This Holiday Season I am Grateful for: Library Book Club

Or, that time I crashed the Library Book Club Social Hour.

My sister loves reading.  She loves reading in the nicest, purest, most normal way possible.  People of my generation, you, me, lovely book bloggers on the Internet, we love to read in this weird, exhibitionist sort of way: we take pictures of our bookshelves and post them online, we Instagram the books we’re reading, we write essays and post them on our blogs about the books we’ve read, we keep digital lists of the books we’ve read this year, we buy tee shirts with book covers on them, and artistic prints made from the entire text of a beloved novel.  Let’s face it, we are a lovely group of weirdos.  We are over the top in our expression of love for reading, our love for books, storyline, and plot.

My sister, however, is the Unexpected Reader.  Just by looking at her, talking to her, following her social media one wouldn’t think she devours stories, it certainly might surprise some people who know her very well, but she loves books.  And she recently chanced her arm at the public library’s Book Club.  I was flooded with texts about how much fun it was discussing a book with a group of people, how someone told her they were glad she came, that the group needs more “young people”, she saw people there she hasn’t seen in years!  She went back the next month.  I was super proud of her.

December, there was no book.  Instead the book clubbers had a social gathering scheduled.  Even though I’d never been before, my sister invited me and I’m so glad I went.  The woman who runs the book club brought snacks, coffee, tea, and had a fun (nerdy) activity planned for the book clubbers.  She selected newly acquired books from this year, wrapped them in fun paper and wrote their genre on the paper.  She had us each select a couple of books and we went around the circle unwrapping and sharing the book description.  We got a little silly, well, a reserved silly since we didn’t all know each other, and had fun discussing what we thought of the book based on the description.  We chatted a little bit about the ones we knew more about (I had just read about Welcome to Night Vale and what book did I pull?).  Overall, it was a lot of fun.

My sister checked out the book club book for January and we’re planning on both reading it so we can both attend the January meeting (assuming I’m still in the area then).  I am ever so grateful that a) the library has a book club, b) my sister was brave enough to go on her own, and c) she invited me to the party and got me interested.  I’m always complaining that since I left college I have no one to talk books with, and, yet, every month there’s a group of people gathering across town talking books!

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Writing.

I’ve been trying to write at least 1,000 words a day on either story, preferably both that I am currently working on.  One, however, is being handwritten and therefore I’m not too sure how many words at a time I’ve been writing, but if I can get a page or two pumped out at a time then I’m pretty happy.

It’s been difficult since my family joined me on the Cape, but its working out for the most part.  If nothing else I’ve found that I can escape to the Library (with its Internets) and get some uninterrupted work done here.  They don’t care that I’ve been sitting in the same arm chair for four hours occupying the sole power outlet available for public use (I brought a power strip just in case someone else needed it as well); they don’t care that I haven’t eaten lunch; they don’t care that I’m not engaged with the other people around me; they don’t feel like I’m neglecting them.  I love the library.  Suddenly I irrevocably love this tiny little capeside library.  I love the people who work here and I have affection for the other patrons.  I have two movies out still and my ten year old niece got two books.  I returned a book and a dvd the other day.  I plan to take out more books, I plan to spend another four or five hours together in this tiny little building before the summer is over.  I love the fucking library.

A place that relishes in quiet and books, good god, could there be anything more beautiful than the library?

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Confession: I am obsessed with Book Riot

The website Book Riot has been my rock this winter.  Its been keeping me sane and keeping me from watching full series of Veronica Mars and/or Gilmore Girls to keep my mind off the fact that its winter (the Fella and the mild weather have been a great help too, but mostly Book Riot).  Reading the articles from the contributors has been pretty awesome and has sparked many a thoughtful essay in my own Opinionated, Literary Brain.

Most recently: “How I Learned to Stop Hoarding & Give Books Away”

This is, admittedly, a lesson I could learn.  I just got years worth of piles of books up off the floor in my bedroom this past fall by putting together a makeshift bookshelf out of boards and milk crates (I’m such a 90s college student!) and while so many of them are books I love, so many of them are books I will never love.  I mean, does anyone really need the entire Twilight Saga or The Grapes of Wrath or Eat, Pray, Love?

Honestly, yes, someone might; that person just might not be me.

So here I am with all these books I’ve read and didn’t enjoy, or read and am never going to read again, or started to read, got bored and gave up and they’re taking up space on my already overcrowded shelves.  (I also like to think, in the back of my mind somewhere, that these books will be the first ones on my shelves when I open my used bookstore, therefore I shouldn’t get rid of them…)  I can’t honestly say I’m ever going to be able to truly get rid of them.  I’m certain to lend them out to people and not necessarily care if I ever get some of these back, but I really do have trouble actually giving up my books.

It’s a little like the idea of giving up a person.  There are entire worlds within those pages that I would just be discarding and that’s a tough thing to wrap my mind around.  I know I’d be giving them to the library or the local Annie’s or Goodwill or some other charitable place that is sure to find them a good home, but you can’t always be sure; you can’t always know that someone is going to buy them who is going to love them (even though you didn’t).

Sometimes its as if the actual physical book has feelings.  The Material’s used to make a book, however shitty the story, have value.  It’s not the paper and ink’s fault that what they were used for was crappy or a waste of resources.  We can’t blame the materials for being used by a shitty creator.  They don’t deserve rejection just because of what they were used for.  They deserve a home just as much as any other collection of paper, ink, and glue.

It is sentimental and stupid, yes, I know (believe me, my absurdities are not lost on me) but sometimes this is how I think and why I have trouble getting rid of books… or trying to turn them into art.  This is part of the reason I hoard books.

Well, that, and I’m lazy.