In Search of James and the White Rabbit

Candice Williams

Our-Pact-super-sponsorAs a child I escaped to adventures on a giant peach. I trailed an elusive rabbit through fields of talking flowers and sought guidance from the wise wizard, Gandalf. For a kid who moved between cities and had a difficult time making friends, books were sanctuaries. Without great storytellers igniting a sense of wonder and comfort, my teen years would have been grim.

In college, I enrolled in a business degree program because it seemed sensible. Statistics, accounting, and human resource courses amassed to a Master of Business Administration degree. I was too busy for fiction, so I stopped reading and the books that filled my small library collected dust.

I worked in operations management, became a wife and mother, and didn’t touch a novel. Between my family, a job, and a house, personal time didn’t exist, but reading to my daughter was wonderful and it helped her development.  Although she gummed the corners of her first picture books, it wasn’t long before she was listening to Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, and Roald Dahl. By the age of seven, she read and loved Lewis Carrol, Louis Sachar, and Beverley Cleary.

It thrilled me to see her excited to read stories that enchanted me as a child, but suddenly (and desperately), I needed to read, too. I wanted that for myself, something separate from daily errands and obligations. I craved the success of an unlikely hero, my nerves twitched from a villain’s pursuit and the bitter relief for the plot twist I didn’t expect. On my 35th birthday, I decided to read one book each week for six months.

I cancelled the cable. We have a television for family movie nights, but the channel surfing stopped.  I read at the same time as my daughter. For an hour each night, we snuggled together under a downy quilt and read our books side-by-side. She was curious about what I read, and we discussed the characters in our stories. After her bedtime, I read for another hour.

Here are the 24 books I read, one book per week for six months:

  1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  2. What Alice Forgot by Liana Moriarty
  3. The Shadow of the Wind by Ruiz Zafron
  4.  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Duerr
  5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  6. End of Days by Susan Ee
  7. Defending Jacob by William Landlay
  8. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  9. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  11. The Autistic Brain by Temple Graindin
  12. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
  13. The King: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward
  14. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  15. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  16. The Martian by Andy Weir
  17. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  18. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simision
  19. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
  20. Tinkers by Paul Harding
  21. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  22. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  23. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  24. The Giver by Lois Lowry

Life is busy and demanding, and reading is a luxury sometimes taken for granted. I learn from gifted writers. Their ideas transport me to locations I cannot visit and periods of time long-since passed. They introduce me to characters that terrify, inspire, and entertain. They help me know myself better, and I am grateful to settle into their pages each night.


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One Mom rediscovers reading and in the process, reconnects with herself, and her daughter.

 In Search of James and the White Rabbit was written by Candice Williams exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.

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Candice Williams is a freelance writer who has spent 10 years working in entertainment. As an operations manager, she oversaw a staffing agency for worldwide events. Earlier in her career, she worked as a production assistant and casting assistant on feature films and television. Her humor writing has been featured in In the Powder Room and XO Jane, and one of her published short stories is used as an example for college students taking fiction-writing courses. She is a lucky mom to a little girl, and a wife to a traveling music man. When she’s not writing, she’s reading.