Stacey Loscalzo

Latest Posts

Aug 20

An App Can’t Fix the Childhood Obesity Crisis

by Stacey

I had heard rumblings about a new Weight Watchers app for kids but hadn’t understood the specifics until last night when my sister in law sent me an Instagram post to read. And now I am mad. 

I know we have an obesity problem in America. I get that. And I am not blaming Weight Watchers, as a business, for trying to make money by addressing a problem. They are after all, a business. But encouraging young children- as young as eight years old- to diet, is not the answer. Beyond the fact that this app will lead to disordered eating in younger and younger children, an app will do nothing to address what I see, as the root causes of this problem. In this country, we are obsessed (not only with dieting) but with targeting the symptoms of a problem instead of the cause. 

Admittedly, I have not done the research, but I am now curious to study the correlation between obesity and socioeconomic status. We live in an affluent town. We can afford to feed our kids all the food. And you know who I don’t see in our schools, on our sports fields or walking through town? Obese kids. Do I know exactly why, from a scientific and economic standpoint? No. But I can take a few guesses. 

We have the money to afford healthy foods. 

We have access to healthy foods. For example, on Sunday we went to the farmers market at the train station for produce and bread. We went to Fairway for shrimp. We went to Whole Foods for steak. And we went to Kings for all the other things. Other weekends, we will throw in Trader Joe’s and Stop and Shop for good measure. And we have to travel no more than ten minutes to reach any of these places. 

We have access to education. And we have the money to afford this education. If we or our children run into issues with eating a healthy diet, we have the ability to talk to nutritionists or doctors about how to prepare and encourage our children to eat more healthy foods. 

We have access to exercise. We have easy access to more fitness centers and sports programs than we know what to do with. If our children need help to get moving, we have the access and the money to make that happen. 

We have time. We have the time to research, purchase and prepare healthy foods. We have time to take our children to fitness centers or drive them to practices and games. 

So maybe instead of creating apps that will encourage disordered eating in small children, we should really dig in our heels and address the real problems in our country. First, access to healthy foods and exercise for all. And then the big one- breaking the cycle of poverty. 

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Jul 08

Happy 16th Birthday Caroline!

by Stacey

As I sit and write this post, you have just landed at JFK after celebrating a friend’s own sweet 16. You were gone for 5 days in a foreign country and as you know, I missed you an awful lot. You had traveled without me before. To overnight camps and on school trips. You’ve flown without us and been gone for much longer periods of time. For some reason though, this one got me. I spent a lot of time thinking about why and I think one reason might be because it was a glimpse in to our very near future. The one in which you are more on your own then dependent on us.

Of course, raising independent humans is what we are striving for as parents but looking up one day to realize just how independent your once baby has become, can be hard. Sometimes you think I am too strict with you. Well, all the time you think that I am too strict with you. You wonder why I don’t trust you when over and over again, you prove that you make smart decisions. And I know you are right. I shouldn’t worry. You have grown into an amazing sixteen year old girl who is deserving of all our trust. (Note: I still will worry so don’t use this post against me in the future.)

This past year, you set many lofty goals for yourself and you met each and every one. From making the varsity soccer team to qualifying for Deca nationals. To excelling in a course load that I feared was way too intense. To writing for the high school paper. I worried (Hmmm- I’m sensing a theme) that you were doing too much but again and again, you proved that you could accomplish everything you set out to do.

All these accomplishments are amazing of course but it’s the other stuff that makes me the happiest. In all of your activities and all of your classes, you make the most amazing friends. People that you may share a common interest with or maybe just someone who makes you laugh. When you were little, I remember a friend of mine saying that come high school, you were the kind fo person that people would gravitate toward. She said that people would just want to be with you. And you know what? She was right. All people, kids and grown ups, like having you around. I don’t think there is anything more I would ever hope for a person.

And I am proud to say that this extends to your family. So often, you hear tales of teenagers who are either fighting with everyone in the house or locked up in their room. Sure, we’ve had a few slammed doors around here this year (see paragraph two re: strictness) but for the most part, we really don’t fight. And when you are home, you like to be with us and we all like to be with you. The relationship that you have with Katherine makes me happier than you will ever know. You are really each other’s closest friend and it watching you choose to be with each other is just the best.

