Bookshelves

I follow a number of bloggers, mostly general interest, some cooking blogs. Interestingly, I only follow one book blogger, and hers might have been the first blog I signed up to follow. I know almost nothing about the blogger, not even her real name.  She writes very little about her personal life. I think she lives in Australia, and I know she gravitates towards psychological thrillers.

And the last thing I know about her is that she must spend every waking moment of every single day with her nose in one of those thrillers. How do I know how much she reads? Because she writes a post almost every single day in which she reviews a book. I read a lot, but I couldn’t post a book review every day. Her taste in books is very different from mine, so there have only been a couple of occasions in which I have read a book based on her recommendation. Still, I’m impressed by the amount she reads.

But a recent post of hers struck home. Her posts rarely deviate from a book review, but on this occasion, she wrote about her love of book stores. Her first line, in fact, states that there is no place in which her hearts sings more than in a book store.

Book lovers will undoubtedly be able to identify with that feeling. I know I do.

When I still worked hard for a living, I often spent my lunch hour perusing the book stacks at Denver’s amazing locally-owned bookstore The Tattered Cover, which was near my office. They have a little lunch counter where you could buy a sandwich and an M&M cookie (one of my secret pleasures), and I could nibble my sandwich while looking at the newly published hardback books or books that were newly published as paperbacks. Often I would buy a paperback book that appealed to me, but more often than not, I would dig in my purse for my tablet and a pen, and write down the names of books that caught my eye so that I could look for them at the library.

I always anticipated that at some point, a Tattered Cover employee would to come over, grab my little tablet, tear out the sheet on which I’d written the book titles, and shred it into little tiny pieces, saying, “How on earth do you think we can continue to make a living if people like you don’t buy the books?”

It never happened.  But I really do wonder how book stores make a living these days where so many people – me included – read entirely using an e-reader. I haven’t read a book made out of paper in probably three years. Bill and I have a running joke. Whenever we see a person reading an actual book, we look at one another with obvious puzzlement in our eyes and say, “What is that weird-looking thing that person is holding?” We are hilarious.

I know that many bookstores have gotten into the business of selling e-books along with paper books. But I would bet that Amazon has cornered the market on e-books with their Kindle books. Heck, if I find a book I want, I can buy it by pressing a single button on my iPad, and within minutes, that book is in my library.

When I think about how Bill hauled the box of books in and out of our car trunk every time we would change locations when we were on our big European adventure, I cringe. God bless him. When we embarked on our journey, I promised him that I would read the book, and then leave it behind. Voila! We would end up with an empty box at the end of the trip! I did that occasionally, but more often I thought, “I might want to read that book again,” and back it would go into the box, along with the two or three other books that I bought at an American book store I stumbled upon in Rome or Barcelona or Paris. Again, God bless him; he never complained.

As time goes by, I am less inclined to keep all of the books that now take up a full wall of bookshelves in our bedroom, and a half of a wall of bookshelves in our family room. I rarely look at a single book, which have just become dust collectors. Still, all those years of collecting the entire Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie…..

book-shelf

By the way, I still enjoy going into book stores, because not many things can make me happier than seeing a display full of reading options. But I still bring along my tablet and pen. That book store employee is bound to strike at some point. Tick tock.

This post linked to the GRAND Social

Thursday Thoughts

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Lon Chaney, Jr. stars as the werewolf in 1941 Wolf Man. He doesn’t use a laser hair removal system.

She-Wolf
As I drove to meet Court for lunch yesterday, I was listening to Christmas music on Denver’s easy listening radio station. An advertisement came on, and it was one of those testimonial commercials, this one from a woman. This particular commercial was for a laser hair removal system for women. The gist of it was something along these lines: Our lives are so busy what with getting kids to and from school and practices and performances, keeping up with house work, and doing our paid jobs. Our busy lives result in so much stress. So use this hair removal system to lessen the stress in your lives. And then, friends, she went on to enthusiastically proclaim, “Ladies, using this product has literally freed up at least a half hour every day.” I nearly drove off the road. Seriously? She spends 30 minutes a day shaving her legs and plucking her eyebrows? Is she a werewolf? I bet I don’t spend 30 minutes a MONTH on hair removal. And that’s counting haircuts!

Would You Like a Cherry on Top?
And speaking of Court, he told me a funny story at lunch. Night before last, Alyx was working (she drives Uber). Court said the kids had all had their baths and were in their jammies. They were making a batch of a cranberry/pomegranate salad with marshmallows and homemade whipped cream that the kids – and Kaiya in particular – like. They were all sitting on the countertop (well, actually, Court probably wasn’t), when suddenly Cole fell off of the counter onto their kitchen floor. He was unhurt, though it scared the daylights out of him. But the funny part was that he had been holding onto the bowl of whipped cream, and the cream ended up all over him as he lay on the ground crying. I asked Court if he had a picture. He didn’t because he was too busy comforting a crying 2-year-old and cleaning up a big whipped cream mess.  Priorities, Son. If he had had the good sense to record such an activity, it could have been a winner on You Tube. Another bath was in order.

