The Stories Interwoven With My Own

Today has been one of those precious days that you set aside in your memories to come back to later when the days are dark and cold, to warm yourself by as though it’s a fire burning in the fireplace.  Time with my family, getting things done, and in the midst of the doing, taking time to smell the books…..I meant roses.  Actually, no, I mean books.  Anyone else do that?  Maybe it’s because I worked in the library for years, but I do tend to sniff my books occasionally.  Weird, but true.  I love books.  And everything about them.  Including their smell.

Today has been about bringing all of the books in our home to one area and putting them on shelves.  Over the years of collecting books, we’ve had some tucked on bookshelves in nearly every room in the house.  So if you were looking for a particular book, often you would just give up before you’d go through all the possibilities.  Today I have channeled my inner librarian and sorted by different groups–the books from Maemae’s house, the children’s stories, some separated out–like the Berestain bears and the chapter books and the fairy ones and the Star Wars and Cars ones.  I’ve even gotten a little crazy and “alpha by author” ‘ed our Junior fictions.  I have yet to start on my books, and the space is dwindling.  Obviously I have some culling to do.  I know, it pains me to even think it.  But I’d rather do that than get rid of any more of the children’s books.

And that is just something I can’t do.  As the day progressed and I saw and heard my children’s reactions to having their books put away where they can see them all in a glance, I knew there was no way that I could get rid of any of their books anytime soon.  And in part it was because many of these books are a part of my story as well.

Some of the classics sitting together on their own shelf.....

Some of the classics sitting together on their own shelf…..

Aub, as she surveyed the nearly done shelving of our “Junior Fiction” books, said, “I feel really vulnerable and out there with all of these books together like this for anyone to see.”  She touched one set of books and then another, “These were my third grade world…..these I loved when I was in the fifth grade.”  And then there’s the Harry Potter series.  She and Harry grew up together think.  I know what she means.  As I shelved some of the oldest ones we have, I remembered my own fifth grade year.  And high school.  And the book Mama and Daddy bought for me when I turned six.  All there.

Princess' and Cooter's very own shelves to hold their very own favorite books.

Princess’ and Cooter’s very own shelves to hold their very own favorite books. My Daddy’s “granite” bear was the first thing placed on the shelves.  It had to be.

 

Our Princess was thrilled that she got her own shelves for her fairy books and the Junie B books and the Magic Treehouse series.  Though we’d gotten that set for her sister at least twelve years ago, those are the ones she jumped into after she first learned to read.  Those will always be precious stories to us.

Cooter sat on the rug tonight, and asked us all to “keep it down” please because he wanted to read.  He pulled out books that he hasn’t looked at in ages, because he could put his hands on them now.  Only this time he saw them with a new lens–for the first time, he is seeing them through the eyes of a reader.  At one point today, as we were working on shelving, I looked and all three had a book OPEN in their hands, and they were reading for a moment.

Yes, I think this is a very good thing.

My Mama's books tucked away for the night in their own section.  The apples and kokeshi Grandparents use to sit on top of Mama's bookcase.  My children would feed the dolls the apples and then Daddy would move them when they weren't looking.  Too much fun and a sweet memory.  They will move for more books but for today, that is right where they belong.

My Mama’s books tucked away for the night in their own section. The wooden apples and kokeshi Grandparents use to sit on top of Mama’s bookcase. My children would “feed” the dolls the apples and then Daddy would move them when they weren’t looking. Too much fun and a sweet memory. They will move for more books but for today, that is right where they belong.

I thought we had shelved all of the children’s books, and I was beginning to breathe a little easier about having room for my books.  And then we found one last bin of books from my Mama’s that we’ve had for a while.  As I saw the sorted piles growing, I realized I needed another shelf to hold these.  These books had Cooter exclaiming, “Oh that’s one of my favorites!” several times. Princess, as she was helping me get them out of the bin, had to stop every few minutes and flip through one and read several words.  So sweet.  And my college girl, Aub, saw the lift-the-flap board book that I remember from long ago, and said, “Oh this was my very favorite book EVER! I love this book.  See all of the children’s names.  I used to say I liked this one, not that one, that one’s okay…..”

Umm, so no, of course that one wasn’t in the give away pile.

Ahem.

