His Reaction to my Reading Aloud


JD walked into our bedroom around 10pm on Saturday, returning from being away for four or five hours. I reached the last page of East of Eden and I still had no clue how John Steinbeck was going to end the book. JD plopped on the bed and Polo jumped up to join us–always remaining firmly tucked between us for fear of being left out–and within moments, I was crying. Hot, wet tears rolled down my face as I closed the book. I had been reading the book for a couple months now and it had become a part of my life. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but it’s true. I finished the book and sobbed because my heart was so tangled in human emotion, tragedy, and hope. The book was THAT good. It’s part fiction, part social commentary, part amazingness that is Steinbeck. I can’t wait to read it again.

I finished The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls before delving into East of Eden, and it’s truly remarkable. My good friends, Mella, Amy, and many blog readers recommended this book…and, really? They couldn’t have been more spot on. I finished the book in a single day. I sat on my couch and couldn’t put it down. I became a permanent fixture in my living room and JD even tried dusting and waxing me. It’s a true life story of a woman who grew up with her homeless family and later learned to love them in deep and powerful ways. Such a fantastic read.

And you might be sitting there thinking, Could she be ANY MORE BORING?! And guess what? I’d likely ignore you because I’m used to it. The boys in my life think I’m quite boring and this is their usual reaction to my reading…

Happy Thursday!

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  1. jamoody

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    East of Eden IS a fantastic read, and it’s impossible to make someone understand if they haven’t read it!

  2. Emily Scott

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    i LOVE this photo. it hurts me a little, i love it that much.

  3. anna

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    LOVE the pic of polo! can’t wait to swing by barnes to pick those up tonight!

  4. Nicole

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Have you read The Hunger Games and it’s sequel Catching Fire? The third book in the trilogy comes out this August. I couldn’t put them down!

  5. Judy

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I LOVE reading. Haven’t gotten to either of those yet, though. You mentioned Good Reads, did you know there is a website by that name were you can hook up with your friends to see what everyone is reading? I love it.

  6. Hilary

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I LOVE to read! Books are an art form, a study on human nature. I think a lot of Christian think fiction is a waste of time, that you should be reading the Bible instead, but fiction is like a parable, even non-christian fiction. It can still reveal so much about you and other people to you, things you may otherwise have never seen. What a beautiful thing! And there’s nothing cozier than reading next to a sleeping hubby and curled up pet (my cat likes to sleep on top of me when I read). I’ll have to chech out East of Eden, I’ve never read it! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Emilie

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Cute photo!!! 🙂

  8. Julie Velez

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    East of Eden is probably my all time favorite book! I read it in my sophomore English class in high school and have been passing it around ever since. I’m so glad you loved it! I’ll have to look up the other one you suggested. Sounds like an awesome read!

  9. Tamara

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Awwww…that is some adorable. Maybe next time pick a book like… "Do your ears hang low?"..I am sure Polo would enjoy that story 🙂

  10. LEOLAK

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    You are not BORING at all!!! I LOVE The Glass House – that book ROCKS! I have wanted to read East of Eden for quite a while…I’ll have to do it for sure now. Love Polo pictures and this one is no exception! Thanks for sharing.

  11. laura im

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I wish I could get into reading as you do…I feel it’s a way to smooth one’s soul. adorable pic of polo!

  12. Anda

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    East of Eden is the best book I have ever ever read. At least I think so.

  13. Nicole Chubb

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I second Julie! My favorite book ever 😀 I hated Steinbeck in jr high, but when I read East of Eden, I reread all this books and was so happy I did 🙂 I’m so happy to find other people who actually read it!

  14. Leslie

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Is Polo wearing a scarf?! Whatever it is he is too cute! 🙂

  15. Pootpoot

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    CASTLE…The Glass CASTLE!

  16. Holly

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    East of Eden is *HANDS DOWN* my all time favorite book. I have a quote book where keep quotes, verses, or excerpts from books… and I copied PAGES and PAGES on his book into my collection. That is awesome that you read it… it’s an incredible book. Steinbeck has an awesome way with words!

