Deserving of love, not neglect

Let’s talk about neglect.

There’s much I neglected last week — the dust bunnies parading through my living room speak volumes — as I suffered, knocked-down sick with a head cold, dependent upon my darling husband to take care of the day-to-day. Thankfully, he loves me enough to bring me a new box of tissues, or a fresh glass of OJ, and to oblige my request for grilled cheese and soup for dinner. Aren’t I a lucky girl?

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Colds subside. Dust bunnies can be swept away. Neglect remains. What am I still neglecting? Myself. My passions. My words. My books. Excuses are easy, and heaven knows I’ve made a ton over the years: Grad school was usurping all my energy; I had a wedding to plan; I read and write all day long; I need a brain break when I get home. Enough is enough. If I love these word-filled contraptions enough to make them my life’s work, they deserve my extracurricular attention, too.

Let’s have some fun.

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I’ve never met a bookstore I didn’t like. If you’re at all like me, it’s nearly impossible to pass back through Barnes & Noble’s heavy wooden doors without a purchase (or four) in hand, despite having not even come close to finishing those purchased last week. This literary love affair is dedicated to the pretty little neglected books, books relegated to the nightstand, as worthy of my time (and, I think, yours) as they were of my dollars.

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1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

2. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

3. Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter – Lisa Patton
Leelee Satterfield seemed to have it all: a gorgeous husband, two adorable daughters, and roots in the sunny city of Memphis, Tennessee. So when her husband gets the idea to uproot the family to run a quaint Vermont inn, Leelee is devastated…and her three best friends are outraged. But she’s loved Baker Satterfield since the tenth grade, how can she not indulge his dream? Plus, the glossy photos of bright autumn trees and smiling children in ski suits push her over the edge…after all, how much trouble can it really be?

4. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

5. Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love – Sarah Butler
About to turn thirty, Alice is the youngest of three daughters, and the black sheep of her family.  Drawn to traveling in far-flung and often dangerous countries, she has never enjoyed the closeness with her father that her two older sisters have and has eschewed their more conventional career paths.  She has left behind a failed relationship in London with the man she thought she might marry and is late to hear the news that her father is dying.  She returns to the family home only just in time to say good-bye.

**All book descriptions from Barnes & Noble, where all books are available for sale.

What books have you neglected lately? I’ll read mine if you read yours.

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I’m participating in Literary Love this week — a St. Valentine-inspired celebration of all things bookish. Spread the love; check out what’s going on at write meg!, Estella’s Revenge, Love at First Book and From Isi. And for the Twitter lovers, follow the smooching under #LiteraryLove14.

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