I’ve always been an avid reader. It started with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, moved on to Kathleen Woodiwiss, Danielle Steele, and Harlequin romances, and then to biographies or autobiographies of strong women (think Katharine Hepburn and Eleanor Roosevelt), and before I knew it, I now have six bookcases and other random places filled with books, books, and more books. I just recently bought at an auction 3 years’ worth of back issues of a particular trade magazine! Mostly I have leadership and “success” books, with a few shelves reserved for self-help and inspirational books. Kevin was also a reader, and his preference was either thriller or historical non-fiction…although I did get him to read my all-time fave, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (unfortunately, he didn’t get it).
I keep telling myself I need to utilize my local library instead of buying books, but I have a severe weakness in that regard apparently. Don’t get me wrong – I still get the trashy romance novels from there, but I buy a LOT of books still. I probably have over 20 cookbooks (stashed in a kitchen cupboard), at least 14 books by John Maxwell, about a dozen on public speaking, and lately I’ve been collecting books on writing (I’m up to a half dozen, and two should be arriving tomorrow from Amazon. I like having books around, writing or highlighting in them, re-reading them, stacking them here and there, and getting comfy by the fire with a blanket, a book, and a vanilla latte. Occasionally I come across a book that makes no sense or I think is stupid or hasn’t hooked me. I’ve been known to purposely leave books in the airport or a hotel room because I can’t make myself throw them in the trash. I am always interested in recommendations, so let me know if you have a favorite I should check out (or buy). This morning I was referred to Falling Upward by Richard Rohr, so that’s next on my list.
I’ve also been given books as potential self-help for dealing with my grief. Two of the better ones are A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, and The Way of Transition by William Bridges. Both men suffered the loss of their wives, and these are about their experiences. One coming tomorrow is A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion about her loss of a spouse. Novels like Mitch Albom’s The First Phone Call From Heaven also appeal to me at this time of my life.
Just this morning I was looking for Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way on accessing your creativity is around here somewhere, but I can’t find it. My books are not organized much anymore. They used to be – before I moved, and then moved again, and then brought home books from the office when I started this sabbatical. I think that is what I should do today – organize my books. I keep saying I’ll do it “someday” when I have time, and I have that in abundance right now.
You can tell a lot about a person, I think, by the books they read, by what’s hidden and by what’s out in the open, by what is on the top shelf or at eye level, by which ones are obviously well read and those that haven’t cracked the spine yet. Looking at my books right now would tell an observer that I’m probably spending a lot of time alone (if I’m actually reading them), and that I’m interested in writing a memoir (given those are the ones not on a shelf), and that I am not a student of library science (because of the shelving system..or lack of one). Reading is not a haphazard activity for me, but I do go in spurts according to genre. Yes, I’ve just decided: today is going to be Book Organization Day for me. One shelf at a time, one bookcase at a time, one room at a time, and it will be all be done. Like life, like grief, like a lot of things – one at a time keeps me from being overwhelmed.
And when that is done, I might think about tackling the DVDs and the CDs next.