You Haven’t Seen this Notable Memoir List on Buzzfeed

To me, the appeal of a memoir is the chance to crawl into someone else’s skin and get behind their eyes to know what they are thinking and feeling.

In a way, it’s a mystery.

What would it be like trying to get into college if you’d never gone to school?  What would it be like almost losing your life and clawing your way back to every skill you lost?  What would it be like finding out, at age 54, that the foundation of what you believed about yourself as a person wasn’t true?  What would it be like serving as the First Lady of the United States?

There’s a way to find out.

Read these memoirs.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

Educated by Tara Westover

Easily the best memoir I’ve read all year.

How do you earn a Phd without attending school till before age 17?

This question drives the book, but there’s so much more: mental illness, brainwashing, belief systems accepted and rejected, family dynamics, isolationism and, mostly, confronting your history honestly without bitterness.

There’s a few heroes I love in this narrative, in addition to Tara herself who confronts her own story with transparency and courage. She dares to travel the road not taken.

Read more.

Hope Heals by Katharine and Jay Wolf

Talk about courage in the face of loss.

At age 26 Katharine suffered a brainstem stroke that almost took her life.  Her husband was at the point of graduating from law school.  Their baby was six months old.

The chronicle of their journey is sobering and inspiring.

How would my faith hold up in those circumstances?  How would I handle a similar challenge?

Hats off to the Wolfs for their courage, faith and transparency.

This book was recommended by a blog reader.  (Thanks, Jennifer!)

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

 Truly a remarkable human drama.

Finding out that her dad was not her biological father was just the beginning for Dani Shapiro.

Though that revelation was startling in itself, more secrets were uncovered.  The shock waves continued.

Dani takes the reader along on this unexpected journey of self-discovery.  The advances of modern science have made the unthinkable possible.

 

Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush

I love Laura Bush’s humble spirit.  I love her ordinary every-day-ness.  Even though she became First Lady of the United States, she tells of being content with simple pleasures.

One day her friend came to visit her in the White House.  They worked out together and then relaxed in the sitting room, each reading their own book.

Another story in this memoir made a lasting impression.

On page 113, she recounts, “Once, when the girls were two and a half, Bar Bush made a rare stop in Midland.  Jenna and Barbara ran out of the house with their arms held out to greet her, calling ‘Ganny’, the name all Bushes give their grandmothers, and she looked up at me and said with gratitude, ‘Thank you for teaching your girls to know me.’ ”

It’s a heart melting story, but to me it drove home the importance of intentionally bridging the gap with far away family.

It resonated because my nuclear family and the family we raised both have experience with long distance family relationships.  I wrote a post about it.  Closing the gap:  connecting across the miles.

What have you been reading lately? 

 

 

Why Tara Westover’s Memoir, Educated, is Haunting Me. In a Good Way.

Educated by Tara Westover

What it’s about:

“Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.”– from Amazon

If you liked Hillbilly Elegy, I think you’d like Educated.

Who it’s not for:

If you’re squeamish about descriptions of physical pain, this book is not for you.

Why I liked it:

There’s a reason I studied psychology in college. Human nature is fascinating.

Why does someone become a mass murder? What does it feel like to be dying of cancer? How do you handle the logistics of an unusually large family?

How do you earn a Phd without attending school till before age 17?

This question drives the book, but there’s so much more: mental illness, brainwashing, belief systems accepted and rejected, family dynamics, isolationism and, mostly, confronting your history honestly without bitterness.

There’s a few heroes I love in this narrative, in addition to Tara herself who confronts her own story with transparency and courage. She dares to travel the road not taken.

Since I’ve read it, it continues to haunt me (in a good way) and intrigue me and fascinate me.

Highly recommended.

   Buy now from Amazon 

Melting the Frozen Grief of the Global Nomad

***** 2019 *****

Denise lay in bed staring at the darkness. The clock read 2:59. She couldn’t sleep. She eased out from under the covers, careful not to wake her husband. She slipped into some shoes and grabbed her purse. Stealthily she crept out of the house, not wanting to wake her teenagers.

She winced when she turned the ignition, but the engine came to life quietly. She backed out of the driveway and nosed toward the highway.

She wasn’t sure where she was going, just knew she had to drive.

