Celebrating Leprechauns & Good Reads
If strange-colored brew and good eats are your thing, March is your month. It’s when we celebrate the Luck O’ the Irish, that annual St. Paddy’s Day tradition featuring green beer, fish ‘n chips and Shamrock Shakes, Proof of Irish heritage isn’t required. Faking an Irish brogue gains entry.
I prefer to consume books while sipping fine wine, sneaking Hershey Kisses and honoring March is Reading Month. If I’m not curled up in a home window seat wrapped in a cozy blanket with a good read, you’ll find me at a favorite bookstore jockeying for coveted spots in front of the fireplace. I adore books, bookstores and libraries. I love the lingering ink smell of just-published works and the library musk of rare editions. I enjoy the crisp sound made by turning pages and knowing someone boldly placed innermost thoughts on paper, then autographed them for good measure.
Books are glorious gifts. I embrace them to escape the latest world crisis or grab information to better defend my beliefs. When I’ve finished a book’s final sentence and I’m sad it’s over, it’s because it was that good. I cradle books like fragile baby birds, carefully returning them to rightful shelves.
When my generous hubby gave me an Christmas IOU for that popular Kindle gift from Amazon.com, I asked him to cancel the order, with a stare that said he should know me better. My partner of three decades proclaimed the gadget’s marvel and promised I could easily read my favorite media while traveling. I wasn’t sold— and I didn’t care that Oprah was raving about hers. I’m not ready to cheat on hard covers and paperbacks with another new-fangled toy that requires charging.
As a child, I drew inspiration from Nancy Drew and Seventeen, which I read on lazy Saturdays, imagining faraway adventures. As an adult, I embrace the journals of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Julia Cameron. I marvel at the monthly beauty in Traverse and Santa Barbara magazines and soak up serenity in Yoga Journal. Sundays are reserved for fragrant mugs of Earl Grey tea and the New York Time’s style section, transporting me to the city I planned to take by storm as a starry-eyed young writer.
As an author, I know what it takes to put heartfelt words to the page to create intimate works you hope live on forever. My loyalty took solid root in precious hours spent reading to my kids. My daughter, Jenna, now 24, loved The Berenstain Bears. Every single time I tried to skip a page to move bedtime along, she caught me. My son, Eric, thought I was the coolest mom in the world because I screwed up Dr. Seuss rhymes and channeled the voices of Grover, Elmo and Cookie Monster while reading him Sesame Street books.
Knowing that my daughter’s love of reading has never waned, even as her generation’s habits fuel the demise of print media, is the bloom of literary seeds planted long ago— memories especially sacred now amid the loud quiet of empty nest.
Books and periodicals let us embrace solitude without feeling lonely. They require no passport for entry, instantly transporting dreamers to the intoxicating locales of Mumbai, Provence, Istanbul, Paris, South Africa or Fifth Avenue. Whether you celebrate the words of Chaucer and Dickenson, Michael Crichton or Harry Potter, chick lit or Rolling Stone, or that bestselling Bible with a fine Merlot, Guinness, or milk and cookies, reading is one of life’s most satisfying pleasures.
This March, give technology a rest and pick up a book—and may the Luck ‘O the Irish be with you with every sweet word you inhale. ###