Day 85 – Head Trip

March 4, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

When I was a young girl, I found treasure in basements.  I often perused a ledge full of my grandfather’s and uncle’s books in my grandmother’s downstairs kitchen, the cool room used during the summer before air conditioning. There I found Irving Stone’s Love Is Eternal, Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun, and The Diary of Anne Frank. Although my parents read newspapers and magazines, I don’t remember ever seeing them reading a book. However, in our basement, I found A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. All of these books I read at least twice.

I also read popular children’s books such as The Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and Dana Girls mysteries, Walter Farley’s horse stories, Albert Payson Terhune’s dog novels, Louisa May Alcott, Five Little Peppers. I connected so much with the Bobbsey Twins that when I was around 10, I began writing my own book, The Bobbsey Twins and Me, where I actually finished writing and manually typing 60 plus pages. As I grew older, I learned to treasure books like Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

Today I continue exploring between the pages of books. Although I read nonfiction, I prefer fiction where I get lost in a character’s head. Research suggests that reading literary fiction helps develop empathy. Unlike television where everything is spelled out for the viewer, reading fiction requires a different kind of connection in the brain. When you feel empathy for someone, you feel as if you are in that person’s shoes; when connecting with a character in a book, you step into that person’s head as if it were you. I find myself doing this with Laura Lippman’s books. Two books I read in the past week are also treasures— Jen Michalski’s The Tide King and most recently Christina Kline’s Orphan Train where I journeyed inside the heads of characters Molly and Vivian. The best books are those that not only offer something between the pages, but also between the lines. I understood perfectly when my daughter Lauren once said to me, “I’m sorry that I just finished my book.” She had connected so much with the characters and their lives that it felt like she was separating from a friend. 

My gift today is between pages.

> DAY 86 Two Forests

You can read my other posts on this project here:

Read about research on the connection between reading literary fiction and empathy.      


  1. I'm a better reader, a more disciplined reader, a more devoted reader, a more adventurous reader and a better writer because
    of you, Ms. Bonnie!

  2. You just needed a nudge here and there.


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