Posts on books, reading, bookshelves, collecting books, buying books, culling books, not culling books, have been coming to my attention in the last few days (check out Cedar Sanderson’s post, Bibliophilia). I have a LOT of books. My husband has a LOT of books. Between us we have TONS of books. We live in a small two-bedroom apartment. There is not a lot of extra room. We turned the front room, which was meant to be the main bedroom, into a home office for both of us. It has five bookcases. The hallway has two, the living room has three, and the bedroom has one. This isn’t even dealing with the ten or so banker’s boxes of books that came from my campus office.
Before we moved away from California twenty years ago, I purged at least a hundred books. These were books that I had bought, read once (well before electronic books) and hadn’t picked up again. When we moved in together I had boxed them up and put them in storage. A year later, realizing I had not once looked for any of the books in storage, I donated them all to the local Goodwill.
My husband and I have different tastes in books. He prefers, and almost exclusively reads, non-fiction. It can be historical, historical analysis, political, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him reading fiction. I, on the other hand, love urban fantasy (duh), swords and sorcery, mysteries, and science fiction. I also like a range of authors like Tom Clancy, P.G. Wodehouse, John LeCarre, Terry Prachett. We both like biographies, especially about bands and singers we like (we do share pretty identical tastes in music).
I have books that I’ve collected (for example all of the Oz books, a collection started by my grandmother for my father), books that I re-read often, and books that I’ve read once and keep because, well…because. There are reference books, and of course, books from grad school and beyond. I love being surrounded by books. And, I do love the electronic readers such as Kindle, etc. The ability to take a few dozen books on vacation or any trip is intoxicating.
The first time I went to Europe, I did the post-college-backpack-through-Europe-for-three-weeks thing with a couple of friends. One of the things I loved was picking up books in hostels or pensions reading them over the course of the next few days, dropping them at the next hostel/pension/b&b and picking up another one. That way you didn’t get weighed down carrying books, yet you were able to read several. That was how I ended up binge reading Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series. We must have followed that individual around Europe. I also learned that Ludlum has a definite formula (hero is wrongfully blamed, government baddies after him, ex-wife/gf/lover helps out despite rocky end to relationship, saves the world) that he uses in Every.Single.Book. By the time I got to the last two or three books I was challenging myself to figure out the plot arc by the end of the first chapter. I was correct each time.
It doesn’t matter what genre or type or subject, books provide escape, knowledge, information, ideas, a different world view, laughter, life lessons, puzzles, and entertainment. Sometimes all in the same book. In other words, books offer the world. Reading is not just fundamental, it’s necessary for me.
Writing has become another way for me to escape. Now I am indulging all my day dreams of worlds and discoveries in my own stories. And, I can’t tell you how much fun it is!
What kind of books/stories do you like? How eclectic are your tastes?
Enjoy a lazy Sunday! If it’s nice outside where you are, take a book outside and read!