In May, I attended a Booktopia event at our local Northshire Bookstore, featuring eight talented authors who graciously talked about sources of inspiration and read excerpts from their new books. The event left me spellbound by all the authors, the readers who attended, and the range of stories. Needless to say, I stocked up on my summer reading.
One of the authors, Will Schwalbe, suggested that we ask everyone we meet, “What are you reading?” and while presenting his newest book, Books for Living, he added, “The answer may surprise you.” Indeed, I have taken his advice and find that people really do love to talk about books.
Gardens and books go hand in hand; both allow us to explore new worlds, connect to the past, and develop cherished memories of people and places. Yet pondering this question, I realized that rarely do I read beyond my favorite topics: food and gardens. Novels have somehow seemed too frivolous.
But I’m ready to change all that. Finding the right book is like finding the right plant: it involves a little bit of magic, coincidence, and experience. Sometimes it requires us to simply relax and enjoy the ride. Not all plants succeed, just like every book may not resonate, yet I’m learning to delight with every new discovery.
We often ask another gardener “What are you growing?” as a way to discover something. I’m adding “What are you reading?” to my inquiry, because there is nothing like discovering a new voice and perspective.
Reading, like gardening, is more important than ever. What could be better than a place on the couch near an open window, or a screen porch with the smell of lilacs wafting in while lingering over a good book. Finding the time is the hard part.
A few of my favorite authors and their titles from the Booktopia event:
( Note: links are to Northshire Bookstore, our local, family-owned bookstore.)