She passed cars until there was no one left in front of her. She drove hard, headed East.

After a couple hours, the sky began to lighten.

Still she drove. Two more hours and she knew she was reaching the limits of her bladder and the gas tank.

The gas would have to wait.

She reached her destination. The one she didn’t realize called her.

She pulled into the parking lot of the state park and headed to the restrooms.

Ahead of her was the sea, crashing waves on the sand.

She inhaled deeply and let the smells of salt and fish envelope her.

She remembered she had a bag of candy stashed in the glove compartment from the international market.

She opened the bag and put one piece in her mouth. Bliss.

She tried to recall which piece of the mosaic of the past this taste belonged to.

Growing up as an army brat meant moving every two or three years, sometimes overseas.

She pondered the taste, then remembered the summer she turned six.

******* 1980 ********

The neighbors were having a party. The windows rattled with the noise of the music and dancing.

She shared a room with her twin four year old brothers. They were giggling and talking. None of them felt tired. It wasn’t the music. They were used to that. They’d slept through worse.

She jumped on her brothers’ bed and joined them in laughing at who knows what.

Then she remembered the candy stashed in a pillow case under the bed.

Somehow they had been able to hide it from their mother. She shoved her hand into the pillow case and pulled out a handful. The boys weren’t able to unwrap the pieces, so she did it. The crinkle of the wrappers couldn’t be heard above the giggling and the giggling couldn’t be heard above the music. They were safe.

She told silly stories and jokes and unwrapped candy. Her brothers worshipped her adoringly.

Long after the soft snores of her brothers permeated the air, she lay awake.

The sounds of music and dancing died down and ceased.

Then she heard the rhythmic beat of rain on a tin roof. Inside she was warm and safe and happy.  She fell asleep comforted by the sound.

****** 2019 *******

She climbed a sand dune grabbing tall grasses to help her ascend the steep part. She summited and sat at the vantage point where she could survey the miles of coast.

She could feel her breathing slow.

She stared at the water, watching wave after wave crash against the sand. She noticed the creep of the tide.

She took a couple pictures on her phone, but instinctively felt she needed to capture this moment in a deeper way.

She ran down the dune and headed back to her car.

She headed back to the last town she’d passed. First of all, gas. Then a craft and hobby store.

She bought a canvas, some oil paints, and brushes. She debated about an easel, then grabbed it, too. She didn’t make a mental calculation about how much she was spending and tried not to think about her already maxxed out credit cards. Surely she had one that wasn’t at the limit.

She threw her purchases into the car and raced back to the beach.

Before she began climbing, she walked past a pool filled with kids laughing and splashing.  She caught a whiff of chlorine.  The smell took her back.

******** 1991 *********

The girls’ PE teacher was out for the day, so 5th period PE girls were instructed to get their swimsuits on and head to the pool for a co-ed class attempting to learn water polo.

She headed out and stood poolside, scanning the group.  Some of her favorite people were in this class.  Some were good friends.  Some she wished she knew better.

The boys’ PE teacher was a first year teacher with enthusiasm and energy.  He spent fifteen minutes explaining the rules and strategies, then quickly divided the group into two teams.

Another five minutes was lost determining who would play in each position.

Finally, the competition began.

The attempts were comical.

Then it turned into a free for all, with no regard to where the ball was.  The main goal was to splash your opponents if you were close to them or your teammates if you weren’t.

Screams, shouts, water everywhere.

Lots more fun than water polo.

**********

She fell behind the other girls walking back to the locker room. She wanted to savor this delicious feeling. The feeling of utter happiness. Of belonging and being seen and accepted and wanted. No self-consciousness or akwardness or embarassment.

The feeling of being somebody, but not even that. A somebody who was part of the tribe. One who belonged.

She loved it. This feeling.

She had almost reached the locker room, when she heard her name called.

She whirled. She recognized a student office aide.

“Hurry up and get changed. Your dad is here. You need to hustle into the guidance counselor’s office pronto.’

Her heart plummeted. Her dad wasn’t due back for three more days. There could only be one reason he would show up at school in the middle of the day.

They were moving. Again.

Her bubble had burst.

******* 2019 ********

Even though the sky was blue with white puffy clouds, and the sea a mesmerizing mixture of greens and blues, her painting was dark.