So here’s to another amazing year, sweet girl. I truly can not wait to see what this year will bring.

Happy Sweet 16 baby girl. I love you.

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Apr 10

Happy 13th Birthday Katherine!

by Stacey

Dear Katherine,

It’s the day before your birthday as I sit and write this letter. Earlier today I went to Party City to get balloons as we will celebrate your birthday at breakfast tomorrow. This early celebration will happen because you will be at dance rehearsal until long past dinner on the day you turn 13. This feels both weird and totally logical at the same time- a reminder of this liminal space you hold. You are still a child who will love coming downstairs to see the table decorated with balloons and confetti but with each day you are becoming more and more the adult you will soon be.

I’m not sure how it is that you are turning thirteen. Each year when I write these letters, I shake my head in confusion that you could possibly be so old but this year, objectively, is a big one. You will be a teenager. We no longer have any children in the house. That said, part of what I love the most about you is your ability to be both mature and so fun loving. I was talking with one of your favorite dance teachers last night about your maturity but then also about your ability to be with girls younger than you and still have a great time. This is pretty unique behavior for a teenager. You have always followed your instincts and surrounded yourself with people who make you feel happy regardless of their age or who their friends are or what your friends think of them. You are fiercely independent in your choice of friends and it is something special to watch.

This year has been such a huge year of emotional growth for you. You have found your voice and the strength to use it. For years, you were more of an observer during family conversations. You would always tell me your opinion on things but more often than not, you would wait until we were alone. Now, you are are active part of our conversations and I love hearing your thoughts (and of course your quiet humor) mixed in to our discussions.

Academically, you continue to grow as well. I love watching you make a plan to get all your work done before you leave for the studio. You often have to juggle a lot and you have created a way to plan ahead and get everything done in the limited amount of time you have. You still say you don’t love school but you are telling us more stories about things you learn and conversations you are having in the classroom.

And of course, I can’t write a birthday letter without mentioning how much you, as a dancer, inspire me and everyone around you. Your dedication and commitment to your art are truly remarkable. Each year it seems that you find a way to work harder than the year before. While I change my mind about my loves every time the wind blows (or at least sometimes it feels this way), you have never wavered. From your years as a tiny girl, you have promised that you will dance professionally one day. I used to think that this might be a passing phase but with each year, your resolve grows stronger. You are laser focused on your goal and all your hard work shows. You are beautiful to watch on stage. I never tire of it.

So… Happy Birthday baby girl. May today and this year be all that you want it to be.

 

 

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Apr 03

Books of Winter 2019

by Stacey

I am going to force myself to believe that winter is behind us. The sun is shining, I have a window open and I am not shivering- for now at least. So… that means it is time for a winter book summary.

Here goes…

This is probably a funny book to start the year off with but I like to begin the year with a short, fast paced book to set the tone and this one did the trick. It was a little bit of a thriller but it was really much, much more a dark comedy. I liked it while I was reading it for sure but looking back on it, I don’t think it will make my favorite list of the year.

Friday Black is the first short story collection I have ever finished. Every year, I promise myself I will read more short stories but truth be told, short story is just not a genre I really love with the apparent exception of Friday Black. I mentioned on Instagram that the first story in this collection should be required reading for all Americans and all these months later, I am still thinking about the Finklestein Five.

I think that Stephen King is one of the most amazing story tellers of our time. 11/22/63 is on my list of all time favorite books. Elevation was ok but that’s about all I have to say about it. I don’t usually like to give negative reviews (and tend to not finish books that I don’t love) but my guess is that Stephen King won’t be impacted by my thoughts on Elevation 🙂

Karen Thomas Walker’s book The Age of Miracles was so amazing that I think I got a bit too excited for The Dreamers. It was a really great book but I liked Age of Miracles more and I really did not like the ending of The Dreamers. All that said, I think I am in the minority here so add this one to your list for sure!

As a mystery and thriller reader, I had been meaning to read Lisa Jewell forever. This was my first of her novels but it will definitely not be my last.

Like Lisa Jewell, Karin Slaughter has been on my list of ‘to be read’ authors for a long time. Unlike, Lisa Jewell, I think this might be last Karin Slaughter book. I am usually fine with the whole suspension of disbelief thing. I mean really, in the world of thrillers, fortunately, many of the premises are unrealistic but this one was just too unbelievable even for me.

