I'm done reading, but I'm not done.

Has this ever happened to you? Over the years there have been many.  Big Man always wonders why I have such a big bag. It's because I always have to carry two books- the one I am reading and the one that is next. I also need a journal, a pen, and a tiny notebook. The journal is for my thoughts and the tiny notebook is for lists of things to do and read. It's complicated to him but makes perfect sense to me.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the books I've carried around in my life. But you must know, especially if you consider yourself a reader, that books can hit you in different ways at different times in your life. I have set down a book, utterly disgusted, and picked it up four years later wondering what I missed the first time. The books I am sharing are books that had some profound impact on me at the time. And this habit of carrying a book well after I finish has always just been about my unwillingness to be done either with the story, a character, or my thinking about it.  Sometimes what has hit me seems undefinable. But the physical book remains and so, I hold on.

As I have taken this trip down memory lane, I have struggled to remember my reading life in my 20's. What is up with that? I can see myself in my childhood bedroom charging through the Babysitter's Club and discovering To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. Weird, right? But this is totally me. I can envision yet another Danielle Steele novel tucked between the pages of my American lit. textbook as the teacher droned on in eleventh grade, and I can smell the tissue paper pages of my first collection of Shakespeare's plays in my English literature class as a junior in college. After that, life gets fuzzy until kids come along.

What these books have in common for me is one thing- I could not let go of them.That's it.You must know, I just had to stop. I did. I could go on, but each of these books spent a little more time in my book bag than necessary. Except that it was necessary. To me.

To Kill A Mockingbird  Harper Lee

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and
On the Pulse of  Morning  Maya Angelou

The Good Earth by Pear S. Buck

Operating Instructions Anne Lamott

Into the Wild Jon Krakauer

Tiny Beautiful Things Cheryl Strayed

The Chronology of Water Lidia Yuknavitch

The Signature of All Things Elizabeth Gilbert

Why I Wake Early Mary Oliver

Julia Child's Rules Karen Karbo

The Liars Club Mary Karr

The Magician's Assistant  and
Truth and Beauty Ann Patchett

Here if You Need Me Kate Braestrup

The Gift of an Ordinary Day  Katrina Kenison

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination Elizabeth McCracken

Still Writing Dani Shapiro

Contents May Have Shifted Pam Houston

The View from Mrs. Thompson's House (from Consider the Lobster) David Foster Wallace

Olive Kitteridge Elizabeth Strout

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