We tend to think of materialism and a desire to hold on to and collect physical objects as a modern day enigma, one born of mass production and fast fashion. Imagine my surprise when this theme popped up unexpectedly in the strangest of places, the final chapters of The Little House on the Prairie. The book ends dramatically when the Ingalls family finds their homestead, along with a few of their neighbors, is unintentionally but illegally located on Indian Land. Rather than face the soldiers tasked with removing these settlers by force, Pa decides it's best for the family to move along before the soldiers arrive.
While waitlisted for the library’s copy of Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants”, I decided to check out Amy Poehler’s memoir, “Yes Please”. Poehler read her own book for the audio version, so I went into this book eager and excited to learn more about her, only to fall quickly into waiting for the good stuff. Throughout the seven hour audio book, Poehler droned endlessly through random haphazardly ordered stories and long (LONG) lists of all of the people she ever knew. Reading “Yes Please” was like reading a script while it’s still being written and simultaneously like meeting someone interesting at a party only to realize they’re incredibly boring and there’s no polite way to escape.
Spring time means spring cleaning! Everywhere you look lately, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo pops up. It’s been out for a little over 2 years now and still ranks in the Top 30 best sellers on Amazon. It was THE number one selling book on Amazon for quite a while, and no not just books on home organization or self help but number one best seller for the entire book category. Pinterest is on fire with Marie Kondo inspired checklists and tutorials. Bloggers are filling their posts with their own experiences with the method. I first came across the book on a friend’s blog and it wasn’t until after I’d read it and started googling more, that I realized this book was even a thing.
As the one year anniversary of my Grandma's passing creeps slowly closer, I've been drawn subconsciously to all things reminiscent of her. During the months after her passing, I found myself dialing her number on the way home from work to share a funny story or searching in a drawer for the perfect postcard to mail. Catching myself in these moments hurt deeply and I had to delete her phone number from my contacts using my laptop. It felt too intimate, too personal somehow to do this on the phone itself. While these moments have mercifully ceased, the other day, I found myself drawn to a section in the library that held all of the books my Grandma read with me as a little girl.
My absolute favorite children's book of all time is the 1936 classic, The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. My grandmother read it to me as a child and I've read it to Huck as least 1000 times in the last few years. History has it that Leaf wrote the story in a single afternoon as a way to help his friend, Robert Lawson, showcase his artistic talent. The book was a hit, and at $1 per copy the 1938 sales topped those of the ever popular Gone with the Wind. The Story of Ferdinand has never been out of print despite the many political waves this little story has caused.
here was a bookstore in Denver, The Black & Read, that smelled absolutely uh-mazing. As soon as you’d open the door, you’d be hit with a wave of that musty sweet clean bitter slightly pungent odor that only old books exude. They sold records and sci-fi memorabilia too, so the smell there seemed to be overly potent. On rainy days, I liked to pop in there and get lost in the shelves, the book smell lingering in my hair and clothes. As a kid, I only read books that “smelled good”, re-shelving the antiseptic smelling new books in favor of those with a “good smell”. This method led to some seriously fantastic reads. My logic at 8 was that a book with a strong bookish aroma is usually well read, meaning it’s a book worth reading.
My son, who we'll call Huck in this blog, LOVES story time and was very disappointed that Mommy couldn't read him his favorite books while driving him to school in the morning. I attempted a few "from memory" recitations, which never quite hit the mark, before remembering my brother and I having several books on tape that we would sit and listen to over and over and over and over again. On our next library visit, we found the "reading kits" which contain the book for the child to read and the cd for them to listen. We picked out several and headed home. The ride home (and all subsequent car rides for the next week) was awesome, until it became apparent we were going to listen to the same 5 min story 15 times for each car ride. Cue the Nancy Drew audio book in the wrong location.
This weekend, I went on a bit of a book bender and read The House By the Lake and Everything We Keep. A historical fiction that bounces between pre-WWII Europe and San Francisco, The House on the Lake was a quick, if not totally satisfying, read.
Libraries have always been my favorite places. They're always cozy, warm, welcoming, and quiet. You can't help but feel smarter when you walk into a library. There's just something inspiring about those huge wooden book cases packed neatly with rows and rows of books and the quiet calm voices people only use at the library, the smell of old musty paper and the sun shining into the room in big strips. Entering a library is like coming home after a long walk in the snow.
I'm Rubecca, a self-professed bookworm and beer enthusiast. As a kid, my dream job was to get paid to read, edit and write newspaper book reviews. While that didn't pan out, the universe compensated by tossing me right into the middle of an amazingly well read group of friends....who also enjoy sharing what they've read over a good beer. Sound good? Grab something to drink and pull up a chair, I've been waiting for you!