I feel like one of the few readers in the world that hasn’t read and loved Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. I think I may have gotten to it too late when the hype was too great? Or maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I went to read it? Regardless, I put off reading The Great Alone as I wasn’t sure if I was a Kristin Hannah kind of reader. I am so glad I went ahead and gave this one a try. I am not usually a reader who is drawn in by the setting of a book but oh my goodness- Alaska! After reading this book, I really feel like I have been to Alaska and know exactly what I would need to do to survive a winter there. p.s. I wouldn’t survive a winter there.

A blogger that I have followed for a long time, Sarah’s Bookshelves, listed this as a book she would recommend to anyone and I couldn’t agree more. I had never heard of this book or this author but it was a great read. I was excited to learn that Dolan-Leach has a new book coming out soon and I will be reading it for sure.

This book has been all over the place and rightly so. I rarely find ‘important books’ that are also page turners but A Woman Is No Man fits well into that category. I really learned a lot while reading this book and still find myself thinking about the characters. The ending was also one that had me reaching out to reader friends for discussion.

This winter I  read a lot of books that are getting or have gotten a ton of attention on Bookstagram- my favorite little corner of the Instagram world. For some reason, this book is not among them. I feel in love with this author’s writing immediately and found the characters and the story to be super compelling. If you are triggered at all by talk of eating disorders, do not read this book but otherwise, I really want more people to read it so that I can talk about it.

Daisy Jones and the Six is probably the most talked about book of the season. I first read Taylor Jenkins Reid when her book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, got a ton of attention last year and I loved it. I was therefore really excited for this new title and it is worth all the hype. I am not a huge music person but in the same way I adore the movie Almost Famous, I absolutely loved the world that Reid created in this book. I wasn’t sure if was the best thing ever until I got to the end but at that point, I was sold.

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Dec 30

Favorite Books of 2018

by Stacey

In January, I promised myself I would track my books so that I could compile a year end list of my favorite reads of the year. I used the hashtag #staceyreads2018 on Instagram and I will say I did a better job than usual sticking with a system of record keeping. I do know that there are a few titles missing because for some reason, I didn’t record a few books I read in this fall. To be honest, I have no idea what the missing books were which is frustrating but I guess ok for this activity- if I don’t even remember the titles, they must not have been favorites, right?

So, I’ve written here before about the fact that I do not finish books I do not like. Therefore, every book I read this year is a book that I liked enough to read all the way to the end. I think this is part of what makes year end favorite lists so challenging. I really liked pretty much all of the books that I read. Therefore, in an attempt to make this trick task a little bit easier, I’m going to break it down a bit. And just cause I can’t not, I’m including my complete list of books read in 2018 at the bottom of this post.

Ok, here goes…

Favorite Literary Fiction: 

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

Favorite Historical Fiction: 

The Address by Fiona Davis

Favorite Thriller: 

Unsub by Meg Gardiner

Favorite Young Adult: 

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Favorite Memoir: 

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

Favorite Non-Fiction: 

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Favorite Back List Title: 

We Are Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Favorite Book of the Month Title: 

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Favorite Shelf Subscription Title:

Foe by Iain Reid

 

Complete List of Books Read in 2018- except for the ones I forgot 🙂 

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Imbue

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Only Child by Rhiannon Javin

A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Unsub by Meg Gardiner

In to the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

We Are Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

That Kind so Mother by Rumaan Alam

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen

Social Creature by Tara Isabelle Burton

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The Outsider by Stephen King

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Us Against You by Frederik Backman

The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

The Hearts Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reed

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

His Favorites by Kate Walbert

To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Foe by Iain Reid

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lepena

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

The Address by Fiona Davis

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

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Nov 23

What To Do If You Are A Black Friday Mall Avoider (like me)

by Stacey

I used to love shopping. Now it tends to overwhelm me so Black Friday Shopping sounds like my own personal hell. The girls, however, are both at the mall with friends as we speak so whatever floats your boat, I guess.

If you are with me and looking for stay at home, alternatives to the mall, I’m here to share a few of my current non-shopping related favorites.

