I am not usually one to read fiction, although I always break this rule the minute a new book by Alexander McCall Smith releases. There are few reading moments that make me happier than those nights before bed when I am in the middle of a made-up adventure of Mma Ramotswe, Isabel Dalhousie, or little Bertie Pollock.
But other than AMS, I mostly read non-fiction books, such as memoirs, devotions, self-help, and curiosities of the culture (think Malcolm Gladwell).
Every once in a while, perhaps when there is a long gap between AMS books, I find myself wishing I had a book to rest with, a book to read not to be better in some way, and not to learn anything, but to read simply to be in a story that’s not my story.
The last book that fit this description for me was a book I saw featured in the People magazine I read when I went on an airplane trip a few weeks ago to visit my sister in Boston. I normally gloss over the Editor’s Picks page in People, but this time I dog-eared the page and put one of the featured books, Where the Crawdads Sing, on hold at our library.
When my turn came, I got the book, a 14-day loan, and read it over the course of ten days (which is to say ten nights). I was drawn into the story right from the start, and I think the author did an exceptional job developing the place, the characters, and the plot. I did not copy a single quote from the book, yet it filled my soul with rest and beauty because of the power of a good story.
My night reading now is back to the usual, but it’s also good. My friend Kara lent me Educated, a fascinating memoir about a Mormon family that would not educate their children or partake in the medical establishment. As soon as I finish this story, I’m on to Gisele Bundchen’s memoir, which I decided to get after reading an article on Gisele in that same People magazine.
Read People. Then read, people!