Top Ten Tuesday: Once More, With Feeling

It’s been a long time since I last participated in the Top Ten Tuesday meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. My last list was all about ten books I wasn’t sure that I still wanted to read, and before that I wrote about my top ten historical fiction favorites!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is asking all of us to name ten books that we’d love to reread! For me, that list is about a half-mile long, so narrowing it down was exceedingly difficult…but I’m happy with the result. And now, here’s…

The Top 10 Books I’d Love to Reread!


The Queen of the Damned, by Anne Rice
This is the novel that changed me completely as a reader. It altered the way I looked at books; how I analyzed descriptions and actions; how I connected with an author’s style and voice. It’s also the book that truly launched my interest in both vampires and historical fiction. One of these days (probably sometime after the New Year), I’m just going to drop everything and read this masterpiece again!


The Shoemaker’s Wife, by Adriana Trigiani
Before meeting the lovely (and fabulously Italian!) Adriana Trigiani at Book Expo America earlier this year, I’d never read any of her books. She kindly autographed a copy of her newest title, The Supreme Macaroni Company, for me and I intended to read it as part of my #30Authors contribution back in September…until I learned that it was the third book in a series. I didn’t have time to read three books, so I opted to read The Shoemaker’s Wife instead, which I had downloaded to my NOOK prior to BEA. I’m so glad I did! It’s beautifully written and researched, and it’s definitely worth a second (or third, or fourth, or hundredth) reread!


I Shall Be Near to You, by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Hands down, my favorite new historical fiction! I Shall Be Near to You offers a very different perspective on the fighting of the Civil War — that of cross-dressed female soldiers! I could, and probably will, reread this book again and again in the near future, but I have other plans for it as well. If I finish my library science degree and go to work in a high school library, I’d love to do a unit with my classes or a book club dealing with this book! It’s both thoroughly engrossing and wonderfully informational, and I think it could make a historical fiction fan out of anyone.


Bittersweet, by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Ahh, my first “big” read of 2014. Bittersweet will permanently hold a very special place in my heart, not just for the quality of the writing but also because of the author-blogger friendship that stemmed from the review I wrote for it. I’ve been shouting about this one from the rooftops all year long, and I feel as strongly about it now as I did back in January — that alone merits a reread! Don’t be surprised if Bittersweet pops up on my “top ten of 2014” list at the end of the year.


Measure Twice, by J.J. Hensley
If not for the #30Authors project, I may never have heard of J.J. Hensley and Measure Twice. (Thanks to Allison for including me!) I don’t typically read a lot of crime novels, factual or fictional, so I was initially a bit weary about this book. Once I started reading, however, I found myself completely sucked in and couldn’t put it down! It’s a great read for fans of Law and Order, CSI, Motive, and the like, and I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll want to pick it up over and over again!


Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro
I have to come clean about something: When I first read Cutting Teeth, I was under a bit of a time crunch and didn’t get to read it at my optimal pace. I enjoyed it but I was left feeling like I hadn’t read it closely enough and had therefore missed certain things. After my digital ARC expired, I decided to purchase a physical copy and give it another try — and I’m happy that I did. When you read it at your most comfortable speed, it’s truly a fabulous book. Every parent, myself included, can relate in some way to the story and its characters, and I loved it twice as much the second time I read it. I’m hoping I’ll love it thrice as much after the third reading!


Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige
I love novels that retell classic stories (as long as they do it well), and Dorothy Must Die fits that bill perfectly. There are creepy twists throughout the book, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch Judy Garland’s portrayal of Dorothy Gale the same way ever again because of what Ms. Paige has done to the character. To say that I’m looking forward to next year’s release of its sequel, The Wicked Will Rise, is a gross understatement, and the fact that there are at least two prequel novellas already means that a reread is definitely in the cards!


The Boleyn trilogy, by Laura S. Andersen
This has easily been my favorite trilogy of late, and for good reason. It takes a well-known fragment of history and two very popular historical figures, King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and brings a new dimension to their ill-fated love story: What would have happened if they delivered a healthy son that survived to adulthood? It’s a fascinating question and opens the door to an alternate history, rich in detail, lust, and intrigue. I’m looking forward to rereading the Boleyn trilogy and continuing to spread the word about its fabulousness (because, let’s face it, it’s just that awesome).


