All those books...and more

Writing a book doesn't mean you stop reading, but rather you might find yourself, or oneself, reading more.  In fact, many writers recommend that the best way to learn how to write is to "read."  I echo that recommendation, but also one need know which books to read and when.  Of great import is  whether you already own the book before rushing off to the bookstore to buy another.

With that in mind, I rediscovered Library Thing, when I was in Pittsburgh for the holidays and yesterday I started logging in my own stacks of books. 

After listening to Diane Rehm's hour long show on "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant" by Anne Tyler, I went home nearly certain but in some doubt whether (a) I read it, and (b) I had it.  Thus far, I can't confirm either as I have only gotten to the third shelf of numerous bookcases with multiple bookshelves. 

When I lived in New York and Providence, all my books were alphabetized by subject, mostly fiction, but here at Little Wagner I have books in three rooms, all cradled into smaller footage and hence not so methodically housed.  The only area of clarity is poetry with a bookcase of its own in the living room. 

But even among that lot of poetry books, I have books on or about writing and nearly repurchased "Writers and their Notebooks," Margaret Atwood's "Negotiating with the Dead," and "Reading Like a Writer" which Kelly McMasters had recommended and which I had bought at her now extinct bookshop Moody Road Studios.  I then neglected the books and the shop.  I suppose I am partially responsible for not having a proper bookseller in the county as I didn't buy more than half a dozen books at Moody Road.  Sigh!

Then in the middle of cataloging the books, one shelf tumbled down on another, and now I am surrounded by books, all out of order, and screaming to be eaten as Ray Bradbury declared in Fahreheit 451:

I ate them like salad, books were my sandwich for lunch, my tiffin and dinner and midnight munch. I tore out the pages, ate them with salt, doused them with relish, gnawed on the bindings, turned the chapters with my tongue! Books by the dozen, the score and the billion. I carried so many home I was hunchbacked for years. Philosophy, art history, politics, social science, the poem, the essay, the grandiose play, you name ’em, I ate ’em.
And on this last day of 2014, with resolutions in the air and snow on the ground, I'd much rather write or eat a book in this celestial garden

Patrick Leigh Fermor summer home

then think about writing in long janes, a heavy sweater, and a vest, fluffy socks on my feet and lined Merrills.

Happy New Year to all, and to all a good day!


  1. Happy new year from our house to yours, wishing you health, happiness and long holidays.

    I love the Bradbury quote. Books are being devoured in our house at this time of year too. J has inherited out love of books and will happily amuse himself 'reading' for a while. I hope that it continues as he grows.

    Best of luck on the reorganisation - it sounds like a big job probably with lots of distractions as you rediscover old friends amongst the titles.

    1. Lisa, happy New Year to you and yours.

      The books are crying for being homeless as I try to settle them in. :)