Podcasts

If you’ve been around here for long, you know I am a podcast fanatic. I listen to podcasts in the car, while I am getting ready in the morning, while I’m cooking dinner, while I’m folding laundry and all the rest. Here are my top recommendations.

New favorites:

Currently Reading

He Read, She Read

No Thanks, We’re Booked

Old favorites:

From the Front Porch

Sorta Awesome

NPR’s Up First

Book Riot’s All the Books and Get Booked

NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour

To-Be-Listened to List:

Bear Brook

Slow Burn

Television

I am in a serious tv watching rut. I can’t stop watching shows like Criminal Minds in which I know that everything is going to be ok and I can predict the arc of the story. My current watch is Bones which is based on the Kathy Reichs novels which I read and really liked years ago. This is far from high quality tv but it fits what I am looking for these days in terms of a show. That said, any and all recommendations are welcome!

Books

I have been tracking my reading this year on Instagram and loving every minute of it. If you don’t follow me there, please come visit me @staceyloscalzo and join in on the fun.

Currently, I just finished my first and not my last Fiona Davis book, The Address and really liked it. There is more Fiona Davis to come for me but for now I have dived in to Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens. This book is all over bookstagram so I have to see what all the fuss is about.

Blogs

A lot of people will tell you that blogging is dead but I don’t agree. I still love reading and connecting with bloggers and some really smart people are sharing their writing in this way these days.

A few of my current favorites are Kelle Hampton, Modern Mrs. Darcy and 10 Things to Tell You. I think this collection really represents what blogging has become. Each blog is different from the other but they are all super valuable in what they are sharing with the world. Kelle writes a ton of awesome content about everything with a focus on connection and celebration in her family. She write a lot and I am super jealous of her ability to write all the words. Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy writes pretty specifically about books with an occasional glimpse into her everyday life. And Laura Tremaine of 10 Things to Tell You writes on her blog rather infrequently but when she does write I am always grateful for what she has to share.

And what I love about blogging today is that there are more ways to connect with the writers you love. Back in the old days of blogging, you would have to wait for your favorite bloggers to post new content. Now, most bloggers have a big presence on Instagram so you can connect with them in a really informal and more consistent way.

 

So how about you? Any recommendations for fun, non-shopping ways to spend Black Friday?

 

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Nov 22

Eleven Reasons I Am Grateful

by Stacey

I am in an online writing group right now run by the ever amazing Jena Schwartz. She says when you get stuck, to just write a list of eleven thoughts. I overthink blog posts on holidays. On holidays, it seems like the writing should be more. More everything. More important, more meaningful, more funny. More whatever. So instead, I am going with Jena’s strategy. Here are eleven things that I am grateful for right now.

I am grateful for these people. Obviously. I mean look at this picture. Who wouldn’t be grateful for these goofballs?

I am grateful for my family of origin. When Rob and I were married, my church required a few sessions with a marriage counselor before the ceremony. The therapist constantly talked about our families of origin and it is still a phrase that can make us both laugh. But in all seriousness, I am grateful for my family. My family of origin is very small and has only become more so over time. We do not see each other as often as I would like but they are why I am who I am and I am forever grateful for that.

I am grateful for Rob’s family. I know how lucky I am to have the in-laws I do. I was immediately welcomed in all those years ago and as I grow older and hear more and more stories from friends about struggles with their in-laws, I am only reminded of how differently this whole thing could have gone.

I am grateful for my friends. We came to Ridgewood when the girls were four and one. We left behind college friends and friends we made when the girls were babies. There was a time when I thought that finding friends again was going to be near impossible- we had left some really great people behind. But over time, we have formed great relationships with people here and I am awfully grateful for them.

I am grateful for our pets. Sometimes I giggle at people who lavish too much praise on the animal members of their families but really, I love ours a lot. There is nothing like sitting down on the coach and being suddenly surrounded by these snuggly guys.

I am grateful for my group of writing friends. I have attended in person groups in the past and have loved everything about them but for now, my writing friends exist online. It’s a funny thing to feel connected to these people I have never met but it can happen and I am grateful that it has.

I am grateful for yoga. I have tried again and again to develop a yoga practice and I never have before this fall. Jim Stroker, a sort of legend in our town, announced earlier this fall that he would be offering a donation only class for a local family. I went thinking I would just give it a try and it clicked. The class is just the right amount of challenging, relaxing and inspiring and the tribe of people are amazing. There are lots of people in the group that I have lived close to for years but our paths have never crossed. I am grateful that this group has brought us all together.