It is funny and beautiful to me the way these stories and mine are interconnected.  There are books that touch one’s life and never let go.  They never really leave, woven into the tapestry of who we are.  In truth, I think that I probably have fewer of those in my adult fiction and non-fiction books than I have in the children’s books that bring back memories.

Maybe if I look at it that way, it won’t be too hard to cull some of mine.

At least I hope so.  Because I won’t say goodbye to the children’s stories.  They’re just that good.

 

Love and wishes for a good book to read to all.

 

 

Why I Love My Kindle But Not an E-Book

I love my Kindle.  I do.

I appreciate that I was given this really generous gift by my family.  I love having the fun and educational “apps” that my children enjoy when we have long waiting times.  (Like today at the Pediatrician’s…..and then again at the Pharmacy.  Long waits.) One of my favorite features, that I was not aware of initially, is that I can email files and e-books downloaded on my computer to my Kindle and read them there.  Excellent.  I have purchased educational workbooks from websites and sent them to my Kindle, which is so much easier to use with my children than reading them on the computer.  I have even sent my own word documents to it for later use.

A luxury.  That’s for sure.

For a while after I first got the Kindle, I checked a website or two for the free book downloads of the day.  Mama and I enjoyed comparing notes and talking about our “finds.”  Then I realized I was cluttering my Kindle up with books that I might or might not read.  So I stopped.

But one thing I do love is being able to download the first chapter of a book free as a sample–to take the book out for a spin so to speak.  Download, check it out, then delete if I don’t care for it.  If I do, I usually put it on my wishlist.  But things were different when I downloaded the sample chapter of this one:

pic of kindle book

And I loved it.

It was the first book I could really get into since Mama died in February.  If you don’t love books, “get into” probably sounds a little odd, but if you do, you know what I mean.  I was turning e-page after e-page and it was really, really good.  Then I came to that dreaded message that told me I was at the end of my free sample, but I could purchase it for immediate download by clicking {here}.  After a brief pause and comparing prices (it was cheaper as a Kindle download), I clicked that magic box: “Buy It Now.”

It was not without guilt.  I felt guilty getting the book, and I sure felt guilty over that instant gratification that I was giving in to.  Getting something on a whim like that?  I wasn’t raised that way.  We were taught to think through things and sleep on it before we did just about anything.  So yeah, this was a little out of my comfort zone.  By the time I continued into the next chapter two minutes later, I had pretty much chastised myself sufficiently.  And moved on.  Ahem.

It was a brilliant read.  I loved it.  It was like old times, flying through the pages, trying to sneak time to read–if only for a few minutes, even reading under the covers after lights were out.  I loved this book.

Uh oh.

That’s when I realized what I’d done.

I bought a book.  On the Kindle.

That I couldn’t share.

I hate it when that happens.

One of my great joys in life is sharing a book with friends and family.  I love thinking of just who would love the book, and I offer it with the caveat that it is okay if they don’t like it.  I learned that a long time ago from one of my aunts.  She and her very young grandson were talking about a movie that he loved.  She said she really didn’t care for it, and he was shocked and confused.  She told him that it was okay for folks who loved each other to like different things.  I like that, and it’s true.  So I pass along books I love, but it’s okay if my friends and family don’t love it too.

But this one?  I knew of at least four family members who would LOVE it.  And a couple of friends.  But there it sits, locked up tight inside this electronic rectangle, never to be shared or sit on my shelf reminding me of the great story inside. Very, very sad.  How’s that instant gratification feelin’ now? *sigh*

pic of book

Today my Aunt returned this book, “Ghost on Black Mountain,” that I’d shared with her a very short time ago.  (She’s a quick reader, that one!) I was overjoyed to hear that she had loved it as much as I had.  It’s a haunting tale, no pun intended, and now I get to share with her my excitement over the author’s next book coming out in September. Shared joys are the absolute best.  I can’t wait, and we can share that book too.  (And I’ve already put this one in a pile to take to MessCat’s house tomorrow.  I think she will also love it.)

Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned for all of this.  I think I’ll go back to my old ways.  Download sample, read it, and if it’s good, check with our locally-owned bookstore and then on-line.  And wait.  There’s something to be said about the good in things you have to wait for.  As the old song goes, “Anticipation…..”