I am writing these posts in no particular order, in case someone was wondering why today’s post comes before one about my daughter, or any of the other important people in my life. Although, if I’m going to be honest, books are as important to me as many of the people I know, and much more important to me than some. Anne Lamott wrote, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you,” and that pretty much perfectly fits me.
And it always has. My parents say I have loved books since I was tiny, memorizing them and “reading” them aloud to other people, and demanding that books be read to me by the hour. I devour books. My husband complains that my collection takes up a disproportionate amount of space on our shelves, and he’s right–three of our four bookshelves are almost totally taken up by my books, and that’s not counting the boxes in the attic, those still in storage at my parents’, or the ones I have sold to make room for new ones. I read and re-read and am constantly on the lookout for new things. My husband teases me about the giant bags I carry, because books are also like a security blanket for me, and I always have at least one in my bag, tucked in right beside my notebook. You never know when you are going to have a few seconds to fly through a couple of paragraphs–waiting in line, stopped at stoplights, during stupid commericals. My books ensure that I am never bored.
Despite my constant hunger for new books, I have become more selective about the ones I’ll buy. Even on Amazon, books are expensive now (and I thought my Baby-Sitters Club books were expensive at $3.95 when I was a kid–ha!), and I am unwilling to spend the money unless I’m sure the book will be good. So I tend to collect authors–Silas House, Joshilyn Jackson, and Pat Conroy are a few fiction writers on my mind right now.
Fiction has traditionally been my favorite, but I’m also finding a lot of nonfiction capturing my imagination lately. I read quite a bit of travel writing, biography, and Christian inspiration, but mostly it’s books about writing and teaching–or both together. Don’t Quit Your Day Job is a collection of essays I’ve been reading as quickly as I can. It’s about writers and the jobs they had before becoming full-time writers (it has essays by Pat Conroy, Joshilyn Jackson, and Silas House!), and is absolutely beautiful, with essays both touching and hilarious. It’s been keeping me good company while I’m sick, and too tired and weak to move off the couch. For teaching books, I like Tom Romano, Ralph Fletcher, Donalyn Miller, Penny Kittle, Donald Murray (the link is to the NWP’s tribute to him) and too many others to name.
I could go on all day about books and authors I love and who have touched me and changed me, and I’ve tried to start keeping up with them on my goodreads page. They are my long-time companions and friends, and I have no idea who I would be without them.