I have a vast library that includes volumes that I use to work with, books that I read for entertainment, books that provide spiritual growth, and books that have been passed down to me. A large library is an asset. Since I live out in the country, the public library is not always easily accessible. The library that I frequent most often is about fifteen miles away.
On the day that I volunteer at the hospital I stop to renew books or exchange my books. In between, I read from my own library. In many cases it is easier to buy a new book than to go to the library for one.
People know that I love books so I receive books as gifts. I have even been given gift cards for the book store to make my own selections. I would say that I am an avid reader. I could not always have said that. When I was going to school I only read what I had to read. I have even been known to spot read a book to do a report. Today that would never happen. I get engrossed in my books. It is a great pastime.
I was so engrossed in a book yesterday that I read it off and on even during the football games. Mostly now I read non-fiction or Christian fiction. Of course, the style that I write the most is memoir. I love the stories that allow me to remember the things from my past. I did not lead a charmed life. I am really quite an ordinary person.
People often call or e-mail when the things I write remind them of their past. It does not matter where you grew up, you had chores to do, you had a family, you went to school, and there was a small town nearby. All of these experiences relate to this thing called life.
Patricia Lorenz, a Christian writer, made a list of 5 steps to happiness in a devotional that I read years back. She said you must forgive. You have to worry less most of your worries never come about anyway. Simple living is the key. You have to appreciate what you have. She also suggests that we give more and expect less.
Although these things sound simple, they can be tough. I would suggest that you implement what you feel comfortable with and pray about the rest. My reading plays a critical part in my writing. They go hand in hand.
Back to my personal stash of books. I felt sorry for the book case in my office. It was so full that the books were fairly bursting out. One winter day I hauled out every book and really began to look at them. I evaluated how much they were used. These books in my office were my writing reference books. Some I had not consulted in ages. Some I use regularly. I made piles. One pile was the give-away pile. One pile was the things I needed to keep. One pile was the undecided. I left the cupboard bare for a day while I perused the books making my decisions.
When I put my books back into the cupboard, I had room! Next I attacked the book case in my bedroom. These are my sets of books. While I have read them, I would not discount reading them again so I left that intact. There are also books in boxes that needed my attention.
Some of my books came from my mother. There is a beautiful bird book that I refer to often to identify the birds at the feeder. Of course, that is a keeper. Some books the children gave to their dad. I asked if they would like those back. Two marvelous tractor books and a book about airplanes found new homes.
While things like Kindles are all the rage, I cannot imagine reading an entire book on a computer screen. I get impatient just trying to do research and read that from the computer. If I went that route, I would have a collection of electronic books to deal with. Although they may take up less space, I would have no idea what was in my library.
I have addressed modern electronics before but I cannot say that the books would always be retrievable. Electronics change so quickly that things purchased today are obsolete tomorrow. I fear an electronic book collection would be that way. At least if I still have a hard copy I can read the book any place or any time I please. Some books just do not go out of favor.
For now, although I am still in the "dark ages" according to some, I will continue to read books the good old fashioned way and enjoy the feel of each book.
I remember when my first book was published. I was so excited to see that thing in book form. It felt good in my hand. It was an accomplishment that I will never forget. Nothing can take the place of that wonderful feeling when you see your writing in book form.
I am thinking that maybe I need a new book shelf. I like to have my books handy so that I can grab one when I feel like it. If you forgot how the book ends, it is still a good read. If the book brings you pleasure when you read, it is a good read. I have a collection of books that I read each Christmas season. I never tire of them. This year I even took time to read my own Christmas book because I could no longer remember what stories I had included in it.
For me, books will never be obsolete.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org