts to mull over because of this book. Thoughts about family and responsibilities.
I'd tell her this isn't about reviewing the book. Don't get me wrong. HIGH NOON is a good book. No, this is more than that. This is about reading a story that gives you a fresh perspective on your own life. Makes the bitter medicine of life a little easier to swallow. I'd ask her if she doesn't sometimes feel like life is an endless 'To Do' list. Always with the chores and the responsibilities. Responsibilities are okay they come with life. That simple, that easy. A character in HIGH NOON, Duncan Swift reminded me about that. Responsibilities go with life, with relationships. Reading what Duncan said got me thinking. Gave me a new perspective on how lucky I am to have some of those responsibilities. They mean I have special people and love in my life.
I'd tell Nora that I'm not anything like police Lieutenant Phoebe McNamara. No big past traumas in my life. No resemblance to her or my life at all. But I'd also tell her that Phoebe's story made me think about things as monumental as not giving up, and the importance of persevering through adversity to something as mundane as making an effort to exercise more. That's pretty amazing. You know what else? It makes things a little lighter to carry. When a book does that, makes you think and feel those things. That's true empowerment. That's joy. That's grace. That's a good book.
So that's what I'd tell Nora. That, and thank you. I'd even pick up the bar tab.