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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nap Time? Read a Book.

So many times we complain that we are losing ourselves. As parents, our journey through the toddler years is intense and it can seem as if we'll never make it through. The days fly by but the hours drag out. "Yes, let's play ball." "No, stop pulling your sister's hair." "For the last time, I said no videos." "What? Not the wall! Play with the chalk outside." "No, mommy is too big to be a princess." "WILL YOU PLEASE STOP YELLING."

And on and on.

We cook and clean and talk to babies all day, and I, for one, can say that sometimes my brain just mushifies. When the kids finally and blissfully sink into sleep in the middle of the day, I have more chores to do, more work, more errands.


Maybe, every once in a while...maybe once or twice a week, let's say, break out a book. An hour or two twice a week is not a huge chunk of time, and trust me, the dishes will keep. We talk over and over again about how important it is to get your children reading early, enjoying books and literature and the sounds of words at a young age, but what about ourselves? Shouldn't we also exercise our brains just a bit, every once in a while?

A book is silent. It won't disrupt nap like dishes or vacuuming or the television, and let's face it, a book can transport you to a world without those dishes, without that laundry, without the whining. Don't we all deserve a break?

I'm not saying to break out that dusty copy of Proust, or attempt to dip into Henry James or James Joyce, mind you. An hour of that will most likely (unless you're much more clever than I am) serve only to frustrate you. There's nothing wrong with an easy read here and there. We're no longer liberal college students who need to impress our peers with our literary tastes. We're in the comfort of our own homes with no one but a few toddlers who can't tell on us to see.

Even still, you may not want to reach for that tawdry romance with the Fabio look-a-like on the cover (or maybe you do, like I said, no judging here.) But just because you're not looking for erotica, doesn't mean a little romance now and then wouldn't be nice.

Take Saints and Sinners for example. Set in Arizona just after Mexico ceded the land to the United States, Tatiana March's book is, indeed, a romance. It centers around the usual unlikely pairing between boy and girl each with their quirks and background foibles. But it's different.

The language is compelling without being difficult to follow. The sentences are structured to bring out heightened emotions without belittling the reader's intelligence. Plots and subplots are woven in gently, so that when the climax (and the literal climax) occur, it doesn't feel as if the story were only there to provide us a sex scene. It's a natural occurrence, one that feels right and one that does not take away from the historical knowledge the book possesses or the character-driven plot.

In Saints and Sinners, you get a real feeling for what life was like for people in a small town in a formerly Mexican territory, whether those people be swindlers, oppressed women, immigrants, cooks, widows or dancing girls. You get the whole picture, full of rich scenery that brings a new world to life.

It's the perfect easy read, basically designed to get you out of the humdrum without leaving you feeling as if you've wasted important chore-doing time on something completely frivolous.

If you're looking to get back into reading again (which I strongly feel parents should) or if you've never left your reading habit but are looking for a new line of writing to freshen up your library, I really recommend this book.

The author is not new to the scene and has several books published through houses, but this one she decided to publish herself. What makes that so spectacular is that it means the work goes for just a dollar. Instead of having to divvy fees up between the house, the author and the editors, the book's proceeds go where they belong and we all get the pleasure of it for a fraction of the cost.

Check it out. She does a better job of summarizing it than I do.

Anyway, enough blathering. Whatever book you choose, choose a book. You can DVR Teen Mom for later, right?

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