“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”
-C. S. Lewis
As a child, I was what you’d call a bookworm, in the most extreme sense. I blew through thick novels like Anne of Green Gables in second grade and often started a book in the morning over breakfast, finishing it by the time I clicked off my light at night. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. I’m not using hyperbole when I say that in elementary school I went through thousands of books.
In high school, my speed reading lost a bit of it’s steam. I became more involved in school and extracurricular activities and reading for pleasure became a little bit harder to fit into my busy schedule. Still, I managed to find time to discover new favourites and reread old ones. I even had reading traditions, such as reading 3 classics at minimum each summer and reading the Narnia series every Christmas break.
Until now. Now, I am in university. I’m a bookworm in hibernation, wound up in a cocoon of textbook readings and frazzled study sessions. I have not read a single book that wasn’t for school purposes since I moved to Ottawa. And that my friends, is a problem.
ENTER CHRISTMAS BREAK
Long awaited and much anticipated, the Christmas holiday finally arrived. 3 full weeks where I could spend whole days drinking in inky pages and downing mugs of hot tea, should I so desire. Now, let’s be real. I’ve been working over the break. I’ve had umpteen family Christmas party commitments. I’ve been sleeping more than is necessary for any one human being and grabbing coffee with as many old friends as possible. And yet, falling snow and spare time have become the perfect setting for diving into my bedside table book stack. I swear, I’d somehow forgotten how enthralling it can be to lose yourself in a story.
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
I might have kind of sort of…stolen this book. Or at least temporarily adopted it. A friend had left it in my room a few days before I came home and when I was packing to go, I threw it in my bag on a whim. I figured, if it was his favourite book, I should at least give it a chance. I kid you not, I opened it as soon as I sat down in the terminal to wait for my train. By the time we pulled into Union Station in Toronto, I’d eaten up more than half the pages.
The Bell Jar is not a happy book, I can tell you that. It’s beautifully descriptive and yet very blunt at the same time. It’s sad. Really sad. And yet, hopeful at the same time. The last chapter is open ended; the reader can choose to belief the best for Esther’s future or the worst. It made me think and it made my heart ache but most of all, it made me glad to be alive. Because even though there is deep sadness in the world, I still breath every second.
A Work in Progress – Connor Franta
To be brutally honest, I wasn’t expecting much from Connor Franta’s debut book. My sister is the definition of a YouTube fangirl and in an attempt to show interest in her hobbies, I know my fair share about the whole community, fandom or whatever you want to call it. But I find that many celebrities write books just because they can; they often don’t actually have much to say.
Connor’s book was a breath of fresh air. First of all, it’s extremely aesthetically pleasing. The cover, the photos, the font, the layout, it really is a beautiful book. But hey, we’re talking about reading here!
To cut it short: it was good. He’s funny and has a strong voice that carries throughout. I actually really loved the writing and was so impressed with the clear amount of effort he put into making this book great. His antidotes are interesting and his honestly is relatable. Kudos to you Connor Franta, you caught me off guard! A Work in Progress actually turned out to be a really fun read.
The Fellowship of the Ring – J. R. R. Tolkien
Yes, I know I should have gotten around to reading Lord of the Rings sooner. No, I don’t regret having waited until now. Why? Because reading a good book for the first time is an experience you never get back. A first reading is something to savour and enjoy because you’ll never be fully surprised by every plot twist and storyline again.
Lord of the Rings is, so far, all it’s cracked up to be. It really is an adventure, which as you all know is something close to my heart. I’m just about halfway through right now, having put it aside to type up this blog, and tomorrow I’m planning to go sit in a coffee shop downtown, and loiter, drinking tea in a big armchair until I’m through with it. It’s been too long since I’ve spent hours truly abandoned in a story, allowing myself to forget what’s going on around me. I’m grateful this holiday for the world Tolkien created, and that I have time to immerse myself in it. One of my favourite things is all the little rhymes, poems and songs. They make the world seem even more real, like it really does have it’s own folklore and culture.
So as you can tell, my little bookworm heart is in holiday heaven. I haven’t read a crazy amount, but enough to make my heart happy and to give my imagination the chance to stretch out and shake away the cobwebs. And to top it off, I got Chapters gift cards for Christmas so last night I went on a little spree.
Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis
I love, love, love C.S.Lewis. I’ve been meaning to read Mere Christianity for a long time and now that it will have a home on my bookshelf back at school, I’m hoping I’ll have time to read it soon.
A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson
Another long awaited read. And another adventure story, though this one really happened! I have an absolute fascination with “thru-hiking”, the practice of walking a long trail all at once, over the course of several months. My friends tease me that when my future husband proposes to me, I’m going to say yes on the condition that I get to spend 6 months hiking the Appalachian Trail first! I’ve been waiting for a soft cover (less expensive) copy of Bryson’s recounting to come out for ages.
Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafisi
I’ve just now while writing this realized that all three of these books are non-fiction, rather unusual for me. This book is the wild card, one that I picked up off the shelf just because the cover reminded me of Three Cups of Tea, a book I love. It’s a true story about women in Iran meeting in secret to read forbidden classic novels and something about it just made me feel like I had to get it. I guess we will see.
Like I said, I seriously love mail. I love sending it, I love getting it, I love decorating the envelopes and writing to people I care about. These cute notecards I picked up say “Have a ridiculously amazing day!”and I can’t wait to surprise my friends and family with a little bit of happy encouragement this semester!
And just because my deprived bookish brain hasn’t been able to get enough of beautifully strung together words, I’ve been binge reading blogs left right and centre. Some of favourites this week have been Life as a Dare, Ordinary Adventures, Rose and Bliss, A Journey I Call My Own, You Make Something Out of Nothing, and Untidy Grace if you want to see what I’ve been reading!
Well, that’s about all for now. To any other bookworms and book lovers out there, here’s to another great adventure, another world, another life, another read.
I’m off to find a cozy nook to hide in. I simply must find out what happens to Frodo, Gandolf and the rest of the gang.
Until next time,
p.s. how cute is my dog with his teddy bear??