Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My Reading Life by Mrs. Schwinden

“On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.” 
Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I wish I could read a book a day! I do need to at least end each day with reading.
It has always been a huge part of my life and is my favorite thing to do. At times this has made me a bit of an oddball, but it has also made me happy. I’ve highlighted a few favorites from the different stages of my reading life below.

The early years
I was fortunate to have parents who loved me and kept me safe. As a result, I read every book I could get my hands on that featured children in peril. Some favorites during this stage were Up a Road Slowly (Irene Hunt) and The Endless Steppe (Esther Hautzig). I also devoured the Little House on the Prairie series (Laura Ingalls Wilder) and Encyclopedia Brown (Donald Sobol).

Life with children
As some of you know, I’m adjusting to life in an empty nest. This picture reminds me of the crazy, busy, happy days when my three kids were home and most nights would end with a book. My son loved Are You My Mother? (P.D.Eastman), and Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak).  I also suffered through read aloud sessions with him of the original Goosebumps series (R.L.Stine). I was the one who ended up with bad dreams! My middle daughter loved Madeline (Ludwig Bemelmans), I Like to Be Little (Charlotte Zolotow), and anything about feisty, independent girls. Perhaps not surprisingly, she now lives in a yurt in Montana. My youngest daughter and I were in a book club together and loved Tale of Despereaux (Kate DiCamillo) and Understood Betsy (Dorothy Canfield Fisher). Our all-time favorite is Time for Bed (Mem Fox). I tucked a hidden copy into one of the many boxes she took to school this fall.

Book Club
Our book club has been meeting for almost 12 years.  As mothers we’ve gone through elementary, middle and high school together and supported each other in good times and bad. Over the years some favorites have been Crossing to Safety (Wallace Stegner), Song of the Exile (Kiana Davenport), The Painted Veil (W. Somerset Maugham), and our most recent favorite, All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr).

How about you? What are some favorites from the different stages of your reading life? Please share in the comments section. Happy Reading!

Next week: My Reading Life by Mrs. Twombly


  1. A book Sophia and I just loved was Ida B:) The main character reminded us of Opal from Because of Winn Dixie... and anything by Kate DiCamillo is a guaranteed love from us.

  2. Loved reading about your reading life, thank you for sharing! Baby Charlotte's current favorites are Goodnight Moon and Pat the Bunny. I think the RES teachers should start a book club :)

  3. Reading this post made me smile, because it further affirmed that I AM my mother. Partly because Mrs. Schwinden is indeed my mother, but also because my entire literary identity has been shaped by her. No conversation between us is complete without a "Have you read..." and in that sense we have had a lifelong mother-daughter book club. I, too, can only sleep if I've read a book for pleasure, which also makes me somewhat of an oddity among my fellow law classmates. No, I really couldn't tell you a thing about the "theory of law," but I will clutch your hands as we scream in mutual agony over We Were Liars (E. Lockhart) or puzzle over a glass of wine about how Elizabeth Berg can make you laugh-cry. I feel very fortunate that a love of reading was cultivated in me at a very young age, and am happy to see a blog that allows those who share a love of reading to share stories about how it has shaped them. And, just for the record, my yurt is a very handsome yurt.