I am grateful for books. Another obvious one but I can’t leave it out. Reading defines a lot of who I am. Truthfully, it is hard to imagine where I would be without books. And I am thankful to The Bookshelf in Thomasville for being an awesome independent bookstore and for providing the inspiration for this photo.

I am grateful that the holiday season is here. As I type, Katherine is upstairs listening to Christmas music as she has for the past few weeks. She have always loved this time of year but I think all of our excitement is just a bit higher this year. For me, I think it is because there is so much to be sad about in the world and the holidays make us all focus just a bit more on the happy things out there.

I am grateful for getting back to blogging in a semi-regular way. There are a lot of people who will tell you that blogging is dead and I will agree that it is very different than it once was but I, for one, am glad that there is still a place to share my writing with people who want to read it.

And I am grateful for this exercise. It is rare that I go into Thanksgiving having taken the time to think about what makes me feel grateful 🙂

 

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Nov 19

Why the Library is a Rebel’s Best Friend

by Stacey

About a year ago, I admitted something really important to myself. I am a rebel. For those of you who know me in real life, this is going to seem totally wrong but stick with me. Gretchen Rubin, of The Happiness Project fame, released a book called The Four Tendencies that has changed the way I think about myself. In this book, Rubin describes four personality types and through a series of simple exercises, it is pretty easy to figure out which one best describes who you are.

For a while, insisted that I was an Obliger; someone who meets outer expectations but struggles to meet expectations they impose on themselves. After coming up with all sorts of plans to get things done according to strategies that work for Obligers, I only became more frustrated. I would sign up for a reading challenge, complete the tasks for one month and then just quit. I would register for an amazing online writing class, complete the first assignment and then disappear. Around the time that I was getting really annoyed with myself, I had lunch with a good friend and we got talking about The Four Tendencies. She told me she was a rebel, someone who resists both outer and inner expectations. At first glance, as with me, this made no sense. She, like me, appears to be a rule follower and someone who, on the surface, is a person who gets things done easily. But no. When we both really thought and read about this tendency we understood that we are both rebels. We are going to do what we want to do when we want to do it.

After coming to this realization, I have gained a greater understanding about some things I do naturally. One came to mind last week while I listened to one of my new favorite podcasts, Currently Reading. In the most recent episode, the co-hosts, Meredith and Kaytee discussed how they choose the next book they are going to read and both referenced that they were mood readers. They also commented on the fact that if they set a goal to read a certain book, they had almost always doomed themselves to failure. All the bells and whistles went off and I realized that they were describing me. Enter the definition of a rebel. I have to read what I want when I want to read it. Suddenly I knew why I have never completed a monthly book challenge no matter how great it is (like The Read Harder Challenge or the Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge and why I can’t create a beautiful Monthly TBR post on Instagram.

And this realization also helped me to understand why, as a rebel, the library is my best  friend.

I can check out as many books as I want without spending a dime. When I walk in to the library, if a book catches my eye, I check it out. If I get home and I no longer feel like reading it, I return it.

If I am reading a library book and I decide I don’t like it, I stop reading. I can do this if I am ten pages in or if I am 100 pages in to a read. No harm no foul. No money spent so therefore far less guilt if I choose not to read a book at all or choose to stop reading at any point. 

The library hold list helps the rebel in me too. If I hear about a book I want to read, my first inclination has always been to hop on-line and buy it. Over time, I have gotten much better about pausing and requesting the book through our library website. There have been countless times that I will get a message that a book I have requested has arrived and by the time it has, I really am no longer interested in reading it.

This post came to mind as I was scrolling through The Be A Bookworm Challenge sheet. Today, even though I have done it already, I am going to follow the prompt, ‘tag your library.’ For those of you have been completing the challenge alongside me, thank you! And for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about it, it is never too late to jump in and join us. Details can be found right here.

 

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Nov 15

Quick Lit: November 2018 Edition

by Stacey

I’m excited to join in on the fun at Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit again today. This month was a funky reading month for me as there were some real hits and a couple of disappointing misses.