The Roving Tree, by Elsie Augustave
I was mailed a copy of The Roving Tree earlier this year and, while I knew I’d read it, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it without having any kind of connection to Haiti. Boy, was I wrong, and I’m thrilled that I was! I will never forget the day I finished reading the book; neither before nor after that day have I ever booted up my laptop so quickly to start working on a review. I was profoundly moved by Ms. Augustave’s writing, and I hope to pick it up and feel the shifting of Earth just as I did with the first reading. It’s a heavy story, but I promise that it is a truly spiritual experience to read (and this is coming from someone decidedly non-religious).


Then Came You, by Jennifer Weiner
Of all of Jennifer Weiner’s novels, this is the only one I never finished. I don’t remember why — if it was disinterest in the story, if I was distracted with other things, or what. All that matters is that I want to give the book a fair shake (and probably fall in love with it, as I have with pretty much all of her other books), and the best way to do that is by rereading it.

An idea has just struck me and I’m totally going to go with it. You heard it here first, friends! When we celebrate the New Year, we also celebrate new leases on life, new opportunities, and “second chances,” as it were. To go with that theme, I’m going to set up January as a month of rereads! Not only will I review the books I choose for the month, but I’ll also start a new feature — much like what I do once monthly for the From Left to Write book club — in which I’ll write a post about something personal that connects to some aspect of the book I’ve read. If it goes well in January, it’ll become a permanent part of the blog!

I’m so excited!

So now, you tell me. Which books would you love to reread?

I’ve Been A Very Bad Blogger.

What a mess I’ve been lately.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed — and as Google Analytics has so unkindly reminded me — there’s been very little posting going on around here lately. I’m really sorry; it’s (obviously) entirely my fault. To put it nicely, I’ve sort of been coming apart at the seams the last few months. There’s been some family drama, a touch of reader’s block, an onslaught of writer’s block, and a few major changes popping up on the horizon that have kept me from doing my best work. Please accept my deepest, sincerest apologies for letting you down. I’ve been working hard and hope to be at full steam again soon.

I’ve been reading virtually nonstop, but writing literally nothing. It’s funny how easy it is to just stick my nose in a book and tune everything else out — I’ve always been that way. Up until sometime in August, I was reading and reviewing a book every week, and then all of a sudden the reviews just fell off. That’s not to say I haven’t been reading. Aside from the two books I reviewed for The Book Wheel’s 30 Authors project last month, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-10 books that I’ve read but haven’t shared my thoughts on. That’s doing a disservice to you, as my readers, and to myself, as someone who loves talking about what I read. Because some of these books were in my hands two months ago, I’m not sure that writing full reviews would be appropriate; I typically prefer writing a review as soon as I finish the book, when the plot, characters, and my thoughts are still fresh in my mind. I’ll have to go back, flip through the very tall stack of books, and figure out whether to review them in full or to make up the time by posting mini-reviews via Instagram instead (which would then be broadcast to my other social media profiles). When I make a decision I’ll definitely let you all know.

As for the big changes? For one, I’ve decided to go back to school one last time! I’m applying to the Master of Library and Information Science program at Rutgers and, if I’m accepted, will work toward my School Library Media Specialist certification. I’ll continue to be a stay-at-home mom until Joshua heads to kindergarten in 2016, so I’m pursuing the online program…which leads to the other change. Joshua is a very active little boy and, according to his pediatrician, needs more structure in his day, so Hubs and I have decided to enroll him part-time in preschool. He’s very excited to attend “little-kid school,” as he calls it, and will go for a few hours a day, three days a week. If he does really well and Hubs and I can afford it, we’ll send him every day. While he’s at school, I can blog or study, all the while knowing that he’s in good hands and doing some learning and growing of his own. I’ll be finishing up my studies around the same time that Joshua starts kindergarten, and I’ll go back to work full-time once I graduate (if I can find a job, of course).

Fortunately, because of the line of work I’m going into, I’ll still be spending a good deal of time around books — and will therefore be able to continue blogging! Whether I continue under Read-at-Home Mama or with a new blog remains to be seen, but I refuse to let my blog die! Not only could it continue to serve its current purpose, but I could also use it as a tool to communicate with students, parents, and school administrators.

