I’ve been blogging on this page for eight years now. It’s kind of hard to believe that my oldest child was five months old when I began. Here I am, two more children later (and the youngest is 5 months old), and I struggle to find time to read the books I love let alone write about them all. In some respects, my mommy-brain has changed this page from being a sincere effort to analyze and respond to literature to become a conglomeration of a variety of books, ramblings, and attempts at deep thought. Maybe I have become my own kind of “madwoman upstairs” who struggles to battle life herself throughout the craziness of daily tasks. Maybe my page is now an attempt to stave off madness and keep some degree of sanity when I come from the written word to a blank page. Can my mind still put my thoughts in order after the day has come to an end?
My reading has changed dramatically since I began. I went through my compulsive reading phase(s) for years, my “no time to read” and “I can’t handle anything” new mom phases, and now I’m alternating between “mom daze” phases (in which I simply binge on netflix and either can’t read or can’t write) and regular “I’m a homeschooling mom: What should my kids read next?” phases (in which I binge read middle grade fiction and try to strew the best of the best around the house for my 8-year-old son to stumble upon). Sometimes the thoughts get written on the blog and sometimes I go weeks without a post.
And then sometimes I start a book that reminds me of my compulsion to read and I stay up to the wee hours of the morning reading it. Because I love it so much. It’s not that I have any more time on such-and-such a day. And yes, I’ll still have to try to function with three children the next morning. But this type of book reminds me of how much I love to read and simply don’t want to stop.
The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell was such a book. Although it is not a Victorian-era classic, which I usually say is my favorite type of book, it combined my love for classics (Jane Eyre, none the less) with my love for analyzing classics, such as I did during the four years as a student in English literature. It also added elements of history (I love looking at woman in various time periods) and mystery and times on the moors, as well as alternate histories of real people. I can tell that debut author Catherine Lowell has similar loves to mine.