Please, someone, stop me before I buy/borrow more. Ever since I retired at the end of October, a disease I thought was fairly well controlled has gotten out of hand.
I’ve never waited until I ran out of things to read before going to a bookstore and/or the library. But now, I’m a glazed-eyed addict on a rampage. I actually already own enough books to keep me busy for the rest of my days, assuming some re-reading here and there. Furthermore, this house is significantly under 1400 square feet, and all of the bookshelf room is taken. On my bedside table, books obscure the clock radio, and hang over the edge of the shelf underneath. Other tables and large baskets on the floor throughout the house groan with books and magazines. We recently bought a small side table for the screened porch, and it was covered with reading material in minutes.
We really don’t have this kind of money. Will I have to resort, in my arthritic old age, to mugging old(er) ladies on the street and stealing their purses? Cat burgling is completely out of the question at this stage of life. And speaking of this stage of life, my eyes won’t allow me to read for hours as in days of yore. Nevertheless, I press on, trying fruitlessly to keep the car from turning into the Barnes & Noble parking lot when I’m on Broad Street. Hell, the car will start up and drive to Barnes & Noble if we’re sitting in our own driveway.
Here are just a handful of the books lying about on the top surfaces around the house:
The Best of Adair Lara: Award-winning columns from the San Francisco Chronicle. Haven’t gotten to this yet. I used to love reading her columns when I lived in California.
Given Sugar, Given Salt: Poems, by Jane Hirshfield. (This is a re-read. I got the book off the shelf to find the title poem, which I want to send to a friend. Then I decided to refresh my memory on the whole collection.)
Southern Living magazine, July issue. I plan to make the lemonade iced tea with bourbon. Woohoo.
Evensong, a novel by Gail Godwin. This is a re-read. My new status as a reaffirmed Episcopalian drew me back to the book, because the main character is a married woman who is an Episcopal priest. Also, I’m very fond of Gail Godwin. Haven’t gotten very far into it yet. I note that there is a “reading group discussion guide” at the back of this book. I hate those. I don’t think I would do well in a book club. It reminds me of book reports in grade school. We always had to answer the question “What was the author’s purpose?” When I taught junior high school English, I made sure never to ask that question.
Coop, by Michael Perry, author of Population: 485, which I read and loved. Michael Perry is a guy who grew up on a farm and spent a number of years as a volunteer EMT in the rural area where he grew up. Population: 485 is about that experience. Coop was written after he married, moved to a ramshackle farmhouse on 37 ramshackle acres, and had children. I can’t wait to read this. I would not like living in rural Wisconsin at all, or rural Anywhere, but Perry is such a wonderful and evocative writer that I savor every vicarious moment spent there with him.
Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts. I could make soap. I could make candles. I could make jewelry. I could make 100 different things at least from this book, if only I could pick one to start.
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg. I’ve been reading Molly’s blog “Orangette,” for awhile now. I’ve even made her roasted broccoli with shrimp twice lately. So of course I had to buy the book. I read cookbooks as story anyway, but Molly is right up there with MFK Fischer. Dare I say better?
We haven’t even gotten to the teetering stack on my bedside table. And on the floor next to the bed, where I flang it last night before my eyes slammed shut, is Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. This book is so good, I’m putting up with the teeny tiny typeface. An excellent writer links short stories together with a recurring character who is uncomfortably a lot like the part of me that I try to keep hidden.
Oh, and Sheila reads, too, with an addiction only slightly more controlled than mine. We didn’t even know that when we met up. If either one of us hadn’t been a reader, our 23 years together wouldn’t exist. Shudder to think.