Good things are on the horizon! I just have to keep forging ahead, and I’ll finally catch the brighter future I’ve been dreaming of!

Top Ten Tuesday: Oh, I Dunno…

Last week, I made my first attempt at compiling a Top Ten Tuesday list, a meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. It was a top ten list of books in [blank] genre that we’d recommend, and I chose to go with historical fiction, which is easily one of my favorites!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is asking all of us to name the ten books we’re not sure that we want to read! This should be interesting. Here goes —

The Top 10 Books I Don’t Know If I Still Want to Read…


Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
After Freedom was published, I remember seeing it everywhere — like, literally everywhere. Bookstores…grocery stores…I even saw someone reading it while eating at the food court in the mall. The Jennifer Weiner-coined “Franzenfreude” (which she described as “taking pain in the multiple and copious reviews being showered on Jonathan Franzen”), grabbed my attention; I’ve always been a big fan of Jennifer Weiner’s work and agreed that the literary establishment was spending too much time and energy falling all over themselves about the same authors over and over again. I got sucked into the hype and bought a copy, brought it home and put it on my bookshelf, and told myself that I’d get to it soon and find out what the big deal was. That was four years ago, and it’s been collecting dust in that same spot on my bookshelf for all this time. I guess the Franzenfreude got the better of me, because I don’t see myself dusting it off any time soon.

 


The Selection, by Kiera Cass
Before anything else, I look for a cover that speaks to me in some way. America Singer, the protagonist of The Selection, wears a beautiful gown on this cover that happens to be my favorite color. If I were choosing to read a book solely as a cover judge, I’d jump on this one. However, I decided to check out a summary of the novel and I wasn’t really taken with what I learned. The whole idea of a love triangle, despite the interesting twist, has gotten a bit tired for me; this might be part of why I loved Divergent so much — Tobias Eaton had no competition for Tris Prior’s love. It was just the two of them and no one else. The Selection just doesn’t scream, “Read me!”, and so I think I’m going to steer clear.

 


Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Oh, John Green…I still haven’t forgotten about my experience with The Fault in Our Stars. Ever since I saw the film of that adaptation, I haven’t quite felt as strong of a pull toward his books as I had before the movie was released. More than anything else, I worry that he’s become a bit overhyped, even for YA. Looking for Alaska sounds interesting enough in summary, but frankly I’m a bit afraid of feeling let down, as I did after closing Fault. He’s a good writer, but I’m still just not seeing what the big deal is. I might pick up this or one of John Green’s other books in the future, but for the time being I feel like it’s best for me to stay away. I don’t want a previous experience to potentially ruin a good thing.

 


I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
I feel very badly saying it, but I feel like we’ve heard so much about Malala Yousafzai in the media that the book may leave little new information for us to discover about her. I’m personally a bit oversaturated on news coverage of all things Malala, but I do own a digital copy of her book. I think I just need a little bit of time away from her, and then I’ll come back and read I Am Malala in the future.

 


The Book of Life, by Deborah Harkness
The reason I don’t want to read The Book of Life, at least at this particular time, is very simple: It’s the final book in a trilogy and I haven’t yet read its predecessors. When I hear great things about books, I want to read them right now…and I can’t do that with this book. It’s like starting to watch Game of Thrones — you can’t just pick up in the middle of the story and expect to know who everyone is and what’s going on. I haven’t seen a single episode of that show (I don’t have HBO), and though I badly want to watch it, I have to start from the beginning. That’s what I’d do with a TV show or a book, and if I can find enough room in my reading schedule to do it, I might pick up A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and finally The Book of Life. (Besides, I’m hearing it’s a historical fantasy about witches. Sounds right up my alley!)

 


Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris
I’m not sure if I want to fall back down the rabbit hole with vampire novels. The only author who seems to completely fulfill that interest for me is Anne Rice (and thankfully, she has a new book coming out in October that I’m literally itching to read!). Aside from that, Dead Until Dark is the first in another series of vampire books that was adapted for the screen, and I’m wondering if I saw enough on True Blood to cover me. I thought it was a decent show but not so good that I just had to sign up for an HBO subscription immediately after watching the first season on DVD. The fact that pop culture is oversaturated with all things vampire doesn’t help matters. I think I’m going to let this book, and its subsequent titles, go.