Blacks and grays for sky and sea. White caps and white clouds and and occasional white gull.

But no color.

She couldn’t bring herself to use the blues and greens.

The blacks and grays were necessary.

She worked without stopping, except for an occasional sip from a water bottle.

When every square inch of the canvas had paint, she exhaled.

The tightening in her chest relaxed.

She breathed again, deeply, looked out at the water and felt a moment of peace.

Then she unscrewed the caps on the brown and red and yellow paints.

She added an island to the painting, crowned by a lighthouse that sported a yellow glow.

She closed her eyes and exhaled again.

******************

P.S.  If you’re new to the concept of frozen grief, start here.



Pivotal Books that were Game Changers

Sometimes the right book comes into your life at the right time.  It has the answers you’re searching for.  It solves the problem.  It addresses the pain.

I love it when that happens.

Here’s a few that fit the bill in my life.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child 

by Marc Weissbluth

Our first baby was not a good sleeper.  I don’t know how much was personality, how much was parenting.  But, it wasn’t till his little sister came along more than two and half years later that I stumbled on this book.

Applying the principles to help her sleep better changed the whole game.  A good sleeper doesn’t just make a happy child, it makes a happy family.

 

Buy now from Amazon

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

by Patrick Lencioni

This quick read packs a punch.  Told as a parable, the story rings all too true.  Once you know the five dysfunctions, you see them everywhere.

This book dropped into our lives at a time understanding team proved to be critical to our work.

Time after time, this book hits home for people, making it a well-deserved modern classic.

Buy now from Amazon

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen Covey

 So many of the principles in Stephen Covey’s classic work were revolutionary for me.  Begin with the end in mind.  Organize your time around your roles.  Take time to sharpen the saw.  Seek first to understand.

I think they resonated with me because I believed them to be true intrinsically, but had never heard them articulated before.

 

 

Buy now from Amazon

One Thousand Gifts

by Ann Voskamp

 Every person in the world knows pain and heartache.  And every person can number their blessings.

Ann Voskamp’s challenges us to be mindful and intentional about looking for and expressing gratitude.  It colors my thinking to this day.

I understand that her poetic prose doesn’t appeal to everyone.  Grammar Nazis beware.  But the message is universal and important.

 

Buy now from Amazon

The Gift of Dyslexia

by Ronald D.Davis

 I scoured the web looking for resources after one of our kids finished a dyslexia evaluation.  Obviously, there’s countless directions you can go for help.  I’m forever thankful I stumbled on to the Davis approach for the simple reason that it worked for us.

The book and the program were worth many times over what we invested.

Aside from the practical help, I loved learning more about dyslexia and the distinct advantages the dyslexic carries in his toolbox.

 

Buy now from Amazon

Hashimoto’s Protocol

by Izabella Wentz

I’m grateful for the wealth of information Izabella Wentz has made available through her books and articles on the internet about thyroid disease, and, specifically, about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Some on her approaches are unconventional.  It’s taken me years to absorb the firehose of information she produced.  I’ve implemented her suggestions slowly, but it’s made a dramatic difference in my health.  It’s hard to argue with success.

 

 

Buy now from Amazon

What books have been game changers for you?



 

 

In the face of loss: When you’re barefoot on the lawn waiting for the fire department

Last Sunday evening, Pete and I were watching Netflix when we smelled smoke.  After figuring out the smell was coming from the hallway between the house and the garage and determining that it was a bigger blaze than we could handle, we called 911.

We grabbed the laptops and Pete’s class notes and headed outside without our shoes.

It’s a weird feeling to be standing in the dark, barefoot in your yard listening for approaching sirens.

As house fires goes, it was relatively small.  It was contained and extinguished in a few minutes after the professionals got set up.  But, it does make you think.

So many of life’s events are a mixed bag of emotions.  In this case, there was some apprehension about how bad the situation could be, some grief for the losses, some relief that it wasn’t that bad and some gratitude for what was preserved.

The challenge, after it was over, was to focus on gratitude. We weren’t hurt. We caught it early. No structural damage to the house. Loss of stuff was minimal.

All that was left was the mess and the smell.

