A love note to books

book 2

My favorite bookmark, in my current book…

I recently saw a little kid almost walk into a wall because she was reading a book.

It made me so very happy.

Not just because I think it’s funny when people run into things, but because I totally understand the enraptured joy that kid was feeling because of her book.

I’ve had several people ask me recently why I love books so much. (I’m assuming it’s just a question, and not an accusation, like, what is wrong with you, you freaky book girl?) Some people ask me how to start the reading habit, or how they can encourage their kids.

I began my love of books as an extremely emotional and introverted three-year-old. Books were a way to discover the world, escape from my own, and inspire my writing. Characters in books became my closest friends. By the time I was four years old, I was working as an actor and traveled frequently for shoots, so real-life friends were harder to maintain than the ones on the page. Those characters were always there when I needed them, and they always accepted me and welcomed me into their world – it didn’t matter how different I was.

My heart sighs with delight to see a kid reading. They are expanding their mind, learning about the world and figuring out their place in it. Especially now that video games and movies and TV can be all-consuming – reading is all the more sweet.

I’m not going to go on a technology rant and bash TV- I love a good Netflix binge. I love technology. I love my Kindle. I also love paper books and I think there is room for both. I once heard someone say that in the whole physical vs. ebook debate, they were “container neutral” and I thought that was brilliant. I don’t care how we get the words. We just need to get them.

The incredible thing about books is that you can read about absolutely anything. I don’t believe you need to cave to books you “should” read. If Dostoyevsky doesn’t do it for you – no sweat. Read what makes you feel alive and inspired. Read what you love. Is it sailing? Robots? 14th century farming techniques? Great. Find a book about it. Can’t find a book about it? Write a book about it.

Read a book that grabs you by the collar and throws you into the chair. And – this is controversial advice – if you don’t like a book, I believe you have permission to stop reading it. I give a book 50 pages to make me fall in love. If not, no hard feelings, but we go our separate ways. There are too many things I want to read, I won’t force myself to slog through something and resent it. I don’t think authors want you to suffer while reading their work. (Okay, maybe some do, but I don’t.) For me, reading is pure joy. Pure happiness.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read something that challenges you, pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes you think differently. Great art has a way of doing that. Art, at its core, is an expression of life and beauty. It might not seem traditionally beautiful – but the best book will contain something breathtaking, hidden in the form of deep truth and skilled wordsmithing.

And there is nothing that makes me happier than discovering something unexpectedly beautiful.

(If you are interested in knowing what books I love, and what I’m currently reading – check out my Goodreads profile, and friend me so we can share book recommendations! I also have specific shelves there for my favorite books on anxiety, meditation, writing, etc.)

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38 thoughts on “A love note to books

  1. What book(s) would you recommend to me? I am not a reader but desire to be a reader. I goal of mine is to read three books this year. I would love your recommendations.

  2. 50 pages, that is giving a lot of yourself, if you don’t have me at least interested in 10 then it’s not likely I’m going to continue. But I am much more picky with my books than I am with other forms of entertainment. It’s funny because with all of the sex and violence that we see in movies, if it’s over the top, then I just can’t take it in books. Somehow I feel like I’m giving too much of myself to it when I’m reading it. It is such a commitment to read a book that I am pretty much have to have it recommended to me, but when it is good then it is so much more rewarding than anything else. I’m pretty much a fiction reader, I don’t ever want to feel like I’m studying. Other than Stephen King, I didn’t read a book with joy until after I’d completed college. Somehow the whole studying aspect just shuts me down. Okay, this is kinda long winded, I’m gonna go check out your Goodreads page.

  3. My heart skips a beat EVERYTIME my iPhone “dings” to tell me I have new email from WordPress.com, as (until recently) I knew it meant a new update from Lisa Jakub…(now it’s either a her or Katey Sagal, which is a win either way.Lisa is more regular though,ftw). I love these posts,my only complaint is they are simply not long enough! Usually very inciteful, or thought provoking,the usually lighten my week….”break a leg” with your book, I’m really excited for its release later this year.

    • Speaking of heart skipping a beat! This post made my day. Thank you so much. I am so thrilled and honored that my posts are meaningful to you. I can’t wait to get the book on shelves for you.

  4. I am definitely one of those people who tends to run into things because I’m reading a book…or I forget to sleep. The other day, I had a very long day and I was just exhausted and planned to go to bed early, but then I started reading my book (The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss) and next thing I knew, it was 2 am!
    It’s funny that you have the 50 page rule; I do too! My mom used it when I was younger to encourage me to expand my reading horizons. She would suggest a book that I wouldn’t normally pick for myself, and I had to read at least 50 pages before I could give up on it, though sometimes she asked for 75 if the book was very long or difficult to get into. More often than not, I was hooked well before the 50 pages were up. I use the same tactic now with my boyfriend. He’s not much of a reader and I sometimes give him books for birthdays or Christmas to get him to read something different; I always say the same thing – give it at least 50 pages before you move on to something else. So far, it’s only worked once (the Dark Tower series by Stephen King), but I keep trying.

    • Smart mom! I think the 50 page rule is a good one. I recently had a book that didn’t really grab me until page 45 – but then I was so glad I stuck with it.

