Sunday, January 25, 2009

Unread books

I love books. I love reading. I can remember the frustration from my pre-school years of not being able to read. I'd beg my father to read me the "funnies" and on Sunday morning, on the drive to our Midtown Memphis church from our east Memphis neighborhood, I drove my family crazy asking what every billboard on Poplar Avenue said. I still remember my very first trip to a public library, getting my card and checking out the maximum allowable books for a child. Later that afternoon, after reading them all, I asked my stunned mother when we could go back. "Get your nose out of that book" was a theme of both my childhood and a chunk of my marriage.

In the last couple of years, going from commission only income as a mortgage broker during the housing collapse to no income to part time income, my book buying has seriously decreased. It's practically disappeared, but at least, I still have a library card. Small town libraries are frequently very low on small town budgets, and ours is no exception. Quite frankly, it frustrates the heck out of me. The librarians are helpful, wonderful ladies, but no one there is truly a professional librarian educated in the field of library science. More than once, when the womanchild was home bound from school because of illness, our local library could not provide her the resources she needed to complete her school projects, and because she was home bound, she couldn't use the school library. Our library does the best with the resources they have, but they cater to the greatest demand. Our shelves are filled with modern Christian fiction, most of which I can't appreciate as literature while admiring the faith of the authors, cozy mysteries which are fine every now and then, a whole lot of romances and a basic collection of classics.

One day while browsing the poetry shelf (yes, shelf), I found several volumes of Rod McKuen, but I couldn't find Auden, Rilke or Neruda. In other areas, they had Capote's In Cold Blood, but Breakfast at Tiffany's and Other Voices, Other Rooms were nowhere around. I've been aching for something different to read, and my library frustration has gotten the best of me. (Again, I'm not faulting the people there. They do the best with what they have, and a small town budget has many, many demands.) Tonight, I started looking at my own bookshelves for something, anything I hadn't already read. I surprised myself with what I found.

Some of these I started and didn't finish. Most of the biographies belonged to my husband. Some I'd just forgotten I had. However, I now have a reading list that's already paid for and handy.

Just a few of the titles --

Sally Hemings by Barbara Chase-Riboud (always love learning about family)
About Face by Col. David H. Hackworth (hubby loved him)
The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman (should have read that a long time ago)
Fidel by Tad Szulc
My Life by Bill Clinton (so damn long)
Man of the House by Tip O'Neill with William Novak
Become a Better You by Joel O'Steen (a Christmas gift to my husband, not from me. What a left handed insult of a gift.)
The Deluge, Vols 1 and 2 by Henryk Sienkiewicz
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates
Money Drunk, Money Sober by Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan (another I should have read a long time ago)
God's Debris by Scott Adams
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
The Carpenter's Apprentice, The Spiritual Biography of Jimmy Carter by Dan Ariail and Cheryl Heckler-Feltz
Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger
The Body Sacred by Diane Sylvan
Gnosis of the Cosmic Christ by Tau Malachi

That was just what I found in my little office. I haven't even begun to plunder the shelves in the living room, dining room, my bedroom or C.'s bedroom. It's easy to forget how much you really have. Now to choose where to begin.

books, reading

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've found a real resource! Another one which I haven't tried yet, but friends tell me is wonderful, is bookmooch.com, a book exchange.
And have you asked your librarian if they participate in inter-library loans? Mine will borrow books for its readers from other libraries in the state--it may take a few weeks, but if it's something you really want to read, it's well worth the wait.
Pat

January 25, 2009 8:45 AM  
Blogger Reflections on an Ordindary Life said...

I have recently discovered Shelfari.com. It's a website that allows you to track the books you've read on your "shelf", connect with other readers, participate in book discussions and get ideas for books to add to your "want to read" shelf. I think you'd enjoy it.

January 25, 2009 10:51 AM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

I vote for Salinger's nine stories. I did my Master's Thesis on that! :-)

January 25, 2009 2:09 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Hi Cynthia! I found your blog from Theresa's. What a great idea--to look through the shelf and find unread treasures. I second the vote for Salinger--that's one of my all-time favorites! It's so rich.

All best,
Erin

January 26, 2009 10:59 AM  
Blogger Indigo said...

JD Salinger will leave you rich with emotion. I'm one of those get your nose out of that book people...I can't fall asleep at night unless I've read a few pages at the very least of whatever current book I'm reading.

I spent years living from paycheck to paycheck not being able to afford reading material. Now even with plenty to read, I never pass up an opportunity to visit the bookstore. I keep a list of books, I want to read and anyone who knows me, without a doubt has that list for Bdays, special occasions or Christmas. Whenever I can afford to I enmass books for times, I know money will be lean and I won't have that luxery.

A friend passed on the link to me, which I'm now passing on to you. It's a great organization. You trade in the books you have, request book you would like and around and around it goes. I'll let you check it out and see what you think of it...

http://www.bookmooch.com/

Sometimes you get get books cheaper through places like Amazon. One friend of mine found a site that gives you books to read, with the only condition being you write up a review of the book for them. I'll have to see if I can find out where for you. (Hugs)Indigo

January 26, 2009 1:04 PM  
Blogger Nelle said...

Just last year I purchased four books, all Jodi Picoult.Read them. Usually I am so tired after staring at a computer screen all day I am too tired to read. My sister lent me "Healing Women's Emotions" a religious book but I cannot get through it. My favorite book is the Scarlet Letter but I love the books of Anna Quindlen's column from the NY Times also. I read and reread Kahlil Gibran.

January 26, 2009 5:53 PM  

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