The Art of Racing in the Rain, and More

Well hello online world! It’s been a long time! In case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, we finally had our baby!!

Family of four

Logan Olivia was born on October 19th at 6:47 in the evening. There’s big sister Riley pointing out the baby, in case you missed her. You’ll be getting the full story soon (for those of you that like that sort of thing), but for now, just posting this guest post is using energy I don’t really have to begin with. Crazy how much of those first few weeks is just dedicating all of your time and energy into keeping this little human alive! Thank goodness for good friends who offered to guest post this month to give you all some fresh input and advice!

Today’s post is brought to you by a friend I have known since Nursery School! We went through grade school and high school together and now she’s a big girl lawyer.  Julie is a reader of the blog and through this, we’ve reconnected a bit. It’s so funny to think of how “old” we are now, doing this adulting thing every day. What happened to good ole’ middle school days? Wait, was there such a thing?

Anyway, I am so happy Julie volunteered to write a guest post for my maternity leave. She’s sharing about a few great reads for this fall as the weather gets chillier and you want to curl up with a good book. So all you book-lovers out there, jot down these titles! And now over to Julie!

Book Recommendations

Reading has been one of my favorite pastimes since my father taught me to read at the age of 4.  There is nothing like a good book to help you escape to a different place, a different time, a different mindset.  

As you may have guessed by now, in honor of my love of reading, I decided to do a book review for my guest post on The Mom by Design!

I’ve probably read hundreds upon hundreds of books in my lifetime, which made it very hard to choose what book I was going to review.  Of course, I couldn’t pick just one, so I decided to tell you about two great books I read recently, as well as one of my favorite children’s books, in honor of Leah’s new arrival.

The Art of Racing in the Rain    By: Garth Stein

If you are a dog/animal lover like me, this is a must-read!  Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking, feeling, or trying to communicate, or whether they understand what is happening around them? I know I have.  Science tells us that dogs lack the intellect and brain development to reach higher levels of thinking, such as awareness and emotions, and that they run on pure instinct… but I’ve never believed that.  This book is told from the point of view of Enzo, a golden Labrador retriever.  On the eve of Enzo’s last day on Earth, he recounts his life and the lessons he learned from it, focusing on his experiences with his owner, Denny Swift, and Denny’s family.  It is funny, it is sad, it is heart-wrenching at times, but most of all it is uplifting.  If you thought Marley & Me was good, then you need to read this book!  You will end the book having a renewed sense of family, love, loyalty, friendship, and hope… through the eyes of man’s best friend.  

After Alice   By: Gregory Maguire

One of my all-time favorite classics is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. I am pretty sure I have read it at least 10 times.  That’s why I love this book by Gregory Maguire, author of the now famous Wicked.  The story follows Ada Boyce, who lives in 1860s England and accidentally falls into Wonderland one day while walking to visit her friend, Alice Clowd.  Unbeknownst to Ada, Alice has also entered Wonderland through a looking glass in her family home.  (Sound familiar?)  Alice’s older sister, Lydia, and Ada’s governess do not notice that the two are “missing” until they are missing so long that it becomes alarming.  The story switches between the nonsense world of Wonderland – as told through Ada’s eyes – and the real world, which is full of the anxiety and suspense of searching for missing children.  The story also has a historical fiction base, as Charles Darwin makes an appearance, and also includes the recurring themes of dealing with the loss of a loved one, the conflict between science and religious faith, and romantic tensions. I promise, if you love fairy tales and fantastical stories with an adult spin, you will love this book!

The Little Prince

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This is actually one of my favorite books ever written, let alone one of my favorite children’s books.  A few fun facts: The Little Prince is one of the most translated books in the world, being translated into over 300 languages and dialects to date. It was voted the best book of the 20th Century in France, the author’s homeland.  And, the historical background in which the book was written gives more meaning to its tale, which is not just for children and which has underlying themes of love, friendship, and loss.  

Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote this book when he was exiled to North America following the fall of France during World War II, and this story undoubtedly reflects his feelings of loneliness, as well as his meeting new friends but missing his loved ones back at home.  The story starts when a pilot, who has crashed his plane in the dessert, meets a strange little boy who he names “the Little Prince.”  (This draws from the author’s actual crash-landing in the Sahara while attempting to break a record for fastest flight from Paris to Saigon.)  The story goes on – told from the point of view of the pilot – to describe the pilot’s time with the Little Prince, who you learn has fallen from his plant, asteroid B-612, and is trying to find a way to return so he can be together with his “rose” (an allegory for a loved one and dear friend).  The lessons that can be gleaned from this story about life are deep seeded in philosophical one-liners, such as “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”  

No matter what your age, you will love this book for eternity once you have read it (or re-read it), and it will stop and make you contemplate your life and the relationships you have had/have.  Most of all, this book is bound to give you a sense of nostalgia for the days of your youth, when life was not as difficult as adults make it.  More importantly, this is a book you can read and re-read with your kids, even when they are too old for bed time stories.

To end this post, I thought I’d share one of my favorite excerpts from The Little Prince:

All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems… But all these stars are silent. You, you alone, will have stars as no one else has them… In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night. You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me… You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure. It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh.

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