Carving Time To Read. It’s Fall, once again. Carved pumpkins are starting to spring up on front porches around my neighborhood. My boys are settled into their school routines, summer almost a distant memory. I run to Starbucks for my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. While standing in the the long morning line, I take the opportunity to pull out my new book club hardback, “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett (Penguin Group, USA). Immediately, I am immersed into the world of 1960’s Mississippi and the daily lives of domestic workers just before the civil rights movement explodes. If only these women could imagine I’d be standing here just 40 years later with First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House. I remind myself that the book I am reading is fiction and these women are not real, but for a few minutes, I am utterly transported into their reality. A career woman nudges me to move forward in line. She scrolls through her phone and figits nervously. I catch her glancing over my shoulder. If I had to title her expression, I might call it “jealousy”. “How does SHE have time to read a novel?” I almost hear her say. I smile to myself and turn to offer my explanation, “It’s for my book club. I might never read if not for the women counting on me at next month’s meeting to discuss it.” She smiles and texts the book title into her blackberry. Hopeful that she too will find such a group. And so it goes in line at the post office, the school gate at pick-up time, the nail salon, and the doctor’s office. I never leave home without my book and that is how I have managed to maintain my loyal membership to a book club for the past 6 years. My book club consists of five core members, all like minded mom’s who enjoy getting out on a weeknight every 6 weeks or so for a few drinks at a hotel lounge by the beach. Some of us barely cross paths in our daily lives, but we all connect on one thing – our desire to keep our minds vital and entertained through curling up with a great book. We all have very full lives, but we agree that book reading has kept us current on pop culture as well as giving us the gift of healthy escape from our daily routines. An added bonus, we become instant role models for our growing children who see our eyes buried in a book as a refreshing alternative to our iPhones or laptops. Granted, I skip a book every once in a while when life as a working mom gets a little too busy or when my husband needs more of my attention, but you never hear me say, “I’m too busy to read.” I actually have put pleasure reading on my life essential list right along with caring for my children , time with my husband, managing my business, diet and exercise, and and the all important blow drying of my hair. But I’d have to say, when it comes to mental health, I cannot think of a better daily remedy than immersing myself in a good book – even if I only get through a few paragraphs in line at Starbucks. I hope you join me here at HMC for Between The covers as I share with you my life-long love affair with books. There’s nothing hotter than moms who carve out time to read!