We have recently overhauled our living room, moving things here and there, finding new homes for all the stuff that has had a home for the last decade. One of those things getting moved about was my books.
We love our house, but it is small. And with the accumulation of things through the years, as well as kids and their things, the books I am able to leave out and easily accessible seems to dwindle on a regular basis.
Half of my daughter’s closet is taken up by books I just can’t bear to part with. And a shelf in my living room that has housed a collection of what I plan to read, as well as several old favorites that I can pluck up easy as pie should the mood strike, was readjusted last weekend.
In my dream house there will be a room just for me and my books. They are something that I just cannot bring myself to part with. Each of the ones that I have read means something special. Each is its own story, its own journey, but those become mine, too, when I dive in.
“Books are a uniquely portable magic,” author Stephen King has said.
Yeah, they sure are, and you don’t need to charge them or anything. You need only enough light to see the words that are the threads weaving the magic.
Having to pare down what was on that shelf this weekend was not an easy task.
Some of these old friends and I go way back, and they helped shape a lot of my own self-exploration that has helped me grow into this me that I have become. Some are dramatic, others quiet and deep, some fantastical, and some just funny.
The thing with a book is it is not just the author’s once the reader is immersed into it, but it becomes the readers’ story, too.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s,” King also said.
Last year during National Library Week (this year it’s April 10-16) I wrote another column about reading. I promised that I would try a bit harder to get back to the reading I was once able to enjoy before the children came along.
I have done a bit better with that, though by no means am I able to devour the quantity I once did.
Last week I wrote about one of my favorite novels, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It has been in my purse for three weeks or so after I had picked it up again for another go, and I have read a page or two here and there when there has been a moment. This weekend I did some lounging, just me and that book.
Something else – my daughter was lounging with her own book not far from me. That is good stuff and I am tickled pink that she is already well on her way to being quite the book lover.
I had not been able to read all that far by Sunday’s small readfest, but during that bit of immersion time Scout experienced her first day of first grade where she was basically reprimanded by the teacher for knowing how to read already. Scout says in the novel that she can’t remember a time when she could not read, and I cannot remember a time when I was not reading either.
It is such a part of me, and such an enjoyable part at that.
As the books left from the most recent culling die to our rearranging efforts, I’ll get to them at some point, and they will wait for me patiently as they always do. Until then, I will continue down the familiar path of Jem and Scout Finch, through the dark and murky happenings of a mostly-blinded humankind, until I am ready for another story to get lost in, whether it be an old favorite or a brand new adventure.
A good life means many different things depending on the person you ask. To me that definition will always include books. I think Mark Twain summed it up quite nicely with this: “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.