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Books Are My Love Language & How To Treat Yo Self

Books Are My Love Language & How To Treat Yo Self


 “Treat Yo Self 2011!”_Tom Haverford & Donna Meagle.

For prettymuch my entire reading life, books have been my treats. My Treat Yo Self. When I was five years old in kindergarten, I read Ten Apples Up On Top! to my classmates. I was a pretty solid reader (#kindergartenbrag) and my teacher asked me to read the book to the class. I went up to the front and sat on her stool and held the book with the pictures facing out so everyone could see. I remember being nervous, but I also remember being confident. I mean, I could read and I could read well…it was kinda my thing. So when the people at my daughter’s elementary school told us that our fifth grader read like a high school senior in her eighth month, I was like YEAH SHE DOES (#mombrag). I have passed along the Books As Treats/Treat Yo Self thing to my daughter and my son, too.

When my husband and I first got married one of our financial “rules” was that we would always buy whatever books we wanted. Like, we need to discuss big purchases together of course and watch our budget when it came to dining out or any other sort of entertainment expenses…but books were different. We would never deny ourselves a book because we just wouldn’t. And we didn’t. And we don’t.

When I started getting allergy shots when I was in the second grade, my dad promised he’d buy me a book if I didn’t cry. So I stood back there and got my shot like a soldier and didn’t cry because I wanted a book. Bad. And afterwards, my daddy and I went to the bookstore where I bought book #1 of the Babysitter’s Club: Kristy’s Great Idea. To this day I have probably read Kristy’s Great Idea more times than any other book I’ve read. I mean, I would read that book over and over again and bless my parents’ hearts, there are like a billion of those BSC books and I, of course, had to read them all so I was always asking for a new one. I would stare at the covers for so long…figuring out which outfits of theirs I loved the best, the least. Claudia obvi has the best style and I probably wanted to be all of them at one point or another. Mary Anne’s mom was dead and she was painfully shy but her boyfriend Logan was from Louisville like me. And although I’ll let other people tell you whether I’m bossy or not, I can sometimes be a control-freak about how things get done and I’m pretty good at getting things done so obvi sometimes I can be pretty Kristy.

My friends and I thought about starting a babysitter’s club but I really didn’t babysit very often until I was in high school. I don’t have any younger siblings. And even in high school I prettymuch only babysat for this one really awesome family and even then I felt like I was ripping them off sometimes because they paid me well and their girls were so well-behaved and went to bed super-early and I just hung out downstairs and watched movies until their parents came back home. Easy.

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” _Anne Lamott

When I was nine I had the flu. I was gross and so sick and feverish and home with my mom and my dad went to the store to get me some medicine and he came back with an Archie comic. A cool, thin comic book. I think he brought me two. And when I finished those, he got me more. And then I moved on to the harder stuff…the Betty and Veronica Double Digest.

Anytime we’d go to the store I’d try to sneak an Archie comic into the basket. When I met my husband, part of his appeal to me was that he kinda looked like Jughead…and I thought Jughead was adorable…so super-skinny and that shiny black hair. (My husband can eat like Jughead, so that’s something too.)

Books are my love language. It’s one of the ways I celebrate! When I signed with my literary agent, I bought the prettiest floral black kimono from ASOS and I bought some books. I bought two Sylvia Plath books and a Miranda July book. I got some John Updike, some Jacqueline Woodson. I got a Nikos Kazantzakis for my husband and me. I bought my kiddos some books too. A whole round of books on Mommy! Recently I wanted to celebrate being in love with YA fiction so I bought Jenny Han books and Kasie West books and some Rainbow Rowell. I bought My Little Red Book by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff for the Girly Home Library Shelf I share with my daughter. Big Nate and Garfield books for my son. My husband loves Ian Fleming and the James Bond books, so I buy those for treats. I also lovelove cozy romances and the other day, I was celebrating a personal YAAAAAY and so I bought the Cranberry Inn series by Beth Ehemann because rainstorms and a cozy inn and kissing! There are books all over our house and I wouldn’t want it to be any different. This is how we do us.


I don’t really buy a lot of clothes. I do buy a lot of books. Sometimes I can buy a lot of earrings from Etsy and stuff from Junk Gypsy but that’s another essay. When I was a little girl I’d set up a little reading nook behind my bed and climb back there and disappear. Books have always been so comforting to me, no matter where I go or what I’m doing. I have a book with me. Just in case. My daughter is the same way. I never feel more like Lorelai Gilmore than when I’m fussing at my daughter to please take some books out of her backpack before she breaks her back. (LOOK! ALL 339 BOOKS REFERENCED IN GILMORE GIRLS!)

Our home bookshelves are arranged by color because it’s pretty. We read and read and read and love our books! Paper or electronic, used or brand-new. We treat ourselves. We happily wander around our house in that post-book drunken haze and it’s kinda magical except not kinda. It just is.

Leesa Cross-Smith
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About The Author

Leesa Cross-Smith

Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and writer from Kentucky. She is the author of Every Kiss a War and Whiskey & Ribbons. She is also the editor of WhiskeyPaper.

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