Whether your family’s near or far, your family of origin or your family of choice, you’re bound to be spending time with them these days, whether it’s in person or in your mind. And if you’re like me–and a lot of folks with feelings–spending time with family’s a mixed bag. So I’m here to talk about what books can do for you during the holiday season.
For those lucky enough to have kids in their lives, I second my fellow Babe Stacy J’s advice: get them books, gift them books, read them books. (The funnier the voices the better!) With any luck, by the time your kids (or nieces or neffs or cousins twice removed) realize that reading helps you’ll learn stuff, they’ll be hooked! (That is, if you choose lovingly. I will never forgive the teacher who bored my brother out of decades of reading with her ridiculous, not-at-all age appropriate assignments.)
As for the grown-ups, I’m of at least two minds on what sort of books to reach for, and they depend entirely on your mood. Do you want to reach for a book that helps? Or do you want to reach for a book that helps you escape? (As for how to find time to read anything during the holidays, may I suggest the secret chapter stolen in the rest room in case of emergency?)
For those looking for the first, I still think my obsession from last month, The Power of Habit, is a life-changer. But if the family face time is making you feel a wee bit claustrophobic–and not the least bit romantic–Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel could be a welcome eye-opener, too. In a way, the title says it all. The book’s about the paradox of intimacy, which goes something like this: while we need to feel safe and secure to experience intimacy (sexual or emotional), without the distance that allows us to experience ourselves as separate beings, intimacy is almost impossible to achieve. In other words, the book explores the “union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.” Perel’s years of clinical experience have given her a wealth of examples that bring the theoretical down to earth. Not only might she help explain yourself to yourself, she’ll reassure you you’re not alone.
If you’re looking to get further away from home, I invite you to read Divergent. Because nothing makes your family look better than a dysfunctional dystopian one. (Especially when you get to read it from the awesomely privileged grown-up, never-have-to-live-with-them-again persepctive.) I admit this book’s a lot harder to put down than Mating in Captivity, so you may lose some sleep, but you’ll probably be feeling a lot better about your own adolescent angst after reading about what Tris has to go through on her sixteenth birthday.
Hope you’re having a fantastic holiday season! What books are you snuggling up with?