But, that’s the challenge, isn’t it? To choose gratitude, to choose contentment when you’re still sitting in the middle of the mess.

Yes, it’s a choice, yes it’s unnatural. Actually, it’s supernatural.

Because it’s easier to focus on the negative. On what’s wrong instead of on what’s right.

And maybe that’s the lesson of the fire.

Grief and gratitude existing together.

What’s more, it’s the challenge of life. So many days are a mixed bag. You can consciously choose which emotion to indulge in, which one to express. You can choose gratitude without denying the grief.

I am grateful. I choose to be grateful.

P.S.  There’s some lessons you just have to keep re-learning.  Read   Why I Find it Hard to be Grateful



My Reluctant Foray Into Audiobooks

I’m a slow learner.

It’s true.  I often need to hear something over and over, try it over and over, have it nailed into my head repeatedly before it sticks.

It took me a long time before I started checking out ebooks from the library.  That crazy learning curve, ya know?

I needed help setting up an instagram account.

I also needed help installing the app that allowed me to listen to podcasts on my phone (don’t get me started on my phone– I can barely work it).

So, while I’ve been intrigued with the idea of audiobooks, I’ve procrastinated on checking into them.

Partly fear of the unknown, partly one more thing to figure out, partly an intense love for silence.

But, today I did it.

I borrowed an audiobook from the library.

Credit belongs where credit is due.  I owe a lot to Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs Darcy for paving the way, generating interest and the recommendation for the first audiobook I borrowed.

Check out her post The beginner’s great big guide to audiobooks

The book I’m listening to (recommended by Anne Bogel) is Dolly Parton’s Dream More.  I admire Dolly Parton and I’m a huge fan of her Imagination Library concept.  If you’re not familiar with this project, it’s where she sends books every month to kids age 0 to 5.  It started out in her home county, but it’s grown across her home state, and across the country.

Anyway, hearing the book read by Dolly herself in her one-of-a-kind accent and enthusiasm and even some crooning, is a real treat.

I’m also thinking with graduation right around the corner, this is going to be a good book to have on the shelves to give as a graduation gift.

 So, it looks like, similar to ebooks and podcasts, before long I will be hooked on audiobooks.

I haven’t downloaded the overdrive app.  I’m just listening to this one on the computer.

Probably that’s the next step.

Which means I need to move the pictures on my phone to free up space.

But, I’m glad I took the first step.

Sometimes we’re resistant to dip our toes in, even when we think it will be a good experience.

Do you listen to audiobooks?  Any tips or helpful advice?

Are you interested in starting audiobooks?  Jump in with me!

P.S. Did you miss these posts?

True stories that will inspire you

5 Fascinating Tales About Women Who Made History



 

 

 

 

 

Closing the gap:  connecting across the miles

There’s a box in my closet that’s been virtually untouched for ten years.

It holds framed pictures of my kids’ grandparents and aunts and uncles.  They used to hang on the wall of our house in Mexico when we lived far away from our blood relatives.

Since we moved back to our home state and we see family on a regular basis (and our kids have grown) there’s no reason to have them displayed.

But there was a time when I wanted my kids to know and remember their family.

Long distance family relationships are a constant in my life.  Good-byes are normal.  Homesickness is, generally, a non-issue.

But keeping up with long distance relationships is a challenge.  There’s time differences.  There’s time pressure of the here and now and juggling schedules.  There’s also more options than there used to be.  Skype.  Internet phones.  FaceTime.

There are more ways than ever to stay connected and more distractions than ever to keep us from connecting.

Here’s a few ideas for keeping in touch with faraway family:

Send pictures via email.

Post pictures on social media of special events or everyday life.

Set up a private facebook group to share with the select what you don’t want to share with the world.

Make a recording of you reading a favorite book and send it with the book as a gift.

Send book recommendations including links to library ebooks that can be checked out.

Go for a visit.

Start the rhythm of writing weekly family news.

Send gifts for special occasions.

What have you done to keep in touch with far away family?

Against All Odds: True Stories That Will Inspire You

If necessity is the mother of invention, then adversity is the mother of survival.

Do you ever wonder how you would fare in the most adverse circumstances?  Most of us will never know.

But, a few souls demonstrate incredible courage, ingenuity and triumph in the most dire circumstances.

