Books and Reading

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!

Image by Birgit Böllinger from Pixabay

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8 Replies to “Books and Reading”

  1. Once I transitioned to eBooks a lot of my paperbacks, and a good portion of my hardcovers, got boxed up and put in storage so we’d have more room for the DVD/BluRay collection.

    My wife reads mostly kids/young adult books (she teaches 5th grade), and the occasional cozy mystery. My daughter (9 years of age) is mostly reading graphic novels. I have been reading old books with her to try to expose her to some classics, but lately I’ve been working evenings so haven’t gotten as much in.

    My tastes are somewhat broader. I cycle through SF/Fantasy, biography, history, mystery, sports, and the occasional “classic”.

    1. Sounds like we have similar tastes, minus the sports (that’s hubby). I also like YA to some degree. It can’t be sloppy condescending “this is how the world works” junk. I also get annoyed when the 13-year old protagonist is acting like they’re 30 and for the whole time. But give me a good story and I’ll sit on the couch for hours unless forced off.

  2. Well there are SO many reasons we are friends but our love of books and reading and writing are certainly a big part of the foundation of our friendship. So I’m curious is you’ve read Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller? I really enjoyed it. Also…have you read the Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels books? We really should have a phone or Zoom book chat soon! xoxo

    1. I know…books and dismembered pigeons in the living room of 470 are all a part of our story! 😀

      I have not read Weller or Andrews, I will have to find them and add them to the queue. And, yes a chat soon would be fantastic!

  3. First of all, you actually “waste” time reading when traveling? 😸 I mean, if I’m spending a lot of money on plane tickets, accommodations, etc. to travel to another country, I’m going to spend all my time there making sure I make the most out of it. I can read anytime when I’m at home, but travel days are numbered. 😺

    That said, reading was a form of escape for me during my younger years. It still is, actually. I have a collection of Perry Mason books by Erle Stanley Gardner. I also have all of the vampire chronicle titles by Anne Rice and a lot of Michael Crichton books. Oh, and my most-prized possession was an entire set of Garfield comics. 😸

    I also liked reading romance, but I didn’t buy any because school ingrained into me this feeling like it’s a sin to do so. Now romance is all I read on Kindle. I guess my rebellion phase came way late. 😹

    1. Travel is made even better with reading. I do not consider any time reading to be wasted. I also don’t travel in a non-stop fashion. I can do about one museum a day and only for a couple of hours. I like to spend time in cafes watching the world go by. There’s nothing better than realizing you’re spending an afternoon sipping coffee or wine in a small cafe on the Champs Elysee. That’s travel for me.

      1. One of the sweetest evenings I spent in London a few years back was reading in a quiet pub for a few hours.

      2. Ah, when I’m reading it’s like I’m in the book and I tune out the world. So in essence, I’m somewhere else. It’s just my body sitting there not noticing the world go by.

        Travel for me is being able to experience things we don’t have in my country. I ride trains/subway, walk in nature parks, bike around the city, try as many local foods as I can, enjoy going out in cold weather and being able to wear boots and a trench coat… 😊

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