Here goes…

Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman- Waiting for Eden is an example of why I love book subscriptions. I would have never picked up this book on my own if it had not arrived in the mail as part of my Shelf Subscription from the Bookshelf. This was not an easy read but I’m glad I read it. Yesterday I wrote about how reading helps me to see other people’s perspectives and Waiting for Eden is a perfect example of that.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid- This was another ‘not easy to read’ book. It’s also one that I can write next to nothing about without spoiling it. That said, I’d love to hear what you thought of it if you read it and if not, go read and then come back and tell me what you think happens at the end. Holy confusing ending! And if you like this one, definitely read Reid’s latest book, Foe. After finishing Foe last month, I had to read something else by the author because Reid clearly has a very unique mind.

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager- I think I have a love-hate relationship with Riley Sager. I read his first book, Final Girls and didn’t think I really liked it but then when his next book came out I was super excited to read it. I think I will feel exactly the same way when Sager’s next title is released. I liked the beginning of The Last Time I Lied, I hated the middle and then came the ending that I can’t stop thinking about.

And then there were two titles that I did not finish this month. I am disappointed that I didn’t love them but I guess it is what it is. I really want to like Tana French because so many readers that I typically agree with do but I started The Witch Elm and just couldn’t get through it. This is one that I may try again but it was a miss for me right now. And then there was The Girl Who Smiled Beads. This is a great memoir and again, I might come back to it. For now though, it was just too sad and too heavy. I need a bit more escapism in my reading these days and this book is totally not that.

So… what was your reading month like? I hope it was a great one!

 

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Nov 14

Six Reasons to Read

by Stacey

A few months ago I decided to get out of my own way and start writing again. I want to write here in this space but I also want to grow my community on Instagram. I want to talk about reading and writing and parenting girls and the state of the world. As I tried to focus (something that seems to be increasingly difficult for me) I talked with a friend who pointed out something really important. She said that in order to grow a community, I had to be clear in what I was going to do to help people. This was  a new way of thinking for me but an idea jumped in to my mind almost immediately. My goal is to help people realize how easy it is, even in our complicated and busy lives, to be a reader. And beyond that, to show people why being a reader especially in our ridiculously complicated and busy lives is super important. I plan to delve in to these ideas in greater depth in the future but for now…

Six Reasons to Read

Reading increases our sense of empathy. By reading a book, you can truly feel like you have walked in someone else’s shoes. I feel like now, perhaps more than ever, it is super important for us to understand what life is like for other people and reading is a pretty efficient way to do this. Just in the past month, I have read books about refugees, veterans and people suffering from mental illness.

Reading increases our understanding of ourselves. Of course this kind of understanding comes when we read self-help books but I don’t read a ton in that genre and I still feel like each time I read a book, I learn something about how I interact with people or react in certain situations.

Reading gives us something to talk about with other people. I can talk about our family all day but sometimes it is nice to have topics to discuss that don’t revolve around our daily lives. People know that I am a reader so often, when I am out and about, people will ask me for book recommendations. I love the kinds of conversations that come from these questions.

Reading is forced downtime. It is pretty hard to multi-task while reading a book. LIstening to an audiobook is a whole different and worthwhile way to do different things at the same time but that is a topic for another day. For me, I need a tangible reminder to stop for a minute, take a deep breath and just be. Sometimes, it isn’t until I lie in bed at the very end of the day but at least once every day, I pick up a book and just read.

Reading can distract us, in a healthy way, from stress in our ‘real lives.’ Sometimes I think this is why I prefer fiction to non-fiction. We all have enough to worry about in our day to day lives. Picking up a work of fiction and escaping into someone else’s life for just a little bit can often be a refreshing and much needed break from what is on our minds.

Reading models a reading life for our children. Children who have parents who read are far more likely to become readers themselves. Of all the habits I hope our girls pick up from me, reading for fun is high up on my list. By now, I have really internalized the truth that children do what we do not what we say. For every time I tell the girls to get off their phones while scrolling through Instagram on my own phone, I also tell the girls to go find their books while reading my own book. For now, they are both readers and I know that. in part, this is because they grew up watching me read.

If you need a little motivation to pick up a book everyday, please join us in the Be A Bookworm Challenge. Details can be found here. It is never too late to join in on the reading fun!

 

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