Their stories can bolster our courage in the face of adversity.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.) 

 

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic runner and World War II soldier.

The perseverance and resilience Zamperini displayed in the face the multiple titanic challenges is an inspiration.

Knowing his background and family intensifies the story.

The final resolution is satisfying and heart warming.

Aside from the story, the writing is a work of art.

Buy now from Amazon

We Were the Lucky Ones

 by Georgia Hunter

“Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.” —Amazon

The Kurcs were from Radom, Poland, but in the course of the war, three generations are spread throughout Europe and beyond, fleeing the Nazi regime.

I am in awe of this story. It is a light in a dark time and highlights the triumph of love, family and the will to survive.

Buy now from Amazon

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

A Christian family in Holland hides Jews from the Nazis during World War II.  Corrie’s incredible story of espionage, imprisonment and forgiveness.

The Ten Boom family takes their faith seriously.  They believe the Jews are God’s Chosen People.  They risk their lives to protect them.

They continue to trust God in spite of horrific circumstances and they see His hand at work.

Buy now from Amazon

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was a prisoner in a concentration camp in Germany. As a psychiartrist, he analyzed the fellow prisoners, the ones who had given up hope and died and the ones who had the will to live.

He concluded that everyone needs to find their own reason for being on the planet: their life’s work.

Focusing his thoughts on finishing his book and seeing his wife again sustained him during the horrific experience of the concentration camp.

Buy now from Amazon

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

The story of a college rowing team going for the gold hardly seems the stuff of adverse circumstances. But, the pathos of the story draws you in.  Joe Rantz is an almost Dickensonian hero.

Tracing the background of Rantz and others on the champion rowing team puts you in the boat with the rowers and has you cheering with the crowds on the shore.

The up close and behind the scenes glimpses of history are instructive and sobering.  I love the real life lessons of leadership and teamwork.

Buy now from Amazon

 

What are your favorite stories of people beating the odds?

Did you miss these posts?

Love stories you can feel good recommending

8 Stand out novels that will rekindle your love for reading



 

Better planning equals better days equals better life

Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

How do you spend your days?

I find managing my schedule is like trying to wrangle hippos.

In my ongoing quest to manage my life, here’s what I’ve learned:

Better planning makes better days. Better days makes a better life.

How can you plan your days better? Identify your true priorities. When you say yes to something, that means saying no to other things. Decide ahead of time what you can’t accomplish. This eliminates the frustration of beating yourself up for unrealistic expectations that weren’t accomplished.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by work and not prioritize relationships. It’s easy to be tyrannized by the to do list and not rest and refresh.

It’s easy to think that you have so much to do that you don’t have time to plan your days.

The investment you put into planning pays off.

One thing I like about really planning your day is deciding ahead of time that you can’t get something done. Like clean the fridge yesterday. I just moved it off my list. That helps you avoid the disappointment of getting to the end of the day and not accomplishing it.

You already knew you weren’t going to be able to get it done.

After a few days, you become more realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. The lists become manageable.

Prioritizing your to do list is a critical element in planning better days.

There’s always too much to do, isn’t there?  So every day there are decisions about what to do, but, also, what not do.

I’ve worked harder lately to prioritize my to do list.  It isn’t easy.  For one thing, we don’t always know which is the most important.  Sometimes a little, insignificant task results in a chance encounter that changes our lives.  But, we can’t predict that or prioritize that.

So, here’s what helps:  Choosing from the to do list which items are the most important.  Focus on getting those done first.  Let the rest go.

Also, you know if you don’t get very far down your list at least you did the most important things. You’ve spent some time thinking about what was most important. It gives you more focus.

It helps with that feeling of being overwhelmed. Of having too much to do and never being able to get to all of it.

Determining prioritities isn’t easy. It isn’t always easy to know which is more important. And when something unexpected comes up in your day, you have to make a judgment call about your list of things to do.

It comes back to juggling the glass balls and the rubber balls. Thinking through what are the consequences if I drop this ball?  Will it bounce back?  Or will it shatter?

Be willing to flex as circumstances change.

You have to plan some flexibility into your days. You have to have some margin to handle the unexpected.

That’s part of the planning. To be able to recognize when you need to flex and when to stick to the plan.

