Books, books, books. 

I have piles of books everywhere. Every room has at least one book, usually more. I did this brief assessment after I realized my Amazon “saved for later wish list” has over 400 books in it (accumulated over years … thank goodness they haven’t all resulted in purchases). I attempted a brief assessment to ascertain how many books in the piles are still waiting to be read. I don’t really want to know that answer. That saved-for-later cart will continue to grow. My hope for this year is to reduce the “to be read” pile.

As those who occasionally read this column know, I discuss my love of words and books quite often. Both are key pieces to my life, though I have realized my reading habits have changed slightly during the past year and the pandemic. 

It’s been a subtle shift. I guess that I’m writing about it means I’ve accepted the shift, though for days I was in complete denial. Habits honed over a lifetime are not so easily changed. I didn’t want to admit this one has altered. 

I’m still reading, still have an audio book on my phone at all times for the errands and car rides. I have my thesaurus and dictionary nearby, since my memory Rolodex has failed at times to open as quickly as I think appropriate.  

I do find myself dusting off some of my history books from college a little more frequently lately to find out if my memory of something remains relatively accurate or has morphed into what I want something to be or represent after some time has lapsed. I’m looking at my globe more since my mental map of the world has some faded edges. I’ve re-read a few books, partly to recapture my thoughts and feelings the first time I read something that stayed with me. I don’t know if it was a knee-jerk reaction to the pandemic situation which put my reading off-kilter. I still enjoyed the re-reading and the experience; it just wasn’t possible to recapture some of the feelings.  

I realize my home library is rather eclectic. I have many textbooks from college, plus a selection of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden from my youth. Nancy and Trixie started my love of a good mystery, which still remains. I remember reading “Shogun” straight through one weekend shortly after I started my first job out of college. My apartment was spare of furnishings, with pillows for my seating. 

I managed to read for about 36 hours straight, no sleep. That’s the one and only book that kept me from sleeping, eating. I was unable to put it down. Years later, re-reading it did not create the same fervor, but 40 years between readings brought something new and different to my experience.  

Biography, history, thriller, mystery, religions, poetry, philosophy, classics, reference, war, fun stuff (like “Literary Libations”), and a few comics thrown in are old friends scattered throughout my home.  I pick things up and start reading or just flip the pages to have the tactile sensation, and the fragrance.

Books, books, books. 

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