  5. I agree with you fully. My story was a bit different, I hated books, then I was hit with the worst case of insomnia, this is when I was working in the kitchen of the college I would work for later. On my feet all day, night time, wide awake. My mom told me to try reading a book before bed, I found an star wars book, I was hooked. The fall before I took a placement test for a GED class, to prepare for the test. My reading level was extremely low. I didn’t stick with it, after that summer of reading everything I could get my hands on, I went back to the GED class. I took another placement test, my reading level was off the charts! Reading is not only wonderful, taking you to places you’ve never been before, but also very good for you.

  6. I eagerly await each new blog post, as you’re a thoughtful writer with a keen sense of humor and I can relate to so many of your anxieties and interests. But I’m not sure how I feel about this GoodReads rabbit hole you’ve sent me down. Too many books being added to my wish list!

    Oh well. Keep up the fine work. Looking forward to the memoir.

    • Right??? Goodreads rocks. Thank you so much for the kind words – I get so excited that you guys are excited about the book.

  7. Lisa, I totally agree with you I would be miserable without a Book to read, raised my kids from 6 months on Books were everything, you never have to be sad or lonely you always have a friend a BOOK. They are great woman now and quite well learned. S o send me books you have loved to read I always take good recomendations

  8. NOT AWKWARDLY HITTING ON YOU, I SWEAR.

    I’M MARRIED.

    BUT.

    I have to congratulate my younger self on having such excellent taste as to have a ladycrush on you. Tiny!Kat was always such a voracious reader, so I would have been thrilled beyond reason to find out that you were one, too. (Also would have watched The Beautician and the Beast even more times than I did, which…uh…may not have been a positive outcome.)

    Anyway, I think your posts on books you enjoy and on reading are some of my favourites. 🙂

  9. I started reading early in my childhood too. I was asthmatic and couldn’t run around the playground with other kids or it would bring on an asthma attack. This was back in the days when all kids ran around playgrounds and climbed trees so I was the odd one out. I loved the worlds that I could retreat to in books, and you are so right about finding friends in them! Even though my health has long since improved, my love of reading has remained constant my whole life.

    • I love hearing that other kids were comforted by books – especially those who felt “different” for whatever reason. Thanks for sharing!

    • I love this – I have a thing for trains. I think it started when I was about 8 and acted in a PSA about not playing on train tracks. Then all I wanted to do was play on train tracks. (As evidenced by the last picture in the Photos section of this blog….)

  10. I’m determined to read some classics!! This was my New Years resolution…It’s now February and not happened thus far!…Must try harder 🙂 Do you have a favourite classic? Where to start!

    • Sounds like a great goal! I’d like to get into some of the older classics, myself. My favorite classics are The Great Gatsby, anything Salinger, East of Eden, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Bell Jar…

      • Ooh fab! Thanks for that 🙂 I read To Kill a Mockingbird for english lit at school. It would be nice to read it out of choice now. Heard good things about the Bell Jar as well… I must make a start!

  11. Oh how I love reading!! I do my best to make sure my kids are book lovers too. And physical book vs e-book? I have a kindle, but it’s really hard for me to get into books on there. I just love the comfort of turning pages and holding an actual book. I sent you a friend request on Goodreads. It is by far my favorite social media!

  12. My father is an avid reader and the happiest moments of my childhood were when he took me with him to the library. I would literally ran to the children’s section.
    I recently re-read “Robinson Crusoe”, my favourite book back then; I didn’t fall in love with the main character this time, but I still enjoyed reading it 🙂

  13. I thoroughly enjoyed your article of the love of reading. I grew up on an island off the coast of Maine in a 13 family lobstering/ fishing community on the whole island, so…. after my monings of pulling lobstef traps my days were left to my own entertainment. At the time, i was 7 and the Hardy Boys mysteries were my indulgment, and i consumed the pages and adventures as tho they were my own. There were about a dozen kids of different ages on the island and i was one of three boys, the rest being girls. Seeing that i was not partial to playing dolls or house, i would go to my bedroom above th boathouse and read. I first read JRR Tolken, the Hobbit and the Trilogy when i was 10 and the world of imagination opened up new doors with his brilliant writing. Those are my favorite to read 50 years later still. I continued to read the Classics and reread them still. When i started to have my own children, i would read to them every nite at bedtime and always encouraged them to read. They followed that example and developed their own capacity for reading. They, my three sons, (no, i am not Fred McMurray) Ha Ha, are now 33, 35 and 37. I have continued to read to my grandhildren and encourage them to expand their minds and imaginations. I recently gave my 7 year old granddaughter her first Nancy Drew mysteries book 1and 2. She loves to read! So i always say, READ READ READ…. Thank you for all that you post! HAPPY TRAILS(:

  14. Books just warm my soul, there is something about them that just never gets old. I’m not going to lie, I have the exact same bookmark pictured. I’ve had it’s since I was a kid and it has held the place in many a book. Here’s to it holding the place of a few more.

  15. I try really hard not to give up on books but sometimes you just have to. Life is too short to spend time on a bad book. There are so many other books out in the world to explore. Although I do have a shelf on Goodreads for books I think I might pick up again some day, ha. What’s worse is when people rave about a book and you read it and just don’t get the hype or worse, someone hates a book you just couldn’t put down!

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