Here’s the other thing: Life is full of people.

People are unpredictable and impossible to schedule.

And, yet, we have to have some order in our lives.

So, we need a life management plan with enough flexibility to handle life’s unexpected turns.

Having unrealistic expectations is disappointing. Not following through on something you said you were going to do is an integrity problem, unless you make the decision to make something else priority instead. There has to be some flexibility for that.

You also have to have down time planned, so you don’t feel guilty when you need to rest and you are able to stay productive on the other days.

Prioritizing your to do list is the critical element in planning better days, with the caveat that you’re willing to flex when you need to. 

What have you learned lately that helps you manage life better?

When a Tumbleweed Grows Roots: What I Learned Winter 2019

“I grew up transient, with change as my constant. I lived a privileged life in many ways, and benefited from a plethora of experiences denied many of my more settled peers. In fact, I felt competent to handle most of what my spinning world threw my way. It was when the world stopped spinning that I got dizzy.” Dr. Rachel Cason

I resonate with Rachel’s words, because her experience mirrors mine.

I’ve lived on the East Coast, the West Coast and the Mid-West.

I’ve lived in the Middle-East, the Far East and Mexico.

My nomadic life began before I was old enough to decide and continued when it  was my turn to choose.  I developed coping skills for transition, not for rootedness.

And now, my world has stopped spinning.

The first four decades of my life were transitory.

The past ten years I’ve lived in the same state, most of those years in the same house.

Occasionally, I wonder what would happen if we uprooted again.  Occasionally I want to.

Some call it itchy feet, some call it wander lust.

But, it appears this tumbleweed is finally putting down deep roots and coming to terms with it.

I wonder if a case of itchy feet comes from a desire to escape all the pressures and stresses of the life we lead.

I’ve written before about finding and creating community as a survival strategy for nomads.

Two other things help me.

Focus on gratitude.  Sure there’s things you wish were different.  Of course there are stresses, conflicts, tensions, pressures, fears and worries you want to escape.

But, it’s always a mixed bag. There are always blessings, too.

Contentment is the by-product of gratitude when I realize I don’t have to move an inch to be happy.

Escape into Fiction.  Reading has always been my go-to survival strategy.  That applies to transition as well as rootedness.  A great movie can do it, too.  Or even an engaging TV series.  But, my top choice is an uplifting, brilliantly written novel.  A based-on-real-events book can do it, too.

When I’m yearning for a change of scenery, it’s often just the desire to get out from under whatever’s pressing down at the moment.

A good two or three hour stint into the world of fiction takes me away from the pressures of life and provides stress relief.

Parmesan Cheese Lids fit on Canning Jars

This life hack popped up on the internet and inexplicably brings me joy.

I use canning jars a lot, especially for homemade kefir.  I have a couple of white plastic lids that fit on them.  I’m always wishing I had more, but it’s never priority to go looking for them.

Parmesan cheese lids, on the other hand, wander into the house every week or so without any extra hassle.

Take that, Marie Kondo.

 

Sarah Mackenzie                                                     Kate DiCamillo

Emotional connection to a story transcends literary analysis.

Authors don’t write stories for literary analysis. At least, Kate DiCamillo doesn’t.  Sarah MacKensie interviewed the author of Because of Winn Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux on the Read Aloud Revival podcast.

Kate DiCamillo tells of reading a story in elementary school that touched her emotionally and then turning the page to find fifteen questions about the story.  And her heart sunk.  She didn’t want to dissect the story and analyze it.  She just wanted to enjoy it.

Sarah talks about making meaningful and lasting connections with your kids through books.  The memory of a shared experience when you read a book out loud together.

The emotional experience of reading a book that touches you.

That’s what literary analysis ruins.

The emotional connection between the reader and the story.

That sacred magic that happens when you become part of a story.  Tearing it apart and studying it from all sides ruins that magic.

That’s what Kate was trying to avoid.

I’ve never heard anyone articulate this before, but I LOVE it.  Listen to the whole interview here.

So that’s what I’ve learned this winter. Some authors are writing for emotional connection, not literary analysis.  Parmesan cheese lids fit on canning jars.  Tumbleweeds who grow roots thrive when they focus on gratitude and consciously escape into fiction.

What have you learned this season?