happy holidays

There’s more to life than books, you know… but not much more

black and white dress

zara tulip dress

capri pants

yellow skirt

polka dots

autumn outfit

There is a scene in Modern Family (possibly in the very first episode, in fact), in which Phil has convinced a reluctant Claire to race him. He’s talking excitedly about how totally awesome this race will be, and how terrified Claire must be of losing. Then the camera turns to Claire, who just stares at it resignedly and sighs, “I just want to read.”

I laughed out loud when I first saw that scene, because it basically summed up my whole life. Right now, for instance, everyone is running around getting psyched up about OMGCHRISTMAS and WRAPPING GIFTS and … I don’t know, drinking mulled wine or whatever. Me, on the other hand?

I just want to read.

For as long as I can remember, books have been my solace. I was one of those kids who would trail around the supermarket after her parents, unable to see where she was going because of the book held inches from her nose. The kind of kid who would happily go out and play with her friends (I, er, DID have some friends…), but who would secretly be looking forward to coming home and curling up with a novel. There was no smell better than that of a giant stack of new library books; no sound I’d rather hear than the soft thump of the librarian stamping them before handing them over, with all of their exciting new worlds tucked inside them. My teachers always described me as a “voracious reader”: a description I liked because it made me sound like some wild, book-eating animal. I imagined myself in a cage, passers-by watching wide-eyed as I tore at a pile of books with my sharp little teeth, breaking their spines with a snap.

I stayed that way throughout my childhood and teenage years, all the way through university (I studied English Literature purely because it would allow me to read even MOAR BOOKS, and call it “work”), and into the first few years of my “proper” adult life. Over the last few years, however, I’ve noticed that reading has become less something that’s as natural and necessary as breathing, and more of a stolen luxury, indulged in infrequently. There just never seems to be time any more. I’m sure my fellow small business owners (and probably everyone else too, to be honest) will relate to the feeling that you need to be ALWAYS working, and perhaps the only downside I’ve found of working from home (Well, other than the fact that no one believes you’re actually working, of course…) is the guilt that radiates from the glowing laptop screen any time you try to step away from it and do something else.

This week, though (and last week too, actually), I’ve been doing a lot of reading. In fact, I’ve not been doing much else. It’s been a rough  couple of weeks, for various reasons, (nothing to worry about, just a random collection of things that would be only mildly stressful on their own, but which decided to all arrive at once: awesome!),and I’ve been dealing with it by doing the bare minimum of my tasks for the day and then retreating to my room with a huge mug of coffee and my Kindle.

That’s not the only reason for the lack of posts lately (It hasn’t stopped raining since my last post, and it’s so dark and overcast all the time it’s like a permanent twilight. The actual twilight, I mean, not the books/movies. A permanent Twilight really WOULD be scary…), but it is one of the reasons, and it’s also one of the reasons I probably won’t be around much over the next few days. As luck would have it, however, I don’t expect many of YOU will either, because the holiday season is looming and most people I know seem to be finishing up work today or tomorrow, so I just wanted to pop in and wish you all a very happy holiday if you’re celebrating it and, well, a very happy next few days if you’re not.

happy holidays

Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in my room with a good book…

  • Urg, you’re blog should just be called ‘the hair’ because all I ever seem to do is go through your photos with a massive case of hair envy.

    December 20, 2012
  • Amber, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been having a stressful time! I hope things brighten up – in all ways – soon, for you.

    And oh, but I could have written this post myself. CS Lewis once said “You can’t get a big of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me” and while I can only really drink small cups of tea (but lots of them- I drink a lot of tea but it has to be very hot, so several small cups is much better for me than one big cup) I feel this with all of my heart. I’m at home now for Christmas and the biggest indulgence has been curling up with a massive novel (it’s a Stephen King, but hey, my brain is on holiday too) and losing myself in it.

    Happy reading, and happy Christmas dear Amber, Terry, Rubin and all of the assorted McNaughts xxx

    December 20, 2012
  • I was reading this and I got very excited because you described me as a child, I still read almost as much because I read silly dime store mysteries which are only 200 pages or so and they don’t take long to finish. Books always got me so excited and happy. They still do, I have a book and it’s my favorite things to curl up with an its always in my purse so if I’m queuing or waiting I can get some reading in. I wanted to run a bookstore when I was little but with ereaders I think I want to run a place where people go to read instead. Like a book friendly coffee house or something.

    December 20, 2012
  • that should read I have a Nook not book, I gave lots of books yes I was in fact talking about my nook

    December 20, 2012
  • My report cards always said the same. I’m STILL proud that I had a reading age of 14 when I was 9. I don’t even know what that means. I don’t think it’s relevant any more. I’m now suddenly considering putting it on my LinkedIn profile.

    But, yes, I read less than I used to because once the laptop’s on my knees it’s REALLY HARD to move it back off them.

    I hope things get better for you soon. x

    December 20, 2012
  • Summers and breaks are always a great time to get some guiltless reading done! I just recently realized how wonderful Kindles really are.

    December 20, 2012
  • Dear fellow redhead. I just have to say I love reading your blog so much. You are a similar person to me and it is a real treat to know someone else out there thinks the way I do! It makes me happy. Happy holidays to you too!

    December 20, 2012
  • I hope the stressful things stop arriving for you and things become cool and wonderful again for you soon!

