The Fellowship of the Likes

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I made it! By golly, I made it through!

I won’t say I’ve started reading The Fellowship of the Ring 100 times, but 3 is practically 100. In the grand scheme of things, I mean.

No?

Failing to read a book three times, and then coming back for one more try– that’s a lot of trying. I knew if I could get past those first 100-150 pages, I’d start enjoying myself. I knew that it would be on the fourth time of listening to the Proudfoot heritage that I’d finally absorb enough to persevere.

Finishing The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring made me feel like a hero.

Too far?

And what do I have to say about the experience, you might ask?

There are some books that touch you; they’ll leave a mark on your heart and occupy a lot of space your head. You’ll reread them several times in the beginning. If you’re renting it, the librarian will contemplate just giving it to you already so she can stop seeing your embarrassed face and asking you if you’re interested in a similar book. “Similar, as in not the same book, dear.” Your love for that story will eventually ebb into a slow burn on the fringes of your heart. Another book will steal you in the same way, but when that old favorite is mentioned, the fire will spark yet again. You’ll reread the worn copy and discover it’s both a little better and a little different than you remembered it. A great book will bring you right back to that first time you read it, the first time you loved it. I gasped here. How could I have been fooled there? I think I skimmed this part; I’ve never read that line, surely! My favorite scene’s coming up. Poetry! How did I not see the poetry?! Settle down, Hil; he’s not really dead.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is not and will never be one of those books. Not for me, anyway. I’m sorry I feel that way, but I do.

I read The Catcher in the Rye recently. Guys, I feel even worse about that one.

It takes a lot for me to admit that. Sometimes I feel an enormous pressure to like the things that are universally considered great. (Don’t we all?) One of the biggest lessons of my adult life has been accepting that it’s okay to like what I like and dislike what I don’t. I don’t like kale unless it’s greatly disguised, but you can feed me spinach all day. (Please don’t.) Fresh flowers make me feel good, and I like that they do. I like the smell of puppies, even though I’m pretty sure it’s two steps away from urine. I like to wear makeup, but I don’t like to have to wear makeup. I like to wear pants, but I don’t like to wear them for more than two hours. (Sweat pants are the obvious exception.) I like to hear honest opinions when asked, but I don’t like to be told what to do (even though I might still do it). I don’t like loud bars–so I don’t like bars– but I love late night talks. I love to read, but I do not like The Lord of the Rings books. I do not like a traffic jam. I do not like The Catcher in the Rye, Sam-I-am!

And well, I think all of that is okay. I think I’m okay. More than okay, I say! I’ll quit with the nonsense rhymes. Actually, I’ll quit talking, full stop.

PS Oh, Bridget…

PPS I totally listened to The Fellowship on audiobook. That still counts, right?

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children’s books

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I live for kids’ books. It’s almost a problem. Almost.

If you asked me what my favorite book for adults is, I would have a hard time coming up with something written in the past twenty years. That’s not to say I haven’t read recent fiction, but those stories don’t impact me like children’s books do.

There’s something very unassuming about a kids’ book. Some would say that they operate on fewer levels or that they are more on the nose. Hmm. Well, I would first argue with the “some,” but then I would say that sometimes the most clever, most affective way is to hit something right on the sniffer. Besides, isn’t simplicity wonderful?

“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” – L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea  (Oh, Anne Shirley!)

Children’s books are like those sweetest days.

Here’s my list of 7 Children’s Books Every Adult Should Read. (They’re all recent middle grade books.)

Here are three recent picture books that I wanted to put on the list, and then didn’t because I didn’t (I’m thuper thmart).

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman // Oh, gosh. This book is sweet and lovely. Isn’t that what a picture book is supposed to be?

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce // Heather gave me this book a couple of Christmases ago. I read it out loud, and then cried (in front of everyone). Note to self: destroy Christmas Video 2012.

Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann (author) & Elizabeth Kann // My nieces introduced me to this one. They have impeccable taste.