I have always been an avid reader. In elementary school I used to sneak in extra book time after I was supposed to be in bed, trusty book light and my latest Babysitter’s Club in hand before my mom would inevitably come in and tell me it was time to go to sleep.
I have found there are certain books that just stick with me, ones that I could read over and over. When I was younger, I read and reread Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume (oh, how I adored Judy Blume books) more times than I can remember. I don’t know what it was about these books, but I must have truly connected to the characters and story lines.
As an adult, there have been several books that have had a more profound effect on me than I would have imagined. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger was one in particular that just sat with me. When I was done reading it, I was truly sad. I felt like the characters were my friends, and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them. With The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet I was so captivated by the storyline of this behemoth of a book, I couldn’t believe when I was done reading the thousand or so pages. (Thank goodness there was a sequel!)
But there has been one book that I have read that has changed me fundamentally, in a way that no other book has and that was truly unexpected.
Radical homemakers: Reclaiming domesticity from a consumer culture by Shannon Hayes has had a huge impact on my life and where I am today. It is a 21st century look at what it means to be a homemaker, which is probably the antithesis of what often comes to mind when we hear the word. Unlike the other books I mentioned, it is non-fiction. It is probably as hippyish as it sounds, but in some ways I am a hippy at heart.
It was after reading this book that I decided I wanted to one day be at home with my future children (I read this book for my bookclub back in 2009, several years before I had Eve or was even engaged to Sam). It made me want to garden, connect more deeply with my community, to make sure that family were central to my home. It is was inspired me to start doing the majority of my shopping for my own clothes at thrift shops and start utilizing Freecycle and to be more conscious about how much I buy and consume. If I hadn’t read this book, I may have never started my own business or given myself permission to be a stay-at-home mom. I think, deep down, it also is what helped inspire me to say yes to Sam’s idea to travel around South America for five months after we got married.
When I picked up this book I would have never imagined that it would so profoundly affect me, to alter the way I look at the world and how I want to live my life. And I am grateful for it.
What books have you read that have had a profound affect on you?
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