 


The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
I own this book, and all of its sequels, in e-book form and, though I once couldn’t wait to read them, the feeling has long passed. With the movie to be coming out soon, there have been lots of pictures, clips, and trailers popping up online; I’ve looked at a few and just feel nothing. No, “Oh my God, I have to pick up that book now!” No spark, no interest, nothing. Sorry, Gladers.

 


I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb
I Know This Much Is True has been sitting on my bookshelf for years. Years. I picked it up after reading and falling in love with Mr. Lamb’s debut novel, She’s Come Undone, which I blew through in a single afternoon. But there are always more books to be read, and I kept pushing this one back to make room for other titles I had a stronger interest in reading…and I never picked it up again. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll get back around to it.

 


Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins
Many of my fellow bloggers have been raving about this book and its follow-ups, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After, but I just can’t seem to drum up any interest in them. The cover art doesn’t really speak to me; while it’s not the be-all and end-all of whether I decide to read something, it does play a role. Plus the plot of the book seems to revolve around Anna’s having to choose between a boy at home and another boy at boarding school, which reminds me very much of The Bachelorette (a show I despise with every bone in my body). I’m probably wrong about these books, but for now I just don’t want to read them.

 


The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare
My problem with City of Heavenly Fire comes down to a couple of things. First, reading it would require me to reread not one, not two, but five other books to keep the plot fresh in my mind — this is not the kind of book you can just pick up and read on its own, much like The Book of Life above. I had read all five of the other books back-to-back when the fifth book, City of Lost Souls, came out and then had to wait for this one. I just don’t have the time to go back and read five books to be able to read this new one…and then there’s the fact that I made the mistake of reading reviews after the publication. Apparently, many die-hard Shadowhunter fans took issue with certain events in the story and hated the way Ms. Clare ended the series. I’m sure I’ll come back to this down the road, but I just don’t have the patience for it right now.

So that’s my list! Are there any titles that you agree with? Any you disagree with? What titles would be on your list?

Sunday Selections: For Foodies!

Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t love food?

Everyone eats, right?! All of us have our own individual tastes and diets — foods we love and others we avoid like the plague — but one universal truth remains: We all have to eat to survive. There are so many great places to find delicious new recipes, from the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, to Skinnytaste and AllRecipes, and beyond! However, it’s easy to forget that books — not just cookbooks, but novels as well — are little hidden treasures when it comes to food. If an author crafts their words well enough, you might be left with a hankering for a dish simply after reading a description of it! I doubt you’d find another place where hot chocolate is described as a steaming mug of liquid sweetness, topped with a snow-capped mountain of light, airy whipped cream that warms you from the inside out.

See what I did there?

I’ll wait while you prepare some hot chocolate for yourself. Top it with a marshmallow or two if you have them, I don’t care! So what if it’s August — you won’t find any judgment here. (I don’t drink coffee and I love tea — especially peppermint tea — but hot chocolate is my hot beverage of choice year-round!)

Okay! Now that you’re all settled in, take a look at five of my favorite books for foodies!


Available via Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound
From Publishers Weekly:
In her well-intentioned first book, First Lady Obama presents the semi-organized tale of the White House Kitchen Garden. Shortly after her husband assumed office, Obama and a class of fifth-graders broke ground on the first food-producing garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s WWII-era “victory garden.” Here, Obama details the evolution of the current 1,100 square foot patch, and expands her story to touch on community gardens, farmers’ markets, the importance of the availability of fresh foods, and her “Let’s Move!” initiative to fight childhood obesity. Organized according to the four seasons, Obama concludes each chapter with timely recipes, including spinach pie, a corn soup to go with freshly harvested summer veggies, linguine with a savory mushroom bacon sauce, and white chocolate-cherry-carrot cookies for a sweet wintry treat. In addition to these “highlights,” 40 pages of season-specific recipes are included. Though narrative structure is not Obama’s forte (she frequently pauses mid-story to offer tips for home gardeners and advice on how to build a better lunch), this is nevertheless an eye-catching and engaging book. Those looking for a linear story will likely be frustrated, but folks interested in fresh, local food; Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign; and life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will find plenty to enjoy here.

