I read an article in the Washington Post recently. Reading Is Different Online Than Off. Seriously. Click on the link.

I’ll wait.

Okay. Now that you’re back, let’s discuss.

Because I’m alarmed at the number of people who’ve said things like this to me lately:

Your book is the first book I’ve read in, like, FOREVER.

I feel guilty when I take time to read. It’s like I’m not really DOING anything.

My crazy life……if I have to choose between reading and sleep…….well, I choose sleep.

I’m a reader. Before I’m a writer. Or a friend. Or even, at times, a wife (as MTM will attest when he begs me to put my book down so that we can have COFFEE in bed.)

Several months ago, I became alarmed at my own reading habits. How I couldn’t get through a chapter without clicking onto social media or checking email. That books I re-read regularly (Pride and Prejudice, anyone?) were suddenly impossible to wade through. With my increasing unwillingness to read backstory. Or description. Or many other things that make stories worth the effort in the end.

Had I turned my brain into a skim-and-scour, attention-deficit-disorder ridden Whorehouse of Reading Dysfunction???

On my walk, I decided to challenge myself.

No, not by walking the 444-mile Natchez Trace.

By seeing how many books I could read along the way. Yes, even when I was exhausted. When I had public appearances. When I needed to show up here and talk to you. I still read. EVERY SINGLE DAY. No matter how tired I was. Regardless of what else I had to do.

In the coming posts, I’ll give you a quick summary of what I read on my 444-mile Natchez Trace walk. I won’t call it an eclectic reading list. In my book, you’re either a reader (meaning you NEED to read; it’s a craving akin to breathing) or you’re not (meaning you’d like to be a reader, but you’re really not. Hence the long list of what you won’t read. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I merely want to make my definition of a reader clear. When I run out of reading materials on a trip, you’ll find me in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, reading the back of hotel-supplied shampoo bottles. Because I MUST have my reading fix. THAT, my friends, is a READER.)

Franklin and Lucy

Franklin and Lucy

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·   rating details  ·  311 ratings  ·   reviews

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was arguably the greatest figure of the twentieth century. While FDR’s official circle was predominantly male, it was his relationships with women, particularly with Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, that most vividly bring to light the human being beneath this towering statesman. It is no coincidence that Rutherfurd was with Roosevelt the day he died.
Click here to buy on Amazon.

My rating: 4 stars out of 5

Debra Fetterly at Breathe Lighter introduced this book to me. I couldn’t be happier. Was it long? YES. Was it dense with words? Absolutely. Was it somewhat academic? Sure.

But I feel like I better understand two of the seminal personalities of the Twentieth Century as a result of reading this book. The author’s question—what if Roosevelt had died during his polio attack?—really stuck with me. Because, I’m a what-if kind of girl. My imagination loves to chew on those things. Pondering those questions can lead to real adventure.

Like walking the Natchez Trace.

And that’s what life is here for.

What’s the last challenging book YOU read, Dear Reader? Please leave your recommendations in the comments today.

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