“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.” — Nora Ephron
Books for me have always been a Linus blanket, items that upon having within an arm’s reach to grab from my purse, to pick up off of the bedside table, to reach for on my desk or pull from my carry-on, offer the comfort of calm, peace, a getaway from the real world if I need a break or a deep breath.
A book, if chosen properly, is a moment of escape into a world you choose to venture into. Perhaps it is a world of fantasy, or a world of improvement to become your better self should you apply the lessons, or maybe it is into a world you dream about – the countryside of France or Italy or [name your dream destination].
As I scrolled through my Instagram pics over the past few years, I noticed a shift. A shift I am thankful as taken place which is what inspired today’s Why Not . . . ? post. In 2011 I wrote a series of posts about the value of reading, but today I would like to drill down more specifically into a particular type of reading: leisure reading, in particular, evening leisure reading.
Approaching the term of leisure as doing something for pure enjoyment, over the past 20 months, almost nearly coinciding with my arrival in Bend (you can view all of my IG pics that involve reading material using the hashtag #tsllreads), I have read more memoirs, cozy mysteries, light-hearted fiction, than I have ever read in previous years.
While I am regularly reading self-improvement, how-tos and inspiration books for reaching one’s full contentment and fullest potential in all arenas of life, which is something I thoroughly enjoy doing, such reading requires a laser focus as I want to drill down to the author’s intent and then share with you here on the blog as well as on the podcast what I have learned and wish to pass along. Recently, what I have intentionally gravitated toward in order to balance the growth, improvement and productivity part of my life is the pleasure part.
All of the books shown here in today’s post are images captured over the past year and a half (except one from Peter Mayle that I had to include – it is truly delightful) that have savored and indulged in for pure pleasure. From Lauren Collins’ When in France: Love in a Second Language, to most recently M.L. Longworth’s cozy, set-in Provence The Curse of La Fontaine mystery (which upon picking up for the first time, had a very hard time putting down – playful, engaging, delightful characters set in a lovely dream of a French town).
And it is in the evening, especially the weekday evenings, but the weekend evenings as well, whether I am at home or traveling, that I seek out a book of leisure to read. No matter how the day has gone, extraordinarily well or frustratingly off-course, picking up such a book as the concluding punctuation mark that I can choose to bring me peace, calm and a beautiful taste of something I love is a simple pleasure, or should I say a petit plaisir. 😉
Just this past weekend, upon receiving a hand-me-down armchair from my mother that has been a piece of furniture that always spoke to me with its silk upholstery and dapper stripes as well as tears to indicate how much it has been enjoyed, I cleaned out a back bedroom that wasn’t being used and creating a cozy reading nook. Peering out into the front yard, with a matching hassock to rest tired feet, a painting found on Esty of a Parisian evening, and of a course a side table built with extra books for my cup of tea, the first evening the room was complete, Norman snoozed on my lap while I began M.L. Longworth’s latest mystery. Needless to say, if time stood still in that moment, I would have been happy for a very long time.
So today, I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite leisure books, and if you have a few titles you would like to share with fellow TSLL readers, please do in the comments sections.
~The book seen in the top photo: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
~The Curse of La Fontaine by M.L. Longworth~
~When in French: Love in a Second Language by Lauren Collins~
~Under the Tuscan Sun (the 20th Anniversary Edition) by Frances Mayes (The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell)~
“I am simply a ‘book drunkard.’ Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” — L.M. Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series
~Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship: by Isabel Vincent~
~Acquired Tastes by Peter Mayle~
~The Only Street in Paris by Elaine Sciolino~
“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
~The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown~
Currently reading or have put on my reading list:
~My Life in France by Julia Child
~The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin
~An Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas by John Baxter
~How it All Began: A Novel by Penelope Lively
~Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy by Frances May (2000)
~Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life by Frances May (2011)
“When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes.” — Erasmus