First I should mention that, of the five books I’ll be sharing with you, this is the only one I haven’t reviewed for my blog, but I do own a copy and I love it dearly. Now, let’s set aside politics for a minute and focus on what’s really important here. American Grown is a book of stories about creating, cultivating, and maintaining a garden. It’s broken down by season and comes complete with a selection of seasonal recipes. Most importantly, though, it revolves around the idea that children are more likely to eat the food that they’ve had a hand in choosing and growing. In an age where obesity and over-processed foods are considered the norm, this book holds more significance than ever. Even if you’re not a fan of the Obama family or of Washington, American Grown is at the very least worth a look.

 


Available via Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound
From Barnes and Noble:
Popular blogger and foodie queen Lavender Wills reigns over Lavender Honey Farms, a serene slice of organic heaven nestled in Oregon wine country. Lavender is determined to keep her legacy from falling into the profit-driven hands of uncaring relatives, and she wants an heir to sustain her life’s work after she’s gone. So she invites her three closest online friends — fellow food bloggers, women of varied ages and backgrounds — out to her farm. She hopes to choose one of them to inherit it — but who?
There’s Ginny, the freckle-faced Kansas cake baker whose online writing is about to lead her out of a broken marriage and into a world of sensual delights. And Ruby, young, pregnant, devoted to the organic movement, who’s looking for roots—and the perfect recipe to heal a shattered heart. Finally, Val, smart and sophisticated, a wine enthusiast who needs a fresh start for her teenage daughter after tragedy has rocked their lives. Coming together will change the Foodie Four in ways they could never have imagined, uniting them in love and a common purpose. As they realize that life doesn’t always offer a perfect recipe for happiness, they also discover that the moments worth savoring are flavored with some tears, a few surprises, and generous helping of joy.

I shared my review of The All You Can Dream Buffet back in March, and I remember the story well. The book appealed to me not only as a blogger but as a lover of food as well. The description was vivid and lovely, leaving me hungry and teaching me to never read a book about food without keeping a snack nearby. Aside from that, this is also a story about friendship, family, and love. It’s a great book, and serves as an even better summer beach read.

 


The Glass Kitchen
Available via Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound
From Barnes and Noble:
With The Glass Kitchen, Linda Francis Lee has served up a novel that is about the courage it takes to follow your heart and be yourself. A true recipe for life.
Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan . . . and never cook again. But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream.
The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family.

This was one of those books that, when I shared my review, I all but stated outright that it blew me away. This isn’t just about food, but about how Portia figures out which dishes to prepare and when. Food is magic in The Glass Kitchen, and the culinary magic leads to several other, unexpected kinds of magic (some beautiful and others not so much). It’s also fun to think about whether you would want Portia’s gift, which they call the knowing. A beautiful story full of fabulous food!

 


The School of Essential Ingredients
Available via Amazon or IndieBound
From Publishers Weekly:
In this remarkable debut, Bauermeister creates a captivating world where the pleasures and particulars of sophisticated food come to mean much more than simple epicurean indulgence. Respected chef and restaurateur Lillian has spent much of her 30-something years in the kitchen, looking for meaning and satisfaction in evocative, delicious combinations of ingredients. Endeavoring to instill that love and know-how in others, Lillian holds a season of Monday evening cooking classes in her restaurant. The novel takes up the story of each of her students, navigating readers through the personal dramas, memories and musings stirred up as the characters handle, slice, chop, blend, smell and taste. Each student’s affecting story-painful transitions, difficult choices-is rendered in vivid prose and woven together with confidence. Delivering memorable story lines and characters while seducing the senses, Bauermeister’s tale of food and hope is certain to satisfy.
I reviewed The School of Essential Ingredients in February and immediately sought out its sequel, The Lost Art of Mixing. Food and cooking are what tie Lillian and her students together — they share their joys and their sorrows with each other while learning to prepare dishes and then sitting down to eat what they’ve made. Funny, enchanting, delicious, and heartbreaking, this is another book that belongs on the bookshelves of foodies everywhere.