  17. Sasha

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Nothing compared to Steinbeck, but another recommendation is Love Walked in- the sequel is Belong to Me. I loved Glass Castle!

  18. Susan Keller

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    awww, EofE = one of my favorite classics, and Glass Castles = one of my favorite recent reads. you have excellent taste in books, methinks! 😉


  19. Cherisse

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Can’t wait to read these books! What a cute picture!

  20. Amanda Nagy

    May 20th, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Don’t feel bad, it exactly the same at my house! What’s worse is when your actually talking to your husband and he falls asleep! (happened just last night 🙂

    The Glass Castle was an amazing book. I live in WV and it is completely spot on. I read it in one day…..it’s one of those books that stay with you always.

  21. Stacy Cross

    May 20th, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I’m going to dog-nap Polo. Seriously. Watch out.

  22. Danielle Fletcher

    May 20th, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    East of Eden is SO on my list! If you want to be rocked, have you read White Oleander from several years ago? They turned it into a movie which had maybe a half of a drop of the power the book had. Mine is underlined, starred, etc. with all these amazingly powerful words.

  23. gina k

    May 20th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I love when you post what you are reading! I have East of Eden waiting for me after I finish my guilty pleasure "the carrie diaries" 🙂

  24. Jessica Willis

    May 20th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    welcome to my life. my boyfriend endures so many days and nights of visiting me as i’m reading a new book, unable to put it down. if you want some good, quick reads, visit my blog! there are also stories about how *my* 1st-graders are cuter than everyone else’s on the planet. so sorry for that! 🙂

  25. Morgan Trinker

    May 20th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Oh my goodness. East of Eden. It was most definitely a huge part of my life when I was reading it… and the last page? Bawled. For about 2 hours after finishing. So amazing. You HAVE to watch the movie too. It’s definitely dated and too short to do the book justice, but James Dean… oh man. That is all.

  26. amanda thiessen

    May 20th, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    quite possibly the cutest photo ever 😉

  27. Katie

    May 20th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Loved loved loved The Glass Castle!! Haven’t read East of Eden but it’s definitely on my list to read now!!

  28. Katie Lewis

    May 20th, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    The Glass Castle is easily one of my favorite books. I love memoirs so much and this one definitely stayed with me. Such an interesting life!

  29. JenP

    May 20th, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    A good book is a time-traveling experience.

  30. Shana

    May 20th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I really liked Water For Elephants too. Now they are making it into a movie.

  31. Elizabeth

    May 20th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    SUPER cute pic! 🙂

  32. Emily

    May 20th, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Sounds like a good book! Thanks for the rec! I’ve been looking for some summer reading books.

  33. Julie

    May 20th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I have been a Steinbeck fan since my Junior year of High School. His writing provokes such emotion. I keep all of them on my bookshelf at home so I can just pick them up and read little bits and piece of them. This book changes you!

  34. Breanna

    May 20th, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Those books are two of my favorites. Steinbeck is amazing, and I just love good, well written stories!

  35. Ariel Renae

    May 20th, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Those 2 books are both AMAZING! AND i LOOOVE this photo of polo. It is a perfect fit for this post 🙂 Thank you for this post! 🙂

  36. Kat

    May 20th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    East of Eden was my summer last year. I lived in a house with 10 people and we all were reading it simultaneously. I believe that some of the most vivd life truths are portrayed in fiction books. I mourned with each page I turned that led me closer to the end of the book.

  37. MelissaFoscardo

    May 20th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    As a previous English major, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read "East of Eden". My education was severely lacking…I’m finding out! I’ll have to check it out, though. And the picture of Polo…cuteness overload 🙂

  38. amanda thiessen

    May 20th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    quite possibly the cutest photo ever.

