Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cabin Fever, Mall Kiosks and A Good Book

It's late and I should be in bed, but I'm trying to steal a few more minutes of time to myself, which is a rare commodity these days. I'm ok with that, but at the same time, an hour sans diaper changing or washing dishes or scanning the floor for small, mysterious things that could be mistaken for food by small people close to the ground is, as Mastercard might put it, "priceless."

I was almost swallowed whole by cabin fever today and since I couldn't get it together in time for Bible Study, I instead opted for a visit to The Mall. I know what you're thinking and I agree. Obviously, the mall is not an adequate substitute for the study of the Bible, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

The mall visit was short and basically included three things: Chic fil a, a regretful and impetuous purchase at a random mall kiosk, and a visit to Barnes and Noble. My 6-count nugget Kid's Meal at Chic fil a was nice, despite being in the middle of a busy food court whilst feeding The Babe with one hand and myself with the other. But, what really made this venture to the mall rewarding was the 20 minutes I spent in Barnes and Noble.

When I have a moment to think about what I'd like to be doing on any given afternoon, it usually involves the dream of being by myself at Barnes and Noble, some sort of coffee beverage in my hand, leisurely wandering through the Fiction and Literature section of said store for as long as my little heart desires. On my very first Mothers' Day (which was this year), I requested as my gift from Matt (and Sam) an hour at B & N by myself and a little spending money for a book or two. Despite the fact that the hour ended up only being 45 minutes for one reason or another, it was a glorious forty and five minutes. Two books, a magazine and a cafe latte later, I was a new woman.

If you aren't a book lover or a word lover of some sort, you probably won't understand how incredibly comforting and exhilarating the smell of a new, freshly published book can be. I felt my heart unfold a little as I pushed Sam's stroller through the aisles of lovely covers and intriguing titles this afternoon. I love seeing familiar books that I've read more than once dolled up in new covers (today's favorite was "Out of Africa's" fancy new book jacket). I also love discovering new titles that I've yet to read and dream of reading one after another after Sam graduates from high school, eighteen years from now. Sigh.

Out of all those thousands of books on the shelves today, I found myself purchasing one I've read twice already. C.S. Lewis says something about what it means to read a book more than once and I wish I could remember what it was he said. I think it's something relatively close to "a book worth reading is worth reading more than once." It's possible I just made up that quote, but it reminds me of something Lewis said once...or maybe said. Sort of.

Anyhoo, I wandered over to the biography section of B & N hoping to find a copy of Condaleeza Rice's new book, as I'd just seen her interviewed about it yesterday and found my interest piqued. But, instead, I saw the familiar green cover of Martha Beck's Expecting Adam and knew immediately that I needed to read it for a third time. I won't explain why this book is one of my favorites here, but I will say that it is totally worth your time.

I felt that lovely satisfaction of purchasing something worthwhile as I swiped my card and walked out with my B & N bag hung over the handle of Sam's stroller. I'm hopeful that tomorrow's weather is overcast (i.e. perfect reading weather) and that Sam takes a long afternoon nap (i.e. wishful thinking).

Ah, Barnes and Noble, you were the welcome antidote to a bout of cabin fever and a refuge from the intellectual black hole that stay-at-home motherhood can sometimes be.

Now, if only I could undo that unfortunate mall kiosk purchase...


  1. So, are you revealing what the unfortunate mall kiosk purchase was?

  2. hmm I'm rereading A Severe mercy right now and I think that had the quote you were thinking of...something about how a true book lover is someone who rereads books. You'd love the malls here...almost all are outside so you get to enjoy fresh air and sunshine while you window shop. It's my latest form of therapy.

  3. In honor of this post, I've written a few of my favorite CS Lewis quotes on literature...

    "Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become."

    "You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me."

    "Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading."



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