Tag Archives: books

Bibliophile Spring Cleaning

Today I will . . . That’s the Mama Kat writing prompt I’m going with this week.

Today normal people are probably doing Spring Cleaning. They are washing windows, cleaning out closets, washing baseboards, and perhaps even alphabetizing their canned goods. I’ve never claimed to be normal. I do alphabetize my spices, but only because I have so many of them and no patience.

Instead of Spring Cleaning (which I really should be doing) I’m reorganizing my bookshelves. Yes, I buy nearly all the books I read in Kindle format and read them on my iPad. I also borrow a lot of library books in both print and eBook. But I still buy my favorite authors in hardback, and I buy local authors in hardback/softcover so I can get them signed. There are books in every single room of my home except the bathrooms. The rattiest shelves are the ones with books the whole family enjoys: Harry Potter and Stephanie Plum, to be specific!


Earlier this year my husband’s aunt passed away. She was an incredible woman, and her home reflected that. I have wonderful memories of visiting her with my mother-in-law and thinking that being there was my version of heaven. We sat and drank tea, talking about fifty different topics within a two-hour visit! Every single room (except the bathroom) was a library. Every wall in every room was covered with shelves. After she passed away her children opened the main house to family and friends, letting them take whatever books most appealed to them. I couldn’t go that day (damn F*$%ing pain), but was blessed with an opportunity to go a few weeks later. Her collection was eclectic, to say the least!


My youngest son, John, drove me over. He’d been at the memorial service, and so was already familiar with the house. I’d warned him in advance that the first-floor hallway had been narrowed by bookshelves on both sides, but since I’d been there she had also filled every closet with books! Her children had printed out hundreds of labels with her name, date of birth, and date of passing to be put into books taken home – that’s how she will best be remembered by generations of people.


I’m a bit OCD about my books. I’m about 95% Fiction, while my husband Michael is 100% History. Mine are all arranged by author, and then chronologically by year of publication. But the order of authors is pure favoritism. When Stephen King announced (several years ago) that he would continue writing but would not publish – well, I stopped giving him shelf space. Liar, liar, pants-on-fire!! He’s still publishing (for which I am very thankful), but now I need to spread his books out and move Anne Rice AND John Grisham. And since SK’s son, Joe Hill, is incredibly awesome he needs his own dedicated space.


I even have a special spot for local authors, most of which are signed First Editions. Every bookstore should have this, BTW, but odds are you’ll only find it at locally-owned shops. But that’s where you should be shopping anyway.


Tiffany Reisz gets her own section, which will expand exponentially now that I don’t have a teen boy in the house 24/7. I’ve read all of her books multiple times on Kindle, but the only print copies I had were from book signings I’d attended. Now I can indulge myself with print copies of all her books. I may even be able to get signed copies of all of them from a small bookstore near her home. YAY!


I was spoiled for many years by having a large, wonderful family-owned bookstore (Hawley-Cooke) five minutes away. All the employees were bibliophiles, and if they didn’t know how to find what a customer was looking for they took it as a personal challenge to find it. Better yet, I could tell any one of them what I liked and they’d introduce me to a new author in that genre. That’s particularly helpful in Children’s Books. If you like Richard Scarry you will not like Mo Willems. Mo Willems rocks, IMHO. And I have plenty of room to expand my collection for visiting kiddos:


What will YOU do today??

I Want Your Books!

OK, when Mama Kat suggests we post about “books” I know she’s talking to me. The hardest part of this post was deciding on the name. “I Like Big Books And I Cannot Lie” was a serious contender, but I couldn’t get Eddie Murphy’s Donkey Voice out of my brain. So we’re going with a song from my decade, the eighties.  Decade of the best movies and the best music. First you have to watch the video (I earned some awesome SwagBucks for searching this, BTW!

OK, I don’t care about your gender or sexual orientation – this is just sexy as hell. As has been said of Tim Curry in Rocky Horror, “If you don’t think that’s hot you have issues!”
Next step: Replace “sex” with “books” or “reading” in all the lyrics.

“Not everybody does it, but everybody should.”

Damn skippy! Everyone should read. One thing I liked about life before e-books was that you could visit someone’s home and learn a lot about them by the books on their shelves. It’s considered rude to ask to browse someone else’s Kindle or Nook, sadly.

But there are still red flags, even for those young enough to have gone digital with most of their library. One should never use a lovely Barrister’s bookcase for this *insert dripping contempt*:

There’s a special barefoot, no-pedicure area in the afterlife for people who do this.

Another is when you’re making small talk with someone you’re fairly sure has nothing in common with you and you pull your final card. “What do you enjoy reading?” If they say, “Oh, I can’t even remember the last time I read a book!” or worse, “Oh,” laughing, “I don’t read!” I’m done. I’ll text my husband where to find me and lock myself in the spare bathroom to lie on the bathmat, towel for a pillow, and pull up the Kindle app on my phone.

