My name is Sue. And I've always been an avid reader. During the pandemic, I am reading more than ever. It is one of the few things that I can do without distraction. Just when I'm reaching the end of my rope with staying home, I know I need to take an afternoon just sitting around reading and I am brought back to myself. It's not only an escape. But how often have you thought, wow, if only I could sit around and do nothing but read? In the course of my life, I've had that thought often. With that thought in mind, an afternoon of reading can make me feel as though I'm not stuck at home, but rather that I'm living the dream.
I was one of those kids who walked around with my nose in a book. Packing for a vacation meant packing a book for every single day I'd be away...plus one extra... in case. I've felt the anxiety of being on a 5-hour airplane flight and finishing my last remaining book with over 3 hours left of the flight.
The only time in my life that I wasn't an avid reader was when I went back to school for my second graduate degree. I was working full-time, raising 3 kids on my own and all my reading time was devoted to reading for school. Ah, what relief to be done with all that!
The first thing that I did after finishing up that degree was to join a book club! My opening into the world of book clubs. It was a book club comprised of women who worked in the same school district as I did. Attending that book club meeting was a high priority back in those days.
My first order of business when planning my move from New Jersey to Florida was to find a new book club. My new community had a book club so weeks ahead of my move, I phoned the contact number for the book club to ask her when the club met and what book would they be discussing at the first meeting I'd be able to attend after my move. I still remember. It was A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (2009). Then I worried that this Florida book club wouldn't be as serious as my New Jersey book club. Thankfully that worry was totally unfounded.
Here it is, 10 years later, and I'm the leader of the book club.
I fully retired in 2015 and strangely, until the pandemic, I did't read as much as I did back when I was working full-time. Interesting, huh? I was a fifth grader teacher for many years. Not only did I read at night before going to bed, I read early in the morning before work, I listened to audio books driving back and forth to work and I got to read at work! How lucky is that. My dad, a former elementary school principal, gave me that idea. He would frequently tell me about how he instituted DEAR Time (Drop Everything and Read Time) for his entire school. And he didn't just mean the students. He wanted the teachers to read, mostly to set a good example for the students. I thought that was totally inspired. I told him that if my principal ever called me out for reading while my students were reading (rather than doing my lesson plans, grading papers or other types of paperwork), I'd just blame him! He was totally fine with that. and you know what? In all my years of reading while my students read, none of my principals ever mentioned having a problem with it. As a retiree, I longed for time when I'm "supposed to be reading." That doesn't happen in retired life. Or at least it didn't happen until a novel coronavirus came on the scene.
After I'd been in Florida a few years, I joined a second book club. The club is called Books and Beer, and until last year, we met in an Irish pub. My introduction to this book club came when, much to my surprise, in rural central Florida, they were going to discuss Uncle Tom's Cabin, a book I'd read several years earlier but never had anyone to discuss it with! I figured I'd go to the one meeting. More than 8 years later, it's one of the highlights of every month. Because of this book club, I've read a lot of classics as well as a lot of books I never would have picked up on my own.
As if two book clubs weren't enough, in a time of transition at my synagogue, I decided that we needed a book club there. So I started that one. It hasn't picked up much steam, but I hold out hope. We only meet four times per year. And we only read a Holocaust novel once per year. I didn't want this book club to become a Holocaust book club, although that would certainly be possible.
My favorite genres are historical fiction, women's fiction, and memoir/biography/autobiography. I'm also a huge fan of young adult fiction.
I'd love to publish a book. I've had two manuscripts completed for years - one is middle grade fiction, the other is a middle grade picture book. I realized several years ago that I just don't have the stick-to-it-ness required to see that happen. So... I'll read instead.
I still get the urge to write. I have notebooks all over the place with story ideas. But for now my writing is restricted to blogging.
I'm always open for book recommendations. And I really enjoy comments on my book reviews.