January 11, 2024

The Power of Books

Are you an avid reader like me? These are my favorite books from 2023.

When my kids were really young, I marveled at the feel of a book in my hand. I would hold a sleeping baby in one arm and read on the other side. Every time I turned a page, i would dive te deeper into the the characters and stories. 

I joined a book club with a group of friends so we could have lively conversations over wine and learn from each other’s viewpoints. 

But, as the kids grew older, I slowly stopped making time to read. 

I got busy building a business, being a mother, staying involved in my community and the years passed. 

When I was away for six months, my friends and family regularly sent me books. I would alternate between nonfiction and fiction. 

I kept a list of the books I read. I could be in China on Monday in the early 1900s and then South Africa on Friday in the late 1980s, just depending on how fast I got through each book. The stories kept me sane. 

Lately, I “read” all my books on Audible. So, technically, I listen to the books. I have found my favorite narrators, authors and genre. 

I am part of a small book group now with two of my mentors, Dave Lawrence and Toni Randolph, and three other passionate Miami lovers. I have read biographical accounts of Jose Marti, Martin Luther King, Jr., J. Edgar Hoover as well as cultural learnings through Demon Copperhead and Collision of Power. We meet monthly to learn from each other’s perspectives after honing in on topics, people and takeaways.

I have found my favorite type of book is either historical fiction or memoirs. 

Early in the pandemic, when I (along with the rest of the world) thought it was just a temporary vacation from normalcy, I sat at my computer and used the newfound time to begin writing my memoir. I wrote about 140 pages and then life took over again. I also realized that I was still living my “end” in terms of my life changing experience and I needed a few years of living before I could return to the memoir. 

Having said that, I started pouring into memoirs. From Michelle Obama to Matthew McConaughey to Alicia Keys and more, every memoir taught me something about writing.  I learned to write all my stories down. From the most mundane childhood moment to the memorable that made me laugh with wonder and cry in pain. So, I have been doing that…slowly.

The other genre that fascinates me is historical fiction. I absolutely can lose myself in another time period and maybe even country in a story that opens my eyes to a cause, a conflict, a revolution….anything….something….that I haven’t yet learned about. And when this lesson is wrapped in a solid fiction, I am engrossed and I just can’t stop reading.

What I have figured out is that every page I “read”, every author I listen to, I am more and more aware of myself. These days, I search for recommendations from friends and respected mentors. I am reading at least one book a week and I find every reason to turn my book on. I can be walking my dog, at the gym, in my car driving to pick up my daughter or just getting ready in the morning. 

I yearn to read more and discover more of myself as I do it. I have heightened my self-awareness intentionally by the simple act that we learned as children.  Reading.

What are you reading right now?

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