A few weeks ago, my husband, the kids, and I went through our storage unit to downsize from a lot of things. Any time the subject of the unit came up, I wistfully remarked, “My books are in there”. Since we’ve moved several times over the years, we wound up putting a lot of things in there “to hold”. Regretfully, my boxes of books were among them, including my special, little gem by Pappy Boyington (author of Baa Baa Black Sheep, inspiration for the 1970's hit NBC show of same name), titled Tonya.
On clearance day, we discarded a lot. It was so liberating actually. When you don’t see so much of what you don’t use, do you really still need it?
Rather good question, but not one that applies to my books. As we also learned that day, it didn't apply to the Christmas stuff and some of the kids’ things either. (My son’s 20-year old big, talking, stuffed Barney is still part of the family… )
Well, among my collection are those I’d read and those I hadn’t yet read. I knew which were boxed up. So much, I placed them on my goodreads to-read list even while they’ve been away from me. When I stumbled on those that I had forgotten to list, I quickly typed them in. It was such comfort to see them again. My to-read list just gets longer and all I want is the time to read them all!
Many of my books are very special to me for various reasons.
One of them on the “have-read” list is my old copy of Gone with the Wind. It belonged to my uncle when he was in college; he gave it to me several years ago. [As a matter of fact, it's the same edition that Johnny reads to Ponyboy in The Outsiders movie… how cool is that?!] I also have a first hardbound edition of GWTW that a dear friend got for me from a used bookstore (it's a bit ragged, but I still love it).
In the boxes are also very early hardbound editions of Beau Geste, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, and Ben-Hur. My old worn Peyton Place paperback. Grace Metalious’s pose, on the back cover, at her typewriter at a kitchen table has long been my personal iconic reference to illustrate just what I want to be when I grow up. That picture has been my Facebook avatar since I started this novel last year. My friends (which include all the high school folk who’ve been waiting for my book since… well, high school) know that when it’s changed back to my face, the book’s out there.
I was also thrilled to grab my copy of October Suite which the author Maxine Clair graciously gave me when I regularly attended her church a few years ago. She reviewed the first chapter of my first novel… and she encouraged me to keep going with it.
I cannot imagine my life without books either, Mr. Jefferson.
Pondering Thomas Jefferson's phrase, I'm reminded of what is, to me, the scariest episode of The Twilight Zone (well, perhaps it's an awfully close second to “To Serve Man” - oh how I refuse to even look at that one again). This one's with Burgess Meredith called, “Time Enough to Last”. I shudder every time I think of it. He’s a bibliophile, a lone survivor after nuclear holocaust, and ironically, a very happy man after he gets to the library. It’s all for him. All of the books are his to read. Alone. No due dates, no one complaining about the time he’s taking to read a beloved book “when there are other things to do", nope... none of that; he's on his own time now - just to read… pure bliss. As he prepares to read a book on the steps of the building, under the bask of the hot sun, he suddenly breaks the lens of his glasses. Without them, his vision is practically non-existent. My heart broke. Still does when I think about it. I mean, there he is, surrounded by all those books, his primary means of existence now, and he can't even read them! Oh, the horror! It’s a scary thought... a distressing concept.
I haven’t been very thrilled being separated from my own books: those I've read or otherwise. I left quite a few in the box until later. In the meantime, I still have many books on my shelves at home and my piles continue to grow from the library and local bookstore. I need books around me. Even Mrs. Dalloway remains a constant passenger in my car, sitting between the console and my passenger seat. Why? Just because.
My love for reading prepared me for writing at an early age.
It’s what made me pick up a blank book to use as a diary until I got one with the lock and key, and eventually made my way to the pretty padded lined journals. It’s what encourages and inspires me to write.
As I prepared this post, I debated with myself as to whether or not this was a better fit for The Reading Corner, which showcases the books I've read, or this blog. I ultimately chose here as my pasttime of reading goes hand-in-hand with writing. As a die-hard reader and writer, I will admit - without shame - my goofy love for books with the exception of textbooks that have nothing to do with history, film, grammar, or literature.
As I write my book, I still need time to read other folks’ novels. And, no… no audiobooks for me. My mom loves to share the story of how I took a bedtime book away from her to read it myself when was about two, going on three. Been that way ever since.
How attached are you to your books? Please share your sentiments...
by Tonya Rice