I’ve probably offended everyone who doesn’t read already (or they don’t read blogs to begin with because all the new hair and makeup stuff is on YouTube) but just in case you’re still with me here’s a tidbit of advice: Lie. Do not tell anyone that you don’t read books but have never missed an episode of The Bachelor or Real Housewives of Pittsburg.

Get creative: Come up with a writer’s name they’ll never remember, laugh and say it’s actually a nom de plume for (other fake name) and he/she only writes biographies of second-generation immigrant poets. Or look embarrassed and say you’ve been so busy with the triplets, your volunteer work, and raising chickens for those fabulous organic eggs that it’s hard for you to even keep up with your professional journals. You’re only a month behind on the Journal of Pediatric Neuroscience, but you’re at least two months behind on all the others. Play it right and you’ll never have to talk to that person again. Unless it’s me. ‘Cause I’d make a beeline for you next time and immediately ask about the triplets and the chickens. Just sayin’.

 

Extra Tidbit: I laughed hysterically listening to this song when I found it, because even if I watched the video a thousand times there’s only ONE visual it will ever bring to mind for me.  It was the summer before I was a Senior in college (or a weekend during my Senior year – hard to say) and I was working as a Nurse Tech in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit. We had very strict visiting hours back then, so there weren’t family members just wandering about gawking. A nurse named KT was giving a comatose patient a bath. It could have been any hour of the day or night since they worked the techs 7a-7p, 7p-7a, 3a-3p, and 3p-3a. And they switched it every two weeks, just to show us what to look forward to after graduation.

Anyway, somebody out at the station had a boom box (ancient piece of technology that was as large and heavy as possible and played cassette tapes). George Michael was on, and “I Want Your Sex” started. She yelled, “Turn it up!” and threw open the curtain. She was an adorable little curvy brunette, and had killer dance moves. She shook everything she had, swung towels and wash clothes above her head, and twerked before Miley Cyrus was ever a glint in her daddy’s eye! She also sang at the top of her lungs. Yes, every single patient was fully sedated, I assure you. We laughed, applauded, cried, and rolled on the floor. By the end of the song the gentleman was squeaky-clean with fresh bed linens, and the only sad part was he wasn’t awake to enjoy the show. That’s one medical bill he’d have paid with a smile on his face!

 

WHO Buys Books “By The Foot”?!

I’m a pretty easy-going sort of person. In fact, I saw this post on Facebook, and wanted to share it, be I was trying to be professional (and pretend my new psych drugs were working) that day. So I didn’t. But it’s too good not to share:
nice as fuck
I feel better. Now, let’s move on to the actual post, which can only be thirteen lines long as specified in Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop. It’s about a site I ran across while looking at color palettes on Pinterest. I was looking for something that would work in my bathroom and look good with black mold in the caulk and gray-ish mildew on the ceiling. I was actually finding some gorgeous palettes for my living room when I came across this picture:
books by the foot
First of all, no book should even be sold “by the foot”. If it was decent enough to be printed, respect it. Don’t sell it for the color of its cover or dust cover (which these all seem to lack), or by topic (such as law, medicine, or religion – all options on this site). That’s right, your lawyer probably bought all those pretty leather books for $80 a foot (3 foot minimum) plus shipping. Your doctor and pastor, too.

Why would anyone remove the dust covers from a book? It’s like skinning a human. That covering is there for protection. DO NOT REMOVE! My best friend once suggested I remove all my dust covers because it would “look prettier”. I was speechless. She reads literary fiction with a lot more patience than I do though, so I gotta cut her some slack.

I realize many people today read ebooks (I read most new books that way myself) or listen to audio-books (which is perfectly acceptable if they are unabridged. If you’re listening to an abridged I sure hope you can return it to the library. If you paid money for it you’re a moron.)

Speaking of morons, has anyone else found themselves unable to converse about literature with other adults? People will even admit it in public.

“Oh, I don’t read. Can’t remember the last time I read a book!” But they know all about every reality TV show. My husband and both of my sons read for enjoyment, have favorite authors, and are excited when a new book comes out in a series they love. If you don’t read something that makes you think your brain is rotting in your skull. Yes, that’s what that smell is.

I can talk to kids about their favorite books, even little ones. Bring up the Pout-Pout Fish, or Llama Llama, or Curious George, or ANY Dr. Seuss  book and we’ve got ourselves a conversation going.

Of course I’ve gone over my 13-line limit (by far), but if you have beautiful bookshelves put BOOKS on them! If you have no intention of reading them buy a backseat full at a yard sale and paint them your perfect accent color or cover them in pretty paper! I won’t fault you for it. Just don’t claim to have read them, because the first one pulled from the shelf will be The Iliad, and I doubt you remember much from that. Even I’m a bit spotty.

So find a genre you like and read more! If you don’t know what genre you’d enjoy (or what a genre is) comment or email me and I’ll suggest a few things. When it comes to literature I’m an omnivore!

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