 



Available via Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound
From Storey Books:
For those of us who love cookbooks with heart and substance, Soup Night will occupy a well-deserved spot on your shelf. And don’t be surprised if it inspires you to start your own Soup Night, large or small. And even if you’re like me — I have no neighbors within shouting distance, literally — you’ll reach for this book’s soup recipes time and again, especially as the snow begins to fly.
It’s a simple, powerful idea captured in a stunningly beautiful book
More than a cookbook, Soup Night delivers a practical guide for hosting a casual affair where a simmering pot of soup (or two) is the star of the party.

This was a really fun book I posted a review of when I first started blogging. I had been given an e-book version to read and, after sharing my thoughts online, I ran out to purchase a physical copy for myself. I never quite got around to hosting a Soup Night but I hope to make it happen this fall or winter! The recipes are simple and prepared from fresh ingredients; you won’t find anything calling for a can of Campbell’s condensed in here. Just as important as the food in this book are the stories, as participants in Soup Nights share anecdotes from their experiences with sharing meals and bonding with their neighbors. It’s a fascinating proposal for a social experiment that every neighborhood should attempt (because come on, do you really know all of your neighbors? I sure don’t!), but even if you choose not to host a Soup Night, the recipes alone make the book worth purchasing!

So now it’s your turn — what books for foodies would you recommend?

Wednesday Writing: Time to Read?

For my inaugural Wednesday Writing column, I’d like to address the number-one question I get about what it is I do here. I hear this all. the. time.

How do you manage to find time to read?

To be honest, the answer to this is really simple: I read when I can. I’m a stay-at-home mom and I enjoy spending time with Joshua; we have a lot of fun together and learn something new every day. That being said, when I have a new book to start or I’m really interested in one I’ve already opened, the reader in me is just waiting for bedtime! Once Joshua is asleep, it’s prime time for me to settle under the covers in bed (my favorite place to read!) with a book. It’s my most-likely-to-be-quiet time, and I can usually get into a story with limited, if any, interruptions. However, while nighttime is my favorite time to read, it’s not the only time I do it. Things will happen — I’m too tired, or I have six loads of laundry to fold, or a TV show I love is on, or The Hubby wants some attention — that prevent me from reading sometimes, while at other times I start reading and get so into a book that I don’t want to put it down. Whatever might be the case, there are times during the day that you might catch me reading:
1. When Joshua is watching a Team Umizoomi or Bubble Guppies movie. Those things are long and hold his attention beautifully, and he enjoys participating and shouting out answers to their questions!
2. When Joshua is happily playing with trains or Matchbox cars. He could seriously sit at my kitchen table, lining up race cars for hours!
3. When Joshua is playing outside. Give the kid some sidewalk chalk, ride-on toys, and a view of the airplanes flying over the house, and I’m pretty much free to do anything for hours at a time.
4. When Joshua is sleeping. Since he stopped napping at home many months ago, I’ve learned to always carry my NOOK or a book in my bag when we go out…especially around midday or in the afternoons. He almost always falls asleep and, as long as it’s not 100* in the car, I’ll turn the car off, open the windows, and sit and read for up to an hour while he naps!

So there’s your answer! A follow-up question I also hear a lot is, What do you like to keep near you when you read? Most of my reading is done in bed or on the couch, and I don’t keep much stuff around me. Usually, I just keep my iPhone (I can voice-message notes into blog drafts on my WordPress app and live-tweet from it!) and maybe a drink — a mug of tea, a bottle of water — next to me and not much else. How I figure, too many things around me distract me from the task at hand…and I’m sitting down to focus on a story, and not so much on having a snack or seeing who’s on Facebook. I personally just prefer to keep things simple and uncluttered.

Reading is something I’ve loved doing since I was very young, and I’m so happy that the love of books, words, and stories continued into my adulthood. As far as I’m concerned, I will always make time to read — it’s worth setting aside the time for!

So how about you? Since you’re here, it’s probably a safe assumption that you have some level of interest in reading. Do you make time to read? When and where do you enjoy reading? Are there any particular conditions you prefer reading in? Any drinks, snacks, or other items you like to keep nearby while your nose is buried in a book? Let’s talk in the comments!