Tuesday, September 08, 2015

I love my library


So you all know that I love to read. And that I read a lot. I read on my Kindle Paperwhite. I love that thing. I read hardback and paperback books. I love them, too. I love both formats, actually. The feel of a book in my hands, the smell of the paper, the experience of turning the pages -- yes, great. But the ease of the Kindle! Being able to carry 500 novels at any one time, all in one tiny 5x7" little case! Having a well-lit page in a dark bedroom, outside in the bright sunlight, in a dim car... Being able to hold the kindle and turn pages, all with one hand (I'm an expert at holding with my left hand and flipping pages with my left thumb while doing something else -- like eating -- with my right hand). Being able to highlight a word and get an instant definition. All of those are true, delightful conveniences that make my reading experiences even better. And I wholeheartedly agree with Stephen Fry:

But what I really wanted to say today is that I LOVE my library. Actually, I love all public libraries. The idea that there are shelves and shelves of books available to anyone in the community who wants to come in, get a card, and borrow them -- for FREE -- is downright astonishing when you think about it.


I have my mom to thank for showing us kids the value of the library. As kids, we went every two weeks to check out a stack of books. She gave us the freedom (within wide boundaries, I suppose) to choose whatever we wanted to read. As a result, the local public library has always been an anchor in my life. When I was in college and in law school, I used the local public library (which other student friends thought was weird) because it was a link to "regular life" outside of the insular campus world. When I've moved to a new town, finding the local library and getting a library card was always one of the very first things I did. It's an essential in my life.

I know that at any time I can stroll in, check out the new book shelf to see what's just arrived, check out the novels waiting to be shelved to see what others have been reading most recently -- and funnily enough, it has often happened that I'll pull a book off of that shelf, mention it to my sister, and she'll say that it was on that shelf because she'd just returned it! We have similar taste in books so that shouldn't surprise me any more, but it always delights me.


And here's another way I love using the library. I love that my library's catalog is available online, so I can search for books, request them to be brought from other libraries, and put them on hold when there's a waiting list.

I do try to support my local bookstores. And I can't resist buying from Amazon, especially when Bookbub.com alerts me that a great ebook has just gone on sale for $1.99. But I'd be dead broke if I bought all of the books I read! So, often I'll read about a book somewhere -- a blog, a magazine, a friend -- and I'll go to Amazon and put in on my Amazon wishlist. Then, when I've got time and am sitting in front of the tv with my Ipad, I'll go through my Amazon wishlist, open my library catalog in another window, and see if I can find and reserve any of the wishlist books at the library. I'm usually not in any hurry to read any particular book at any particular time, so whenever it lands at the library and my name works up to the top of the list is fine with me. It's kind of the best of all worlds, really.

But wait! There's more! My library uses a site called Overdrive that allows me to borrow ebooks and download to my kindle! It's astonishing and easy. The library lends the book for 2 weeks, and once that time is done, the book is deactivated. You can electronically return it sooner than that, too, which then allows you to borrow another.

There are just no end to the ways the library makes me happy.


Friday, September 04, 2015

From the bookshelf

Since I'm catching up on blogging, I figured I should catch you up on what I've been reading.  I tend to read lighter fare in the summer -- so I've read a good assortment of cozy mysteries, girlfriends-at-the-beach novels, and thrillers.  But I've read some unexpectedly great novels, so I thought I'd share the ones I especially liked.

"Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee is first on my list.  I have to confess that I was apprehensive, after comments I'd read suggesting that a lot of early readers were surprised at the portrayal of Atticus Finch.  But I didn't expect how much I'd love this.  I listened to this in audiobook format on a roadtrip, and I loved Reese Witherspoon's reading.  The story follows Scout, now grown up Jean Louise, on a trip home from her working life in New York City.  She's seeing her family and town through grown-up eyes, and the contrast between her childhood illusions and the grown-up reality she sees are the focus of the novel.  So Atticus? He came across as a real man of his place and time. Harper Lee's writing was gorgeous, too.

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell was a surprise.  I've read other novels by her, and they were good (in an ordinary sort of way.)  This one, though, told a complex family story in a fascinating way.  The story focused on the Bird family, mainly as the oldest daughter and her daughter come home to clean out the family home after their mother's death.  The mother, it develops, became a hoarder as she got older. So the family's story is told moving back and forth in time, to show how a quirky but functional loving family became disfunctional in various ways.  It could have been a grim story, but it wasn't.  It showed the characters as multi-dimensional, likeable - and there were a lot of surprises along the way.  This is definitely an unusual story, but one I enjoyed a lot.

And here's what I'm reading now: The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl. I love books about books, and this one gets good reviews and I was delighted when I found it on the new book shelf at the library.  It uses first-person narration, too, which I especially like.  So far it's a story in a story -- narrator starts, then introduces an acquaintance who begins telling him a story, so narration shifts to the friend's point of view.  And it tells the tale of a mysterious "bookaneer": a thief who, because of the loose copyright laws in the 1800's, could steal an international manuscript and then sell it to a publisher in another country, out from under the author.  So far, it's good and the concept is fascinating.  I'll let you know what I think.

Have you read anything good lately? 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Garden Souvenirs

Yep, I'm still making jumbly journals, and I just finished another one.  I started this in July, but then I went off on vacation, and then had to get some work taken care of when I returned, so I only just finished it this week.  It's on a floral theme, and I really enjoyed using beautiful floral paper.

You can see the whole book here:


The journal, and others, are for sale on my Etsy shop.  And I'm already well into the next one...