So many pages to share

No matter what changes outside my home, there’s one constant within it: Reading.

Each morning, I read to each of my sons for fifteen or twenty minutes. Each evening, I do the same, before my husband picks up evening reading.

The most popular book in our household right now is Max Brallier’s The Last Kids on Earth‘s newly released sixth book. We’d pre-ordered this what feels like millennia ago, so that my kids had lost track of it and were then bouncing-off-the-walls thrilled when it showed up on our porch on Tuesday.

My older son, Li’l D, made off with the book almost immediately, devouring most its contents that evening and the rest the following morning. My younger son, Littler J, is enjoying it more slowly, fifteen minutes at a time as my husband and I take turns reading it with him.

I suspect we’ll finish it today. I also suspect Littler J will want to read it again the moment we’re finished, as he did with Kallie George’s four-book Heartwood Hotel series. The worlds in these books are comfortingly familiar compared, for the moment, to the world in which we actually live.

With Li’l D, I’m reading a Star Wars novel.

While my husband builds Star Wars costumes for fun and lounges around our house in a Jedi robe when it’s cold, I’ve never been much of a Star Wars person. I haven’t watched most the movies and I’m okay with that.

Given my general lack of interest in Star Wars movies, I’ve been surprised how much I enjoy sharing the novels with Li’l D. After beginning with a standalone stellar romance, we read a few Leia books.

A week or two back, we then started one of the books on my husband’s shelf: Delilah S. Dawson’s Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire. This book’s first pages made many references to an earlier story captured in an earlier book, so that we ultimately checked out that earlier (e-)book, Phasma, from the Los Angeles Public Library and are reading it now. (Thank goodness for libraries and their e-book collections!) I’m personally eager to get back to Black Spire, whose protagonist Vi has a comparatively minimal presence in Phasma.

My personal reading has recently been focused on health, expansively defined.

I finished Abdul El-Sayed’s Healing Politics earlier this week, after which I found myself grateful for all my heart and mind learned in its reading. I also finished Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, which similarly opened my heart and mind. Both of these books moved me away from fear and toward empathy, a most beautiful, welcome gift in the face of coronavirus and all the attendant political malfeasance.

Early each morning, before my kids are awake, I’m reading a little from Mary-Jane Schneider’s Introduction to Public Health. I’d bought this textbook last April, then set it aside to pursue other interests for a time.

Now, there’s very little of greater interest to me than public health. This is evidenced by my other in-progress reads: Laurie Garrett’s Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health and Pained: Uncomfortable Conversations about the Public’s Health.

As for my husband, there’s no telling what he’s reading via audiobook now—just that he is, as evidenced by the ear bud perpetually in his ear as he hides from our kids in the kitchen!

For this moment, I’m glad to myself be alone in the kitchen, contemplating the many gifts of books in my life today.

Soon, one or both of my boys will be awake. Soon, we’ll continue reading together. Soon, same as now, I’ll be grateful for each of the books that are carrying us, together and alone, through these strange days.

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