  39. Christina

    May 20th, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    East of Eden changed the way I viewed high school English class and is part the reason that I chose English as my major in college 🙂

  40. Melissa Papaj Photography

    May 20th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I haven’t read it, but it sounds interesting. hmmm…if only I could find the time to read…

  41. megan plenge

    May 20th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    LOVED the Glass Castle! And Polo is just the cutest thing ever. 🙂

  42. Christa

    May 20th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I need to add these to my "to read" list…I’m currently reading "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" that you mentioned a while back…so far I love it!

  43. Damaris Mia

    May 20th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    people who read are far from boring! I am a reader and I am, err, sometimes boring hahaha! That so did not help! Next time I’m at the bookstore, I will definitely pick these two bad boys up. Not your boys, err.. you know what I mean. 😉

  44. cassandra-m

    May 20th, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    aaaaaaaah Polo. You look so sweet like my baby Mocha when you sleep. kisssssssessssss!

  45. Juli L.

    May 20th, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Love the book…The Glass Castle, but haven’t read East of Eden. I’ve seen the movie several times, because I use to be a big James Dean fan, but I should read it…especially if it’s that good! 🙂

  46. Lauren Elise

    May 20th, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    I love how you just finished the book and yet you can’t wait to read it again! That’s just like me when I finish a great book…always thinking ahead. And East of Eden, definitely a favorite of mine.

  47. teri

    May 21st, 2010 at 12:14 am

    thanks for posting this – there is nothing better than when a novel’s story is so good it becomes entangled into your own for some time. i love that and will purposely read super slow to keep it going. i am now thinking east of eden might need to be my next choice!

  48. Marissa Rodriguez

    May 21st, 2010 at 12:17 am

    If you ever need someone to dog sit Polo in SD, we are open! He is nothing but adorable! By the way, thank you for sharing about what you’ve read, it reminds me that I really need to make time to get back into reading!

  49. Karen

    May 21st, 2010 at 12:28 am

    I was required to read East of Eden in high school. I honestly don’t remember the story at all…but I do remember hating how long it was. =[ I’m not too crazy about reading…though I wish I were. =/

  50. Meg

    May 21st, 2010 at 1:19 am

    Try A Reliable Wife and Little Bee. … just finished them both and they are truly remarkable can’t put you down books. 🙂 Happy reading!

  51. Ginger

    May 21st, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Two words: Sugar. Sandwiches.

  52. risa west

    May 21st, 2010 at 3:16 am

    east of eden has to be my favorite book. i re-read it this year. i’ve read a few books since and they pale in comparison. i can’t wait to read it again. i just wish i could read it along with someone because some things in that book could be discussed for hours. but i’m always reading it alone. sounds sad, but the book makes me feel alive and happy. glad that you found it and enjoyed it.

  53. Lydia

    May 21st, 2010 at 3:36 am

    I’m a total bibliophile. Give me a good book, and I’ll be occupied for hours! I’ll have to take your word for it that you’re boring because the way you describe life is anything but!

  54. Janet

    May 21st, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Hi Jasmine, this is my first comment to your blog. I really enjoy reading your blogs and found out about your website from another photographer’s blog that I also read. I stayed up one night just reading your old blog posts because your writing is so amazing! Thank you for sharing your wisdom, thoughts, photos, and stories!

    Anyways, I just wanted to say, thank you for sharing good books too! I just ran out of suggestions of books to read. It’s not a boring thing to read, I think it’s a great hobby! Your photo of Polo is really really cute! 🙂 Have a good weekend!

  55. GrantDeb Wedding Photographers

    May 21st, 2010 at 4:22 am

    That’s no dog… that’s a people.

  56. sarah k chen

    May 21st, 2010 at 5:48 am

    you should read The Kite Runner by Rohinton Mistry next. it’s one of my all time favorites. get your tissues ready.

    i also really love The Poisonwood Bible, Pillars of the Earth, and The Help.

    happy reading!

