what did mary read? hint: it was borrowed from a library

Everyone has a type of books they gravitate towards, and thus recommending books can be a tricky situation. I know this because I’ve only taken recommendations seriously from a small number of trustworthy individuals and one reputable news & information source ((NPR)). But here’s the thing – these books I am about to mention must be shared. They each rocked my world in a way that forces me to feel like I must tell people about them.


Yes, summer is winding down and precious reading moments by the pool or beach are less frequent or non-existent. I urge you to tuck these titles away for when you need to be moved by a great read. And guess what? You don’t even have to spend any of your hard earned money on them. You should be saving that money for travels, anyways! Have I taught you anything? I can’t even recall the last book I purchased. ((Oh wait, yes I do, it was a cookbook though, which is totally acceptable))

You see, there are these magical places called libraries scattered all over much of the developed world. Everyone who pays taxes pitches in and any nearby resident can go get a free library card and check out books, dvds, cds, use computers equipped with internet. No strings attached. You get to borrow the media for a certain amount of time, and you return it for the next patron to borrow. Most libraries today have an online catalogue, which means you can log into your account and place holds on books you’d like to read. When it comes your turn to borrow, you get a notification from the library that the item is ready for you. They do the transfer for you if the book is previously in another location! How convenient is that?! Not to mention sometimes, libraries are the grandest, most alluring buildings in a city.

^^ no wonder Carrie Bradshaw wanted to get married at the New York Public Library. Look at this place!

When I first moved to Seattle, I would frequent the Seattle Public Library’s central branch to get my fix of magazines that I was too frugal to throw my precious money at. I would sit near a window browsing my magazines while listening to music and watching the city pass by. As a kid, I would walk down to my local library and check out Babysitters Club books, devour them and then return for another. In England while with Andrew’s parents and in North Carolina while with my mom, I made use of both the local libraries. I can’t imagine not having them available to me during this year because I wouldn’t have been fortunate enough to read the below selections.


Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Just imagine a solo female in her 20s embarking on a several month long hike of the Pacific Crest Trail from Southern California to the WA/OR border. At first, I thought ok, I am interested to read about her story and then obviously I will be scared into thinking I could ever sleep in a tent on my own for a night let alone hike a serious trail week after week. I was wrong. I was so amped up at the last page, I felt like I could do anything after reading this book. It is a beautiful story of Cheryl’s personal and physical journey and I am so glad she shared it this well-rounded book.


The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
I should first mention that if Elizabeth Gilbert rewrote the phone book, I’d be all over it like a crazy person, and immediately raving about it. She is my favorite modern author, and if you read and loved Eat Pray Love or Committed like I did, you’ll feel me on this. I took The Signature of All Things to France with me when I went in January. We were there a week and I had finished all 500 pages by day 5. Any chance I got, I was seated next to the space heater with my nose in the book waiting to see what happens with each turn of the page. The story is about a female botanist in the 19th century who takes you with her on a spiritual and educational ride.


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
No matter how you grew up, this book has you thinking you were raised in royalty. Jeanette lays it all out there in this moving memoir – her unbelievable life growing up in poverty, dysfunction, and constant uprooting. This book is a poignant reminder to be grateful in the ordinary and to find peace and lessons in the chaos, both of which I am tasking myself to do more of.

If you are really desperate for a temporary adventure of the moving picture type, check out The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Andrew and I rented it from RedBox recently, and sat there staring at the television after the credits finished, digesting what we had just experienced, and yes tears were rolling down my cheek of course. I had no idea Ben Stiller could deliver such an excruciating performance. The cinematography and the fact that the majority of filming took place in Iceland further had me falling in love with this film. I have no idea why more people aren’t taking about this film and why it for low ratings/reviews. It is absolutely brilliant in every way.

Even if it is only for a month, I urge you to check out your local library and forego purchasing physical books / ebooks / magazines. Give it a try and save that precious money for a day or weekend trip somewhere as a treat. Libraries are cool, you guys, trust me on this!

What are you reading?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m so pleased to read this Mary, as I’m a big fan of libraries too! I try to get most of my books for #travelbookclub from there and strongly believe we should all use them, so we don’t lose them. I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty on a plane and loved it! Also been wanting to read Wild for a while, so thanks for the recommendation.

    1. Mary says:

      Further proof we are kindred spirits! And today I’ve just discovered my new local library is really close by, which is thrilling. I can’t wait to get a library card. Enjoy Wild!!

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