Saturday, May 24, 2014


I came back from my "tempo run" this morning, getting ready to head out again for yard sales, and I realized what a funny snapshot of my life there is, sitting on my bedroom shelves.

Most people don't keep running shoes and bike shoes next to their books, I know.  But it works for me.

I'm a voracious reader, but I also hate accumulating stuff.  So most of the books that I read I get from the library and return when I'm done.  The few books I keep around the house are the ones that I want for specific purposes.

For example, I have stacks of books that I give away to friends and students -- I'm a bit of a frugal prosthelytizer.   Hence the three copies of the "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" (next to a pair of running shoes I picked up for $2 at a thrift store).  On top of the stack of CTG is a copy of Speed Cleaning, which my friend TL just returned after I loaned it to her.
I like to sneak in poetry therapy at random times, and somehow I just can't seem to store these books as far away as our public library.  So I have a whole shelf of poetry (next to a pair of shoes I snagged for free).  Robert Frost and I recently got to spend some quality time together; I'm going to try to have a little snuggle with Ogden Nash and Wendy Cope in the near future.

In the corner, there are three semi-carefully organized stacks.  Top left, there are the books I rescued from other peoples' discard piles that I figured I might like to read.  They'll accompany me on my next long trip, and I can pass them along to someone else.  Next to that, a small math/science stash of books and toys.  (For obvious reasons, most of my math books are at my office, not at home).

Below that are philosophy/theology/self-help books (although, somehow Lake Woebegone snuck in where it doesn't belong.  How'd that happen?).  The big fat red book --- Les Miserables --- counts as self-help/philosophy, because if I could be any character from any part of literature, it would be the Bishop.  

Rounding out the tour, to the right of my bike shoes are stacks of classic comic books: Pogo (top shelf) and Mafalda (lower shelf). I also have couple of novels in Spanish that I had read while I was in college. I think I just keep those around to pretend that I could still read them if I want.  

Even though this is an interesting (maybe even voyeuristic) snapshot of my life, there's so much missing from this stack, it's funny.  You'd never know from looking at my shelves that I've read every single book Agatha Christie ever wrote; you wouldn't suspect my Tom Clancy or John Grisham phases.

Which goes to show, I suppose, that our lives can be rich and full even if we don't hang on to the souvenirs that come with every experience.   I'm feeling happy about my shelves this morning!

No comments:

Post a Comment