I know I am not alone in suffering from a type of brain fog these days. I am often pretty distracted but in recent months, I have really struggled to focus. I am pulled toward the news of the day in a way that makes me anxious and unsettled but I can’t stop watching, scrolling and reading.
A few weeks ago I posted a plea on my Facebook page asking for a book that would keep my attention. I was looking for a page turner and assumed a thriller was what I needed. I received a bunch of recommendations but decided to go with the least likely candidate, Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town and the Search for What Matters Most. My friends Deanne wrote, ‘Have you ever read Little Chapel on the River by Gwendolyn Bounds? It’s one of my faves. It’ll make you feel better about people.’ Feeling better about people sounded just right so I downloaded the book and started reading.
Deanne and I have similar tastes and similar feelings these days so I was not surprised that her recommendation was perfect. As soon as I started reading, I actually felt a bit calmer. Despite the book opening with 9/11, the author’s voice was just what I needed to read. And her journey out of the city after the attacks to a small town on the Hudson River was exactly the escape that I wanted to take. Gwendolyn Bounds, a writer at the Wall Street Journal, spends the year after 9/11 getting to know the community of people that come together at small bar called Guinan’s and learns a lot about the world in the process.
I highlighted a few passages as I read and I think this one sums up the book pretty perfectly.
“Obviously, I don’t come here to pick up girls because there usually aren’t any. It’s not about the food, ’cause there isn’t any of that either. It’s just this calm place where everybody’s telling stories and some guy who’s a millionaire stockbroker is sitting next to a poor carpenter- and they’re equal. You either love it or you hate it.”
I’m pretty sure this is a place that I would love a lot right about now…