  57. Vania - SimplyBloom Photography, LLC

    May 21st, 2010 at 6:03 am


  58. Brandy Frank

    May 21st, 2010 at 6:34 am

    love LOVE LOVE to read. Right now I’m finally reading Gone With the Wind. I will have to check out The Glass Castle and East of Eden. The last book to make me cry crazy was If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Absolutely amazing. I second The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. O M G could not stop reading those two!

  59. Jenni in KS

    May 21st, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Steinbeck is my favorite author, and East of Eden is my favorite book of all time. I had the same reaction when I was finished. My husband, who does not enjoy reading fiction, read East of Eden this year because it is such an important book to me. (I didn’t even ask him to!) He says it was the first fiction he’s *ever* read all the way through on his own. That’s quite a book to tackle for your first. I think it’s one of the best gifts he’s ever given me.

    The Glass Castle is probably in my top 10. What an inspiring story! I love stories about real people who refuse to be victims of their circumstances or allow the people and things in their lives to embitter them. I loved I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings for the same reason. (Warning: Part of this book was much more difficult to read than anything in The Glass Castle.)

    Most of all I think the thing I love about all three of these books is the message of possibility within free will. We may not have power over everything in our lives, but we have the power to choose how things will affect us and over our own actions. Timshel, Jasmine!

  60. joan zeller

    May 21st, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I am with you about a good read..
    One of the biggest treats to do is
    listen to Gone with the Wind audio
    book.. I also just finished the book
    The Help.. wonderful Love love
    love books…

  61. Paula Pastoriza

    May 21st, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I know exactly how it feels to finish a book and cry your heart out. I remember when I finished reading "Paula" by Isabel Allende, I just got into my college’s parking lot, and didn’t want to go to class until finishing. It was so deliciously painful. I cried so hard and so loud that a girl came up to me to check if I was alright. 🙂 Happy Friday to all….

  62. jeannine McCloskey

    May 21st, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    May have to read the books, but absolutely love the pic of POLO. He is so cute, and I know exactly how you got him to lay there. LOL That shirt says it all.

  63. Gail

    May 21st, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Books are NEVER boring! East of Eden is Steinbeck at his best and Jeannette Walls is fantastic! She has a new book out about her grandmother if you’re interested!

  64. Tam Lontok

    May 21st, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Hi Jasmine! East of Eden is one of my favorite books. Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. It brought me to tears as well. Wonderfully written.

  65. Cathy

    May 21st, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    LOL! David is the opposite. Until he bought his own Kindle, we used to sit in bed at night and I would read aloud whatever book we were on (until Dave started snoring). Sounds cheesy, but it was a lot of fun. 🙂

  66. Amanda

    May 21st, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Polo is one of the cutest dogs I have EVER seen. Adorable!!

  67. Candace Prokopets

    May 21st, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Oh, this picture is too cute! I’ve gotta convince Vitaliy to let me have a cute little doggie like Polo. I absolutely LOVED East of Eden. We are huge fans of Steinbeck and even went to his museum. I recently joined a book club and need to choose a book to present to the group to read. The Glass Castle looks like a great one. Thanks for the recommendation!

  68. Alison

    May 21st, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Books and reading are never boring! Many days and nights I have sat glued to the couch reading, reading, reading, trying to finish a book, yet not truly want to get to the end because it’s so good!

  69. Mom

    May 21st, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Can I borrow the book Jasmine?

  70. Fizzah

    May 21st, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I loved Glass Castle…it was an easy and a difficult read all at once 🙂 Read it with my now defunct book club 🙁 We had a good run though…3 years I think. I love finding other bookworms. Guess I’ll be checking out East of Eden!

  71. Laurie Bracewell

    May 21st, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Lately, my BFF has been loaning me books, and I’ve found myself not able to put them down. Just recently, when she offered more to replace the ones I was returning, I told her no, that I HAD to get some work done, and therefore could not have any more distractions staring at me from the table! 🙂

  72. Stacey

    May 21st, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I also get pulled into my books emotionally and feel this deep connection with the characters. It’s almost like a dream, but a tiny bit more real.

