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June ‘ 07 ~ More About Books

June '07

I guess it’s no surprise to me there are a lot of book lovers among my newletters readers! Seems like books are lifesavers and friends for many of us – especially during those times when our lives are changing. I thought you might like to read a couple of the responses I received to my query of last month. The first is from Kathy Phillips, who wrote to say,

I too was at the RARI May breakfast – wouldn’t miss it! I attend yearly with my book club. I agree that literature can be a life raft. A book that helped me immensely (kept me off the psychiatrist’s couch as I’ve told many friends) was Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. The author is a Jungian therapist who uses folk tales to illustrate her points. It’s a great book to read just to learn more about the stories, but the author is so gifted that her healing words leap off the page. I first read it shortly after my divorce but have returned to it repeatedly. If you have not read it yet, I recommend it highly. The other thing that helped me enormously was keeping a journal. Between the reading and the writing I was able to process a lot. Things are much better now than they were in those days, but I do believe those things kept me from a serious depression. Thanks for bringing this subject up; I hope there are many others who have had great experiences with novels and other forms of literature.

And in describing how books have served as a life raft for her, Joann Risher emailed me to say,

Oh, my goodness–I couldn’t even begin to tell you! When I was a little girl, we moved from our old house out to our farm. In my first home, a bunch of my family lived on our street. So, every morning I used to go visiting, to both my grandmothers and three of my aunts. Mother said she never worried, she just looked out to see where our dog, Susie, was stationed and waiting for me. When we moved to the country, I did not really take to farm life the way my brother did, so I read and dreamed and dreamed and read! Through all our self-imposed exile as a corporate wife, I could just tuck into a good book and forget about all the boxes to be unpacked and tears on the faces of my children, who were missing their chums in whatever town we’d left. Then, as every deep reader knows, there’s that inexorable urge to see if you can do it yourself! And, although, I never got any of my books published, I managed to get a ton of journalism printed. That meant more to me than I can say. Right now, I’m in a Dante class via my church, as well as two other book clubs. Books are not only your friends, books have a way of making friends for you. There are those of us who are just bookish all our days.

If you are a member of the “bookish-all-our-days” club and are seeking information about how to navigate your changing life more effectively, I have a recommendation. I suggest you read the book I mentioned last month, The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine. If you’ve ever wondered why midlife is such a challenging time for women, this book explains, in easy-to-understand prose, how the various shifts in our lives are shaped by our female brain chemistry.

Meanwhile, I wish you the contentment of a comfy hammock, a balmy breeze and a fine book in your hands!

Happy summer reading,

Bonnie Leonard EdD, CLC