Adventures in Reading

Reading Woman
April 13, 2008, 1:51 pm
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The Library, 1960 by Jacob Lawrence.

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The Perfect Personal Library
October 26, 2007, 7:41 pm
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dscn0901.jpgI have just spent the past few minutes wondering how to start this post. What I would like to say is that I have collected books for many years (more than a decade!), but I keep finding myself stumbling over the word “collect.” Not too long ago I picked up a book on collecting books, which ultimately was about how to Ziplock and properly store books you never intend to read, but rather one day hope will have a great resale value. I do not collect books. However, what other word could I use? Saying I gather books certainly does not sound right. What I do is find a loving and caring home for books, and it just so happens that few homes seem more appropriate than one of my bookshelves.

Today I lightened my book load by roughly 30 books, but then of course spent roughly twice of my profit on ten new books. Five of these books include: Brendan O’Carroll’s The Mammy, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Compass Rose, David Bezmozgis’ Natasha, Franz Kafka’s The Complete Stories, and Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down. Despite this new financial investment I am quite pleased to watch my library’s growth as it shrinks from unwanted books and grows with new pieces of literature. I can also say that I am quite proud of my well-used and well-loved collection, which reminds me that at some point I really ought to start cataloging it.

Today’s picture was taken approximately two years ago (if not more) and during a time when I only had two shelves rather than the four I currently own (not to mention those stacks propping doors open).

12-Step Programs for Book Lovers
August 12, 2007, 1:28 pm
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I have a problem when it comes to obtaining books. Whether I am actually purchasing a book or checking it out from the library I become the proverbial child in a candy store, and simply do not know when to stop. The result: I usually return half the books I have checked out from the library unread, and I have multiple stacks of books I own but still have never delved into. There must be some place for me to seek help. The following is an average book binge week for me.

On Wednesday in an attempt to kill some time before the movies I stopped in at the library. I knew I had Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye waiting for me but went ahead and perused for a few more books. At work a recent bout of popularity has developed in the literary criticism section that surrounds books like Read Like A … . Now these books are not about literacy per se as much as how to guides to read like a professor, or a writer, or your grandmother (right, I made that one up). I am rather curious at what the books say about reading as I assume with any other skill reading too can be honed and improved upon. Unfortunately the library does not carry these books, but I found myself in the right section (that is, where the books would be kept if they did have them) and checked out Book Lust and More Book Lust.

Friday rolls around and I gave in and purchase Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen. This summer Anna Karenina has been singing her siren’s song to me. First while reading The Elephant Vanishes: Stories by Haruki Murakami one of the stories is about a woman who can not sleep. This woman isn’t an insomniac but is simply never tired enough to sleep. Part of her nightly routine is to read Anna Karenina and she reads the books over and over throughout the story. The following evening after I finished the story some friends were discussing Anna Karenina and I decided I really ought to read it.

Saturday was the large book splurge. The Friends of the Library group once a month host a book sell and this is a very dangerous day for me. While the purchase is never expensive (less than two dollars yesterday) I always end up with a stack of books that will most likely be used to collect dust, prop open doors, and for me to stub my toe on during nightly rambles through a dark house. Yesterday I ended up with: Hedda Gabler and Other Plays by Henrik Ibsen, Washington Square and The Europeans by Henry James, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Foucault’s Pendelum by Umberto Eco, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, and The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan.

I think it is safe to say that I have a problem!