I have a long and happy history with reading. I started reading when I was quite young, around age 3. I can remember my kindergarten teacher giving me individual reading lessons, because I was the only kid in the class who could read. At playdates, my friends wanted to play with Barbies, and I wanted to read. I was deeply insulted at age 6 when a librarian, who was not familiar with my reading habits, suggested that I find some books in the Picture Books sections. By that time, I devoured “chapter books.” I had read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aloud to my first grade class. My birthday party had an “Old Fashioned Days” theme in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House series. My reading habit continued unabated through high school and into college, where I majored in English and loved every minute of it.
Then, I went to law school. I thought law school was a good place for a person who liked to read and write. I was wrong. I read little to no fiction during this time. Instead, I read my casebooks, which I often found quite dull. I considered leaving law school but did not, because I did not want to be a quitter.
I graduated from law school and took a job as a judicial clerk. I generally enjoyed this work; the cases I worked on were the most interesting I would encounter in my short legal career. However, I soon restarted my fiction habit (the local library was located only steps away from the courthouse), which made me start to think about life and my career choice. First, I realized that the law was black and white, and fiction was grey. The grey area of fiction was comfortable with irrationality, murkiness, change and emotionality; and the law, with its hard and fast rules, couldn’t handle this messiness of everyday life. Second, even though the cases I worked on were usually quite interesting, I kept envisioning them as fodder for a novel rather than feeling challenged by the complex legal issues they presented. Lastly, on a trip to the library, I happened upon a novel written by a law school classmate, and I wondered if this was something that I could do too. I started realize that there might be another path for me.
I persisted in my legal career a bit longer, and following the completion of my clerkship did a stint at a large law firm in Manhattan. I was profoundly unhappy in this job. I didn’t enjoy the work whatsoever, which made the long hours and aggressive culture unbearable. I did have a bit of luck during this period, however: I married my wonderful husband. He understood my unhappiness (after all, he too is a former practicing lawyer). With his unwavering love and support, I left the firm and took a scary step into unemployment. I started doing the things I loved — reading and writing. I started a novel based on my experiences at the law firm. I read Middlemarch, and then re-read Middlemarch, and took 100 pages of notes on it. I felt myself thawing out, finally away from the law and back to the things I actually enjoyed.
Among these major life changes (both my husband J and I left the practice of law within the span of a year), J and I also decided to start a family. I had my son in June of 2008. He’s an amazing kid. He is quite the reader himself, and is often heard to ask “Mommy, read me a book!” I’ve discovered and rediscovered a number of children’s classic books through reading them to my son. I have no doubt he’ll be reading them to me quite soon.
Although my son is brilliant and amazing, he does often get in the way of my reading. He’s not too excited when I sit on the couch with my nose in Pride and Prejudice, ignoring him. So I sneak in my reading whenever I can, and still manage to read about a book a week, give or take. I am also working on a novel very loosely based on a case I encountered during my years as an attorney.
This history in reading thus leads to this blog, Momreads. I have a few ideas on how I expect this blog to shape up. First, I will discuss the books I’m reading for myself. My tastes tend towards literary fiction, but I’ll pretty much read any sort of fiction. (Occasionally, I’ll read nonfiction, but this is the exception.) Though I enjoy reading popular literary fiction, I’m also interested in finding some underappreciated gems. I’ll post about these books as fast as I can get through my reading, which will vary based on my parental obligations.
Second, I will discuss some books I’m reading to my son. I’ve found some really lovely children’s books over the past couple of years, and I’d love to share them with other parents who are looking for book ideas for their little ones. I also enjoy the visual quality of children’s books, which you don’t usually get in a tome of literary fiction, so I’ll try to share some pictures too.
Third, I will discuss a few other random things. For instance, sometimes I read books about parenting, which I will probably mention here, given that this blog is called MOMreads. I also adore short stories, and so if I encounter any I particularly like, I will probably write about them. If there is any book or fiction or writing or literary news that interests me, I may also post about it.
Happy reading, to me and to you.