In Praise of Books

I can’t help it. I have a book problem. You only have to walk into my house to see that…on almost any day, I can usually count on there being at least two or three books lying around out of place. Generally, it’s probably more like six or seven.

They’re stacked up next to my bed. They’re sitting on the gumwood chest in the living room. Often there’s a book on the mantle, or behind our big purple chair. There are three books and a magazine on the library table right now, and on my desk as I type I am looking at two Bibles, a novel, a book on the US constitution, a mini-scrapbook that Middle Child is working on, a spiral-bound copy of the Haggadah (bound backwards, in Hebrew style!) and the tattered remains of a favorite Dr. Seuss book, whose coverless pages are waiting for my ministrations with a roll of clear packing tape. And in my kids rooms? Oh boy, it’s like the children’s library exploded up there! Youngest has books stacked next to her bed at least two feet high, and I frequently have to pull them out from between the covers before I can tuck her in at night.

Something in me just loves to be surrounded by good literature, longs to have all those worlds at my fingertips. I grew up in a book-rich house, both of my parents are published authors, and our home was always full of books. My childhood was spent escaping from the world between the pages of one book or another. I read on top of the refrigerator, I read in my closet, I read until the wee hours of the morning under the warm glow of my blue goose-necked lamp, I read surreptitiously under my desktop at school during math class (and was oddly never an A student in math).

My all-time favorite reading place was found in third grade, when they turned the teacher’s lounge into a classroom. There were double sinks and a counter in there, where the teachers used to make their coffee and re-heat last night’s dinner during their 40 minute lunchtime respite from elementary schoolchildren. My third grade teacher was under-prepared and overwhelmed, and therefore gave us an enormous amount of mandatory quiet reading time. My dream come true! I spent the better part of third grade curled up in old teacher’s lounge sink, reading away to my heart’s content.

When Hubby and I were finally able to buy our own home, I was so excited over the fact that we could have a library. It’s perhaps not the most efficient use of space…our little displaced farmhouse is small, and the library space could easily have become a den or another bedroom. Instead, the television is downstairs in the unfinished basement and the girls share an upstairs bedroom, and the little room on the first floor has deep purple walls lined with rows of bookshelves. When I’m in this room, I am reminded of something Henry David Thoreau once said: “I live in a very small house, but my windows look out on a very large world.” Books are my windows, looking out over infinite worlds of possibilities.

Which is why I’m so excited to be doing a book club over at High Calling Blogs. The book we’re reading…Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland, is a very inspiring story about how one man rose from poverty in the ghetto to become the creator of an amazing center for the arts and education. It’s both an inspirational lesson in how believing in your ability to make a difference and following your dreams can lead to unbelievable change, and a good story about how the author came to build an award-winning, life changing program to help the poor and disadvangaged change their lives for the better. If you’d like to read along with us, pick up the book and join in! We’ll be discussing the first chapter on Monday the 16th of March, but you are welcome to join any time.

And now I’m off to my favorite reading place to sneak in a few pages before the kids wake up. I may even put a fire in the fireplace! It’s not the kitchen sink in my third grade classroom, but nowadays the overstuffed couch in our living room…with my special warm knit throw and perhaps a fuzzy cat at my side…is a close second.

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4 thoughts on “In Praise of Books

  1. I received my copy yesterday! Haven’t started yet, but hope to dig in this weekend.Would love to see that library with the purple walls some time! hOW precious. I can so relate.see ya monday at high calling…

  2. I am a booklover too!!! It is especially joyful when cuddled up with my two kitties. My boys, including my hubby, however don’t get it. Although subscribing to Sports Illustrated has made them read some articles. Oh well!!!

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