Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Disclaimer time: I'm sorry it's been so long since my last blog. Life got in the way: I was taking care of ill parents. Their computer has no word-processing software at all, and has a dial-up connection (shoot me now!). And the computer was in the sick-room. Enuf said! On to this week's blog.

I love walking through other people’s homes, seeing their furniture, their knickknacks and d├ęcor, their lives. When I interviewed folks for a small newsletter I always conducted the interviews in their homes. You can find out a lot about people by seeing the things with which they surround themselves—and the things they don’t.

Recently I was a spur-of-the-moment guest in a gorgeous home so perfect the owners could entertain royalty—or in-laws—in an instant. I looked around at that perfection and realized I didn’t see a single book. Not a bookcase, not a bookshelf, nada.

I buy books new and used, collecting them like some people collect fine crystal or Teddy bears. When I travel I pack books in my suitcase, and stuff one in my purse for every appointment or errand, just in case. There are books in every room in the house: Fiction, history, travel, cookbooks, writing books—books everywhere you turn, stored, stacked, bookmarked and available. Recently I won some money and my first thought was, “More bookcases!” (I was dreaming. We bought new tires. Sigh.) When I was a kid, I won the local library’s summer reading program and the prize was a book to keep forever. Choosing a husband was easier. (Note: I still have the husband. The book is gone.)

What about you? Are you obsessed with books, helpless in the clutches of Barnes and Noble and Borders? Do you frequent your local library? Are you irresistibly drawn to used-book sales? What books surround your world?


  1. Val, you're a riot! I'm just like you, I need my books.

  2. Obsessed, yes. I used to get in trouble when I was a kid for reading when I was supposed to be doing something else. Big trouble the time I was supposed to be watching my litle brother, I was reading, and HE got into a can of paint!!
    My significant other sometimes gets annoyed with me when I sit down at night to read a book, oh well.
    Used book sales get marked on my calendar and they are the first things I look for at yard sales.
    I even have a library in my house.
    So yes Val, I'm with you 100% on this book thing.
    Jackie Swanson

  3. I've always been a book fanatic too. When I was too young to actually know how to read, my mother said I would sit with the other little kids, hold a book, and "read" to them. Now I enjoy reading out loud to senior citizens at the assisted living center where my Dad lives. Who doesn't love books?

  4. You are so right! I have 2 books at all times in the car (for those long school car lines), 3-4 on my nightstand, a CHINA CABINET not full of china...but books (we read the books way more than we use the china). There are bookcases all over my house. And my family makes fun of me because whenever we travel, I always have to check out the local bookstores. A perfect day for me is to bookstore-hop (better than bar hopping, right?). I start at the Book Exchange in Greer, then on to Fiction Addiction & the Open Book (I love the staff pick table there) & finally B&N and/or BooksAMillion. I buy way more books than I will ever have time to read...but there's always hope!

  5. I can understand your book love. I was 11 when I read my first book. It was a library book titled "A Fighting Man of Mars." I loved the book so much that rather than returning it, I would pay the 14 cent fine every week. It was a year before I found out I could just renew it. (I have copies of that book in my private library to this day.)
    "I cannot life without books" - Thomas Jefferson

  6. I've gone in spurts, although in my recent life it's been much reading and too many books. However, when I was in high school I suddenly realized I was being a real pain for my family because I would get into a book and be irritable when I had to quit and do something else. Consequently I quit reading anything that wasn't required for awhile. My family life was better, but I did miss the books. The other comment about my reading is that I was well into adulthood before I realized that I did not have to finish a book if I didn't like it! I still remember the first book I returned without finishing it - returned it to the bookmobile in a little town of less than 100 people, where we lived. I had gotten in the habit of having to finish a book when I had to do book reports and never grew up from that!

  7. Ha! Books are my drug of choice. I have a room full, and am trying to talk my husband into adding bookcases in the "man cave," the only place left.

  8. As you know, I have an overflowing bookcase, even after purging my books during my incessant moves and the place that I frequent most, after my place of employment and the grocery store, is the library. Isa and I actually have two different libraries that are feeding our habit these days - one by our house and one by her school.
    I read everyday during my 2 hour commute and oftentimes, I read while I am walking through a long corrider between trains..but I think that the label of obsessed is warranted because when I had the chance to actually go out in the evening when Isabel was in Boston with her grandparents, I chose to forfeit the opportunity in order to stay home to finish a really good book. haha
    Thank you very much for instilling a love of reading, libraries, and bookstores in your children and grandchildren!! It is one of the healthiest and most fulfilling addictions that one can have. : )

  9. Valerie, I felt so sorry for the people you stayed with. What a cold home without books!

    As you know, we just moved. Any guess at how many boxes of books I packed for the move? 30. I was surprised that the number was so low while my husband just shook his head and asked me, "What are you going to do with all these books?" I looked at him and asked hiim if, after 15 years of marriage, he really needed to ask that question.

    I'm sitting in my new house, looking at my entertainment center, which except for the TV, is filled with books. It's BEAUTIFUL! The china cabinet is starting to look like a great option ... Anyone want to buy some china?

  10. Obviously, I'm not the only one obsessed with books! Thanks, all, for chiming in, and making me feel normal!

  11. I love those buy-a-paper-bag-for-five- dollars-and-fill-it-up-with-used-books sales.