    I love a good book too but like you I seem to struggle to find the time, there is always something that needs doing, someone who needs something from me, somewhere that I need to be… maybe I should make it one of my new years resolutions to read a book a month or something? 2013, the year of the book!! Ooh, something to ponder.

    Have a wonderful Christmas, New Year and all that lies between and beyond 🙂

    Janine xx

    December 20, 2012
  • Aw, best wishes for Christmas and I hope that the stresses iron themselves out as soon as possible!

    And you’re not alone on the book front. After a childhood of reading anything and everything I actually had a few years where I ran out of time to read. It’s been wonderful in the past year to finally get round to reading again. I hadn’t realised how much I missed reading!


    December 20, 2012
  • Merry Christmas to you, Terry and Rubin, Amber. I hope you enjoy your break.

    December 20, 2012
  • I love your blog and your pictures. So fresh.

    December 20, 2012
  • Happy holidays! I love getting inspiration from other people’s reading lists, so please let us know if any of those books turn out to be really good. May you have many peaceful hours to enjoy them.

    December 20, 2012
  • Reading is truly an excellent use of your time! I love that it’s pretty much a compulsory part of my job in a school library. It’s also handy that I can request particular books be bought because I want to read them. If I want to read them, then surely the students will, too? It’s practically an act of self-sacrifice.

    I hope you have a wonderful festive season, with plenty of time for reading.

    December 21, 2012
  • I here you, my gosh, I don’t get around to reading quite as much as I’d want to. Ironically enough, I did read quite a bit (albeit not as much as I used to, because you know, “adult” life) until recently, but I’ve just taken up new studies: English and Dutch literature. So yes, I am still reading loads of books, but for “work”. And while I’m not going to argue that they’re good books (of course they are, why else would we be studying them?!), my pile of “personal” books are collecting huge amounts of dust, waiting to be read. I’m hoping I’ll get through a couple of them during the holidays, but a) I have to study for exams in January and b) I’m reading a book for school as we speak. Again.

    December 21, 2012
  • And when you’re in the acullery room, who will swallow who… I am going to have that song in my head all day now!

    December 21, 2012
  • So long as there will be books to read, there will be hope. Happy holidays Amber. 🙂 P.S. Trains are perfect for reading. Just a thought.

    December 21, 2012
      • I always find that a journey by train is perfect for reading • you’re nowhere, there’s nothing else to do, no motion sickness because they are so stable. On my worst days I have taken a train to the end of line and back, to hole up somewhere that wasn’t really a place with my book.

        December 23, 2012
          • Fair enough. 😛 I guess a year of commuting twice a day for uni inured me to the downs. 😉 Not that a bed with a soft duvet is ever unpleasant. 😛

            December 23, 2012
  • I hope your not feeling too poorly or down. *hugs*

    I totally relate to this post, I love reading but just rarely find time, but you’ve reminded me I wanted to download a book, so I’m off to do that now and that’s my Christmas break sorted.

    Have a lovely Christmas and New Year. Xx

    December 21, 2012
  • The only thing I like about my office is that I read for a hour everyday at lunch. We have big comfy chairs for reading in the lunch room.

    December 22, 2012
  • I love to get lost in books as well. I read every Bobbsey Twin and Nancy Drew book, Pippi Longstocking, plus the Canadian classic Anne of Green Gables series when I was young. Anne Shirley was a redhead, and being a redhead myself, I felt I could really relate to her. I’m all, well mostly, grown-up now and I treasure any chance I can get reading. I like real books still. Can’t quite get my head around the idea of reading a book where I can’t actually touch the pages. Having said that, I’m all for people reading Kindles etc., if they choose. Just don’t let my libraries become obsolete please.

    Happy Christmas Amber. Love your blog!

    Sue xo

    December 22, 2012
  • Hi Amber, the top pic in the black and white dress is absolutely gorgeous! The free flowing hairstyle takes a little bit of the formality out of the outfit and for me, makes it perfect.
    Have a fab Christmas everyone.

    December 22, 2012
  • Hey, Amber!
    I was also an English major in college! Funny enough, I didn’t get to really enjoy the books I was reading in school because I was always concerned about the assignment and “getting it done”. (I think I read slower than many because I have to mentally digest every word. I always found myself having to read at a frenetic rate to keep up with the class).
    It wasn’t until I got OUT of school that I really had a chance to appreciate what I read. Now I’m in a book club with some Enlish professors and it’s a bit intimidating. However, I’m enjoying it because I find out from them all the latest above average books and I don’t have the pressure of turning in an assignment. Right now we’re reading Faulkner so I just hope I don’t embarrass myself too much at the next meeting.
    Oh my, about working at home, you really summed up my work guilt too! 😉
    Please do tell us what you read when you get back.
    Anybody else who has good book suggestions?


    December 25, 2012
  • Ah, I love reading too but also never have the time, and when I do I am just too tired and kind of fall to sleep! Haha.

    I hope the stressful things that keep arriving stop soon, just think, you’ll surely in the line up for some good karma????????????

    Corinne x

    December 25, 2012
  • Had to come back and say how much I enjoyed this collection of outfit photos and that I share a life-long belief in the soul-restorative powers of reading – together with having less and less time for it. Hope the pile-up of stressors has long eased!

    December 29, 2012
  • I’m SO happy that I stumbled upon your blog. You’re so chic! Very inspirational for a newbie personal style blogger like myself!

    January 8, 2013