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books, books, and more books

August 5, 2011
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I participated in a meme on Facebook that said this week was National Book Week.

It’s National Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56, Copy the 5th sentence as your status. Don’t mention the book. Post these rules as part of your status.

That seemed like as good a reason as any to do a post on books and reading, so I googled “National Book Week” to learn more, but I couldn’t find one that’s going on right now.

I have been reading books since before I started kindergarten. Reading is one of my favorite activities, and probably the one I’ve been doing the longest. When I was in middle school, even though I already read faster than everyone I knew, I had to go through a class for school on speed-reading. So I got faster still. When I was a teenager, I spent my summer vacations at the library as much as I could. I would read in the library all day, bring home a pile of books, read all of them in a day or two, and then go back for more.

I once guesstimated to a friend that I may have read 10,000 books by the time I turned 25.

I was spoiled by the old and new Nichols Libraries in Naperville. I joined our local library in Indianapolis, but the branch closest to our apartment was tiny, and never had any books I liked to read, so I started buying everything I wanted to read, or going without. That gets very expensive very quickly. Also, you run out of room.

In preparation for leaving Indiana, we got rid of a couple of my bookcases because they were falling apart. So I had all the same books, but not enough shelves to put them on. Luckily I purge books fairly regularly, but I continue to have piles of books stacked in various places.

A few months after we moved to Maryland, I joined our local library system, but I didn’t visit any branches until last summer, when the closest branch was open during construction. They were using a tiny adjunct room, but I still discovered lots of interesting books to read, and was quickly re-habituated to the joys of a well-stocked library.

We live equal distances from two branches in the county system, but I mostly go to the larger one. The staff packs three revolving shelf units with books they recommend: one for nonfiction, one for fiction, and one that is seasonal I think. I often get all my books right there. I’ve discovered lots of new authors that way, and learned lots of interesting things.

The Fire Monks book was one of their picks. Spouse is reading it now. He had previously read Stranger Here Below by Joyce Hinnefeld, after I did (also a library staff pick). The book is a fictional account of “sisters, visitors, pilgrims, strangers” in and around Shakertown and Berea in Kentucky.

Because of the great selection of all sorts of books that I expected to like, but also books I was surprised by liking, in the 13 months I’ve been patronizing this library, I have read 245 of their books. (I track books read in LibraryThing.) I have also read non-library books, mostly books I either borrowed or bought.

Books and libraries – yay!!!

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