Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Books, My Shelves: a "So That's Why" special episode

So, I'm sitting here this morning, looking at the 2 bookcases in my bedroom and wondering, "Why?". Why do I have all these books? Why did they enchant me so as to plunk down the debit card so I could give them a home on one of my 5 bookshelves (which doesn't count the ones in the kids' bedrooms)? Why haven't I found time to read them? Some people can tell time in their lives by the friends or lovers they've had, or a song on the radio that takes them back to an era in their life. I can also tell time by my books. Time for a "So, that's why" moment.

There are entire sections on my shelves from the various stages of teaching: student teaching (tons of books on theory and also classroom ideas on every subject imaginable, as well as novels that I intended to have in my classroom), the short stints as a substitute teacher, when I worked with students with learning differences, and when I taught at the college level (books on writing and grammar, art books from the time I taught Intro to Fine Arts, Psychology books (Oliver Sachs and Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).

There are sections of my "Optimistic Mommy" phase, when I wanted to start a mommy-daughter book club - books on how to do that and the books I wanted to read with my daughter (um, sadly, didn't get too far with that, although she loves to read and that was the ultimate goal).

The philosophical era when I thought I'd read all the classics that I should have read before: Camus, Wharton, Miller, Austen, all nestle together with my book on 100 Banned Books.

The time after that, when I gave up and read chick lit and "pampering yourself" books, exclusively.

Books from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon from when my son was a wee bairn (they are set in Scotland) and I would read while he rested in my arms.

Books my mom shared with me. Guilty pleasures. Short books that should be long: Simplify Your Life with Kids, for example. And long books that should be short: Seeing Me Naked by Lisa Palmer (just kidding, couldn't resist that title).

An amazing array of Organizing books, close to 25, of which I've read hmmmm 2? I should have stuck with Marcia Ramsland and Peter Walsh, because their books had the most impact on me when I read them. But, uh, nothing seems to have sunk in because my house and my life is in utter chaos - I think I'll organize them next, into a nice versatile basket they may or may not have suggested I buy, and which is now filled with Ninetendo boxes and scarves? Time to read or re-read those books.

Books that make me go - huh? Really? I bought that? (See The Seinfield Chronicles, and Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell) That group is now in a shopping bag on the way to The Frugal Muse (noted in an earlier post), if you are interested, but I warn you, you may look at them years from now and ask yourself the same questions.

There are other subsections of book categories around here, to be sure, but these seem the most important to me to share right now. Since I've also been saying, "I didn't know I had this book", several times this morning, I'm going to take a look to see what I might what to move up on my imaginary reading list. Or maybe write down that list. I also see how some of my writing books may come back into use soon, with the blogging and scrapbooking I do, and the fact that my daughter is on the school Newspaper and Yearbook this year (also, a very good writer, that girl!). Maybe she'll want one of those books to cuddle up with .... uh, yeah, what 13 year-old girl doesn't want to cuddle up with her mom's grammar books? I need to get a grip....maybe some parenting books.....?

So, that's why I have so many, many, many books in my house. My goal continues to be to actually read or re-read these books that mean so much to me, and eliminate those that don't. Those castaways, who have spent some time with me will go off to a new home on someone elses shelves. And I'll have space on my shelves for the next era of my life, whatever that may be.


  1. Well atleast you know why you have these books, now what?

  2. Thank you so much for this latest "So That's Why" episode. I absolutely loved hearing about your bookshelves (there are lots that I would love to borrow.) Your love of books is one thing that I admire - believe it or not (and I'm sure, against the better judgement of Jeanne and your bank account.)You thirst to explore subjects and become an expert on them is so great to me. Triple LOVE this post. Thanks!