Book Avalanche
I have mentioned that I read exclusively using my Kindle app on my iPad. I also rarely buy a book. Instead, I borrow e-books from the library. Since I am a member of two libraries – Mesa Public Library and Denver Public Library – there is rarely a book I can’t find as long as I’m willing to wait. There is almost always a wait list, especially for newer books. But I don’t mind because I’m retired and am generally not in a hurry. For a few months, however, I have been eagerly awaiting for my turn on quite a few books. In the meantime, I have had the need to purchase a couple of books until such time that it would become my turn. Which, of course, it did……and at the same time. For the past few weeks, nearly every day I have gotten a message that such-and-such a book was ready to be downloaded. I seriously currently have five books that I have downloaded, and one that is available but I haven’t yet downloaded. Denver Public Library allows borrowers to keep an e-book three weeks, but Mesa Public Library only allows two weeks. So I have been madly reading. I have had to lose a couple of books, because even being retired, I can only read so much. I need my beauty sleep and I have to cook meals once in a while.

Must See TV
So, I am absolutely HOOKED on This is Us, the truly wonderful drama that is on NBC on Tuesdays nights. If you haven’t watched it yet, please treat yourself and do so. (Admittedly, you should start at the beginning because it follows a sequence.) There isn’t an episode at which I haven’t shed a tear. And not really from sadness, but only from the beautiful family dynamics that take place. I really love all of the characters, but am most drawn to the dad in the flashback scenes. Fellow viewers: isn’t he just the most wonderful dad you could ever imagine? What beautiful writing, such lovely stories, and such tremendous acting. Such a welcome relief from programs such as How to Get Away With Murder, which has not one redeeming quality, truly evil characters, and such darkness. And yet, I can’t seem to stop watching it because Viola Davis is such an amazing actor. I have promised myself, however, that after I watch these last few episodes, I will not record it from now on. I don’t need such darkness in my life.

Ciao.

 

40 Days

I have barely put away the Christmas wrapping paper. I mean that. Just the other day I put the last roll of wrapping paper bearing the images of reindeer and Santa into my bedroom closet (which is the Place Where Everything That Doesn’t Belong in the Garage Goes to Live).

And here it is – Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent. The first of 40 days and 40 nights (or so) of sacrifice and prayer in preparation for Christ’s death and resurrection. Put away my Christmas stuff, give a brief shout-out to Valentine’s Day, and start crocheting bunnies, all within about a two week period.

Every year (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning) I give great thought to how I’m going to live my Lent. From the time I was a little girl of 7 (the so-called Age of Reason in the Catholic Church), I have “given up” something to show God how deeply appreciative I am of Christ’s sacrifice. Because not eating chocolate and dying a painful death on the cross are so much alike.

As a little girl, I always gave up desserts. That actually wasn’t that much of a sacrifice since Mom rarely made us dessert and we always gave ourselves Sundays off. As Charlie Sheen would say, “Wow. Winning.” But that wasn’t as bad as the year that Court, probably about 10 at the time, announced he was giving up chicken for Lent. He didn’t like chicken then and isn’t a big fan now. I put the nix on that idea very quickly. That was probably the beginning of Court’s spiritual plunge.

I love the gospel of St. Matthew read at Ash Wednesday Mass.

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door. And pray to your Father in secret. When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance so that they may appear to others to be fasting. When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you may not appear to be fasting.

imagesIt gives me pause, and the reason is that I always wonder if I’m being a hypocrite when I start talking about what Big Thing I’m going to do for Lent. Perhaps I should just keep it to myself.

But I write a blog, and I’m certain you are all interested.

I recently read something on Facebook which said something like could you live in a cabin in the woods for 30 days with no access to your phone, your computer, your television, your iPad, or any other type of technology.

Pfff, I thought. Of course I could. As long as I can read a book, er, on my iPad. And as long as I can check Facebook every day (well, a few times a day). And as long as I don’t have to miss Downton Abbey or American Idol.

Ok, so maybe I couldn’t do it for 30 days, but maybe I could do it for one day. One day a week. One day a week for five weeks.

So, that’s my challenge. I am giving up all technology one day a week for Lent. I will post my blog on the Day of No Technology, but will then shut off my computer until the next morning. And my phone. And my iPad (except to read since all my books are ebooks).

And no sweets, every day, even on Sundays. For old times’ sake.

Yikes.