Happy New Year, again. I’m over the leggings and I think I’ve found my New Year’s Resolution, now that January is almost over. The beginning of the year was a little rough, but I think I’m past it now and ready for a resolution. Wait, it’s not a resolution, really. It’s more like a theme. I just decided that 2014 will be the year I read all those books that are languishing on my iPad and on my bookshelves. This is a huge decision, actually, because I have a lot of unread books. When I moved last year I got rid of several bags full of them, and only kept the ones I really loved and the ones I hadn’t read. There are a lot of them. A lot. This theme may extend into other future years. Let’s see, in the hall closet there are 68 books that I have yet to read. On my iPad another 32. Hm..that’s a clean 100 books. I’m not counting the ones in my office or garage. I guess the resolution part of this would have to be that I resolve not to buy one more book (except those my book club reads, of course) until I’ve read all of these gems that await me now. I don’t even need to take any paper books on my much planned for road trip. I have more than enough right on my iPad. Oh, and I guess I should stay away from the library until I’m done with this project.
I have this library thing I do. I wonder if other people do the same. I buy books by my favorite authors when they come out, and I put them in the book case. Then I go to the library and check out four or five novels. I come home and gobble up the library books first because they are due in three weeks. So the ones I’m looking forward to, by all those authors I love, sit languishing on the shelves while I read those other, borrowed ones. When I take the library books back I can’t just drop them off and go. No, I have to go check the new fiction rack, and then browse for just a couple of minutes in the shelves. Just long enough to check out another pile of books, and the cycle begins again. It’s kind of a sickness I think.
It’s funny. For most of my life I didn’t buy books. I got them all from the library. As a kid I went to the library about every two weeks and always checked out the six books that were the maximum allowed. As a teen I did the same until the library broke up with me over a few unpaid late fines. I don’t know what I read during that hiatus. I guess maybe I read some college books, or something my mom had at home. Maybe. Later I once again established a relationship with a library (a different one). When my kids were little and I stayed home with them I was a big fan of those long family saga novels. The ones that had hundreds of pages each. I’m a fast reader so those worked out well. I read while I nursed my babies. My firstborn would go find my book and hand it to me, then would plop down in our nursing spot. He knew how to get what he wanted!
About twenty years or so ago, I began to patronize the local used bookstore. I could buy books for a fraction of their original cost, and then trade them back in when I’d finished. Almost as cheap as library fines. That’s when my collection of books became immense. I like to read by authors, so when I find one I like, I read through all of his or her books. I pass some on and keep some until eventually I have no more room and I take them all (all but the ones I just have to keep, for rereading or loaning) back to the used bookstore. Then I carry a credit slip around for a while until get the urge to go in and see what’s new in there.
About six years ago my granddaughter became an avid reader, just like me. She tears through series after series of books, has favorite and not favorite authors. She dislikes books with deckle edge pages, preferring those that are smooth cut. Who even thinks about that?
The first Saturday of each month we go to the Teachers Book Connection and buy fresh new books. In the past couple of years she has moved from the kids section to young adult books, and now peruses more classic literature. She wants to devour it all. I love talking about books with her. She always has such interesting insights on what she reads, often coming up with ideas that wouldn’t have occurred to me. Recently I was telling her about a favorite poem of mine, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” I told her that for me that poem is a lesson in uncertainty. I don’t really feel like I understand it, yet in its murkiness is a beauty that I like. We were driving when we talked about this, and suddenly she was quiet, looking at her iPhone. In a couple of minutes she began to read that poem out loud to me, and then she told me what she thought it was about. I would not have thought of her ideas, yet they made so much sense. It’s funny, of all my children none is a reader like this. Maybe it’s a gene, a reader gene that skips a generation.
But I digress. I’m going to read those books and I will keep a fresh book list page on this blog, so you can follow along if you’d like. You might find a book you’d like in my list! And I’ll keep you posted as to how well I’m sticking to my resolution.
UPDATE: So far so good, although I was pulled in by the library last week. I have yet to read any of the four books I brought home. Maybe alternating book sources? We’ll see how that goes. My current booklist has its own page, that’s right up there in the header. Enjoy! Let me know if you’ve read anything really good lately!