    I might just have to check these out, since I’m looking for new reads.

    And boring? Yeah right – smart girls are hot! 🙂

  73. Cat Watson

    May 21st, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Hands down East of Eden is my favorite book of all time. I need to read it again!

  74. Katelyn James

    May 22nd, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Did he really fall asleep with those books sitting perfectly like that?! My dogs will NEVER be this photogenic, I’m convinced!

  75. Linda Sherrill

    May 22nd, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Oooohhh…can’t wait to read the Glass Castle…thanks for the recommendation! BTW, Polo is adorable, as always!

  76. tiffany rebecca

    May 22nd, 2010 at 3:23 am

    this blog post makes me want to order all the books on my amazon wish list AND read them. ha. love you

  77. Stephanie Rose

    May 22nd, 2010 at 4:05 am

    What a precious photo! Those books sound interesting. : )

  78. Mel

    May 22nd, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Oh my goodness!!! This is SO CUTE!!!!! I love it!!!!

  79. briana moore

    May 23rd, 2010 at 1:48 am

    East of Eden is my favorite book of all time. I can’t think of a better piece of literature.

  80. Dee

    May 23rd, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Ooh, more books to add to my reading list. Goodness.

    I love hearing your review about them. I will definitely have to check these out.

  81. Michelle Guzman

    May 23rd, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    LOL. This is so cute!

  82. Kevin Byrne

    May 24th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    This is not realy about your reading aloud. Its to say "welcome to the UK" – now that you have been published in professional photographer magazine – your just what we need to shake some of the stuffines out! Kevin

  83. Melanie

    May 25th, 2010 at 4:41 am

    East of Eden one of my all time favorites. I buy copies for gifts so others can have the wonderful pleasure of reading it. Of course I don’t have the adorable puppy sitting on my copy….so it isn’t quite as wonderful!

  84. cheryl

    May 25th, 2010 at 4:54 am

    The Glass Castle is my favorite book of all time!! It renewed my love for reading 😉 I also love your work…..I’ve been following for a while, but am just commenting now 😉

  85. Stephanie Stewart

    May 26th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Polo is adorable!!! And I’ll have to add these books to my reading list! I know I recommended these before, but I’ve read most of Cecilia Ahern’s books, and they are fantastic…I even found myself reading them with various accents to fit the story! I’m sure I would have driven my cat and my hubby crazy if I had read them aloud! 🙂

  86. jessica quadra

    May 27th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    oh my goodness, jasmine! i had the same reaction after reading east of eden! and even hours later, just thinking about it brought me to tears. timshel. oh my.

  87. Jens

    May 28th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    The picture is so cute. Amazing!!!

  88. Nicole

    June 1st, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Awesome photo. Polo is too cute! You have inspired me to pick up East of Eden and finally read it. I was given Jeannette Walls’ second book Half Broke Horses for my birthday. I just started reading it, and I love it! After I’m done with it, I plan on hunting down The Glass Castle. Books that make you cry and the best!

  89. Joan~Five Grain Events

    June 11th, 2010 at 2:00 am

    East of Eden is one of my all-time favorite books. Totally underrated if you ask me. Another book that left me feeling really sorry to leave the characters was The Help. If you haven’t already gotten on that bandwagon definitely do!

  90. Ashley Motes

    July 14th, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I can’t wait to read that book. I have a bucket list & I have a entry to read 50 of the best literary novels & that’s one of them.

  91. Christy Tyler

    July 18th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I recently discovered you when my friend posted a link to your blog on FB because you shot her friend’s wedding and now I’ve become obsessed with your work & with catching up on your blog! 🙂 Anyways – why I was originally posting – I also read and LOVED "The Glass Castle" and wanted to suggest her other book that came out in the last year or so… "Half Broke Horses." It’s the story of Jeannette Wall’s grandmother told in the 1st person. Amazing! I really loved it. You should check it out if you haven’t already!