Sometimes the best thing we can do for our kids is to live a full life. It doesn’t have to be a big life, full of grand events and flashy achievements; it only needs to be genuine.
This past week was a good one, much of it due to the fact that I did a lot of things I enjoyed. This translates into happier, more engaged me – which then translates into happy, curious and engaged kids. It almost feels like cheating on my part, because all I did was have fun and it wasn’t a lot of work; it wasn’t stressful and I didn’t go out of my way to include my kids.
One of the best things was the five books I read. In a week. Five. Not only that, they were all good books. Two of them had me emotional at the end, one had me laughing and the other two had me frantically turning pages and rushing to download the next book in the series. (Guess which ones constitute ‘guilty pleasures’? Hint: there are fallen angels involved.)
Navigating Early is Clare Vanderpool’s second book. Her first, Moon Over Manifest, won the Newberry Award. Her writing is beautiful, and Navigating Early is the type of story that is too hard to summarize, so I’ll just say – go get it. I almost cried at the end.
Next up was The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier (she of Girl with the Pearl Earring). Historical fiction set in 1850 in Ohio, it is gripping, funny, tense and sad, with a good dose of hope thrown in. It also had me on the brink of tears at the end!
Two novels in a row with such emotional impact meant it was time for a break. Enter Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I’ve known about this series for a while, but kept avoiding it by placing it in the “Twilight rip-off” category. (Yes, yes, I am one of those people who enjoyed the Twilight series. Yes, I know the writing is barely mediocre in the first book but it does improve and the story is gripping. There.) Anyway, I finally broke down and bought Hush, Hush while in Indiana over Christmas. It was $5 at Target – I mean really.
Another confession? I am heavily persuaded by a good cover. I know this reveals all my bourgeois tendencies, but I can’t help it. And that silhouetted angel falling from the sky on the cover of Hush, Hush? It might also have played a role in my caving and buying the book.
Until this week, however, it had simply sat on my shelf, staring at me. I chose it as my next read after “Runaway” because sometimes when I finish a really powerful book (or in this case, two of them) I go into a sort of withdrawal and am reluctant to pick up a new story. I have a vague feeling that nothing can ever fill the void left by the end of a good book. Which is why I went for teen drama involving fallen angels. My expectations were low. As a result I owe Ms. Fitzpatrick an apology, because the writing is good. The story is not predictable and I downloaded Book Two (Crescendo) on my Nook at 12:30am the other night because I couldn’t fathom having to wait an entire 12 hours before going to the bookstore to get it.
And then there was Judging a Book by its Lover by Lauren Leto. A fun read for anyone who has ever been at a gathering and made the mistake of admitting that she likes the Twilight series, only to spend the rest of the evening trying to claw her way back to respectability by casually discussing every great work of literature she ever read (or at least skimmed).
Not that I’ve ever done that, of course.
And then tonight Joshua and I went to see “Django Unchained”. Note to self: When Quentin Tarantino makes a movie, even if it is three hours long, do not wait six weeks to go see it! He is simply genius. A real movie junkie, and it shows; it shows in the music he chooses, the font he uses in the credits, his penchant for odd camera angles and the actors he gets to play wonderful supporting roles (Don Johnson anyone? He’s fantastic in this film). Tarantino is also hugely skilled when it comes to screenwriting. And directing. (Hello Academy? What were you guys thinking this year, ’cause I just don’t get it. )
So it was a great week for all of us. My kids did their own thing, I did mine and the vibe was happy. Can’t ask for more than that.