Writing about my mothering experience as a foreigner raising bilingual and bicultural children, dealing with the system on behalf of my special needs son and navigating Chicago and the world with my kids.
If someone asked me what I would bring to an inhabited island, a book would be my first and very impractical answer. For as long as I can remember, books have been a very important part of my life. I don’t remember when, how or where I learned to read, but it was before I entered school at the age of 5. I remember reading the signs on the road on our way to the city. That’s my first memory of how to decipher letters put together. Growing up being one of two kids in a little village, books became soon enough my best friends, my closest companions, and my window to so many other worlds… I would stay up until the wee hours reading, I would eat with a book in my hand and only my squirmy stomach prevented me from reading in the car. My first notions of the US came from The Hollisters, and I discovered boarding schools with Enyd Blyton way before I attended one. Books are a little window to Spain now that I live far away.
I loved books so much that my dream was to be a writer one day, or a librarian, or a book seller. Actually, after applying to Journalism for college, I changed my mind last minute and decided to study Philology, language and literature. That way, books were my job until I took a hiatus from my PhD while pregnant with my first son. At that time, I was reading about five books a week, on top of articles, papers, and the likes. The hardest part of that pregnancy was not being able to read for two months because preeclampsia gave me pretty bad headaches every time I tried. It took me months after the baby was born to finish a novel. In a way, I have never read more books in my life. But getting acquainted with a hungry caterpillar, polar bears or blue trains was far from what I was used to.
Slowly, I tried to get back. I am far from being anywhere near the speed and amount of pages I could read back then, and that’s just fine. I read both in English, and in Spanish, and dream of learning more languages just to be able to read some classics in their original version. Every time I go to Spain, I send myself a box of books. Most people spend years contributing to a monetary retirement plan. My retirement plan is a bookshelf full of books waiting for me to read them. It is as eclectic as it could possibly be, as I am an omnivorous reader: fiction, poetry, drama, history… I will take it all. I always have a book in my purse, another in my work bag, and in by my bed I keep one more novel and a poetry book. I leave essays for the office, so I am not all rusty when I am ready to restart my PhD. We like to joke (kind of), that we don’t move when we add kids to the family, but rather when we cannot fit any more bookcases in the house.
So it just seemed fitting to start reviewing books again. Now that I am finally writing, I was writing about everything but my favorite subject. So here I go. Every month I will publish a gallery with my review of the last books I have read. Expect to find books in my two languages. I am not trying to do scholarly critic, just write my impressions. Most books will come from my “retirement fund”, which means they are not new releases. But I will try to include every month a newer book, to keep it current.