Words by Tara Pepper

What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon sitting on my front porch in the sunshine and double-digit temperatures—in January! I probably should be writing about global warming but hey, I’m going to enjoy this weather to the fullest while I can; it’ll be sub-zero again before we know it.

I love to read—sometimes I have two or three books on the go at the same time. I’ve just closed the cover on the second book in a row that I’ve read that truly captivated me and I thought I’d share them with you. Reading gives me such pleasure—it nourishes my soul, never fails to teach me something and is a truly relaxing activity that I couldn’t live without. I like to have a physical book in my hands—no e-readers for me. The heft of a book, the scent of its pages and the promise that lies within really inspire me.

The first book I want to tell you about was recommended by a young man at a bookstore who was helping me find the book that I had gone in to purchase. He asked if I’d read The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zaf?n and the way he described the book with such abandon and passion quickly convinced me that I had to read it. And he was right. The book captivated me from the very first page and kept me thoroughly engrossed throughout.

It’s a marvelous story about a young boy finding a book that mesmerized him and his quest throughout the years to find out what happened to its author. It’s a wonderful example of excellent fiction full of mystery and intrigue that kept me turning page after page.

Carlos Zaf?n is an amazing writer; his words painted magnificent pictures in my mind—almost like watching a movie on a big screen. I won’t tell you the whole story but here are some of my favourite passages:

“Welcome to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, Daniel. This is a place of mystery, a sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”
“Presents are made for the pleasure of those who give them, not for the merits of who receives them.”
“If you really want to possess a woman, you must first think like her, and the first thing to do is win over her soul. The rest, that sweet soft wrapping that steals away your senses and your virtue, is a bonus.”
“A book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind.”

I liked the book so much I’ve since bought two more by the same author and can’t wait to get started on a new one.

dying to be me The second book that I finished is completely different—non-fiction, and a book that I wouldn’t typically gravitate towards. It is Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani. She describes it as a recounting of her journey from cancer, to near death to true healing.

Anita’s engaging writing style kept me turning pages and wanting to read more, even though it was tough going sometimes. Reading about a battle with cancer is not high on my list of pleasurable activities, but it’s the description of her near-death experience and the lessons she shares that completely resonated with my soul. I think we get so caught up in trying to be who we are not or who we think we’re supposed to be, that we lose sight of who we truly are. Here are some of my favourite passages:

“It’s important to have a really good, positive attitude for every moment of your life even if you don’t see a reason for doing it in the first place.”
“The universe only gives me what I’m ready for, and only when I’m ready for it.”
“I allow how much of what I want to come into my life… or not.”
“Everything happens when we’re ready for it to happen.”
“Everything that is truly mine comes into my life effortlessly, in the most magical and unexpected ways imaginable, demonstrating every day the power and love of who I truly am.”
“When we really start to tune into who life intended us to be—and we’re attuned to the emotions that motivate us—we connect with the soul of our magnificence. We feel clarity when we allow this connection and take our power back, and our lives start to work.”

And what I feel is the most powerful passage in her book:

“I want you to know that every part of you is magnificent—your ego, intellect, body and spirit. It’s who you are—a beautiful product of this Universe’s creation. Every aspect of you is perfect. There’s nothing to let go, nothing to forgive, nothing to attain. You already are everything you need to be.
Remind everyone who is close to you to be themselves, and tell them that you love them just the way they are. They’re perfect and so are you. There’s nothing not to love. Most suffering stems from feeling “less than.” You aren’t less than anything or anyone. You are complete.
The only thing you need to learn is that you already are what you’re seeking to attain. Just express your uniqueness fearlessly, with abandon! That’s why you’re made the way you are and that’s wh you’re here in this physical world.”

Maybe this book meant so much to me because of the New Year’s resolution I made about hoping that I’m good enough. Well now I know I am! So there you have it—two books that are definitely worth a read. So in closing, I want to say to Tyler and Rae, Kade and Sarah, Bobby and all my special friends—you’re perfect just the way you are, and I love you!

Until next time… happy reading!