A cup of black tea, a good book, and Jane on my lap (shh...she's my favorite). That was my noontime treat after a morning full of magazine work, while my babes were off at riding lessons and dance and all that jazz (literally).
Joining me yesterday on that little session in the pasture, was Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot. Well, not actually her, though I think we both would have liked that, but her newest book, The Amazing Thing About The Way It Goes. Which kind of felt just like having her here. Almost, anyway. She's an incredibly funny knitter, we all know that from her blog and books. But what surprised me when I got to know Steph - though really it shouldn't have, I mean why would someone be funny about just one thing? - is that she's wise, witty and incredibly funny about everything. And the things that matter to her - family and home, especially - are things that matter greatly to me too. This particular book of essays is a beautiful one full of just those things - and funny for all people, not just knitterly people.
I've been reading a lot this winter. It's often been hard for me to find a way to incorporate all the reading I love into my days - especially since beginning Taproot work, where so much of my work time is spent reading. At night, my eyes are often too tired for scanning more than a few pages before falling fast asleep and forgetting everything I just read. And during the day, sitting down with a book in a room full of what appears to be five happily occupied children sometimes serves as a loud alarm to all five to simultaneously need me. I've missed diving into books though, in the way that you can't stop thinking about them and can't wait to get back to the story.
But somewhere along the way this winter, I embraced audio books, which has totally and completely changed my current reading habits. Actually, it's the specific combination of my iPhone, a wireless headset (so no dangly cords are in the way), and the bluetooth in the car. All that technology converging to bring books back into my everyday life. Of course there's nothing like holding a real book in my hands and turning the pages - I do prefer that so much more. But for right now, listening is working for me and my days, and it's so good. With the headset, I can listen while folding laundry, doing dishes, vacuuming even - without needing to blare what I'm listening to for all to hear. And at night when I want to tuck into my studio for some sewing or quilting without waking anyone up, it's the perfect company. Or in the car, while running errands or delivering children to and fro - which occupies a good deal of my day.
Though in retrospect I wonder just how it is that I managed to spend forty hours in one week listening, I did indeed listen to The Goldfinch this month and truly enjoyed it (I have mixed feelings about the ending, but I won't spoil anything here). The Call the Midwives series is another that was so thoroughly enjoyed. Of course I love the PBS series, but the writing goes into so much more fascinating detail about midwifery and the era. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd was an amazing read. I also had a stint of Anna Quindlen reading both Every Last One (excellent if you're in need of a good cry) and Still Life with Bread Crumbs. I revisited The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather and got happily lost in that world for a while. And saved for just car rides to dance with the boys, we recently finished and enjoyed both The Book Thief and The Fault In Our Stars.
And you? What are you reading (or listening to!) these days?