Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Library Love

I have posted many times about my love for the library or given out lists of books that I am currently reading. It's a topic that I don't tire of easily.

As I have been doing more household de-cluttering recently, I was struck again by how many books that we own and don't ever read again. I may have gotten impulsive and ordered a few from Amazon...or bought ten more books at the thrift or library book sale because they looked interesting and were a "great deal"...or they were gifts or hand-me-downs from others. In any case, unless I want to buy yet MORE bookshelves (which I really don't want to do as I seek to live more simply!), I have to get rid of a lot of these. And let's face it, there are truly VERY FEW that are worth keeping to re-read or lend out to others to read.

And the thought struck me, "why do I feel the need to own all of these books when I have a lovely public library down the road where I can 'test-drive' books for FREE?" I don't have to store them, organize them, or dust them off. They come in my door, are enjoyed, and sent back for others to enjoy. It's a wonderful form of "sharing" and not hoarding. It teaches me to be patient and wait for a book to be available and not to purchase it impulsively. It frees up space in my home.

And my kids read the library books with freshness and exuberance yet look at their own shelves full of books with a glazed look of boredom. Could I pair down all of our children's books to just the "best of the best" and let the rest go? I am beginning to think that less is more even when it comes to beloved books.

To make our library experience simpler for our large family, we try to go every other week. With two in school, two at home, and a busy husband, I have decided that it's more meaningful for us to have a family trip to the library every few weeks instead of just me and two of the kids going in the mornings (and let's face it, my mornings at home are precious to me so I guard against outside time!) This allows Mike to get a chance to find some books for himself and model to his sons a love for learning. It also gives me an opportunity to peruse for a few minutes without a toddler under my feet :) Late Sunday afternoons work nicely for us or a late weekday afternoon when Mike gets home from work.

We try to keep a rule of sorts that every child only gets three books at a time...this keeps the scramble to find them and turn them back in so much easier for me. We also keep a centralized "library book basket" in our living room where all library books are to be kept. Each child has their own library tote bag but we usually end up putting all of the books into my big red canvas bag.

And now for the books I have been recently reading:

The Lighthouse by Eugenia Price. This was my book club's selection for this month and it was easy-to-read, enjoyable historical fiction. Perfect vacation read. I am now starting the second book in this St. Simon's Trilogy...New Moon Rising.

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. This book is right up my alley because it speaks to so many themes that I love...women friendships, crafting, community and bearing each other's burdens. It's not a page-turner, but I love coming back to it every day because of the realness of each character's struggle and search to figure out life...and doing that in the context of friendships and knitting.

A Slice of Organic Life by Sheherazade Goldsmith. I just picked this up on Sunday and am so excited about it. It's published by DK so it's full of photos and EASY to pick up and read/understand. The book is a back-to-the-basics primer to beginning a more organic, simpler lifestyle. Some of the topics include:
  • grow salad leaves in a window box
  • support local businesses
  • nourish skin naturally
  • make and freeze baby foods
  • give eco presents
  • make compost in a small space
  • keep urban honey bees
  • plant vegetable in a "square foot" garden
  • make organic drinks
  • grow flowers for cutting
  • make summer fruit jam
  • keep some chickens
There are so many more topics than just these...just giving you a taste :) This book will give your creativity a spark as to how to make more simple, small choices that make a big impact on the environment, your health, and your quality of living.

What good books are you reading?


Andrea said...

Love this post!!
My weakness is books for sure.
i say that I "collect" books....i really do!!
I don't know if I will stop doing that--it makes me happy. And I love having lots of bookshelves with lots of books. =)
I love that you love women friendships, crafting, community and bearing one anohter's burdens. Girl you are my kind of girl!! But I already knew that.

laurel said...

I haven't read Eugenia Price in years, but I remember loving her work and have meant for some time to revisit her. I love her books are set in Savannah and St. Simons...just down the road from me, which always makes them even more enjoyable.
That last book sounds very good, I will have to see if my library has it. Fun post, Aimee!

lorraine uk said...

hi, i have just started reading Christ the Lord,the road to Cana by anne Rice,i too have ordered from amazon and am waiting on , the red tent and a christian book on living in thw seasons.
Hope you enjoy yours x

flo said...

I love this post also!

Honestly, this has given me courage. I have been thinking about all the books we have too- some I really wouldn't miss parting with. I have been so good at minimizing, but not in the area of books. I guess I could find reasons, especially that we're homeschooling. But yeah, I have those moments, especially when we visit the "Big Library" downtown, and now that my mind is set on moving again.

I just requested A Slice of Organic Life. Thanks:)

flo said...

And oh. I recently got Better Basics for the Home (not available in our library). If it's just for the body cream recipe that's so simple to make, it's worth the purchase.

Missus Wookie said...

This is so true - we've got our book collection down by everyone going through each shelf in turn.

Does your library do online account access and ordering? I love those facilities and willingly pay the 80p to request a book when it is recommended.

Lisa said...

I'm a bookaholic myself. My husband got me a Kindle for Valentine's Day and I'm hoping it curbs my impulsive book buying as well. I'm reading Gone With The Wind again. I haven't read it since becoming a parent which I find changes what I take from an old favorite. I just finished The Middle Place, too. Excellent, thought provoking book.

Jodz said...

Oh. That organic one sounds good. I too love to read. Thank you for again reminding me that I DO have a library and should visit more often.

kelli said...

I LOVE this post!!

I am a collector of good literature as well, and I love building my library! My girls love a mix of our books and library books...as do I!

We have weekly library trips and keep our library books in a "library basket" too:)

I just checked our library for A Slice of Organic Life...not there:(.

I've been recently thinking about starting a crafting/chatting group. A place to share while crafting of some sort. I haven't read The Friday Night Knitting Club, but I plan on seeing if my library has it...sounds like it's right up my alley:)

Thanks for a great post!!

Karri said...

I too LOVE books, but I agree that "less is more" sometimes. About a year ago I gave away about half of my books and I don't miss them - they served me well and now are serving others. Recently, I've been reading "Living Simple" and really been enjoying it. Thanks for sharing I'm going to check out "A Slice of Organic Life."

debbie bailey said...

I've built more bookcases in the past to house my growing collection. I've even gone along the top of the wall and had a shelf built around the room. I finally did decide to get rid of some books. It really hurt! But the first time was the worst. I find it easy now to toss books I know I'll never read again.

I started rereading A Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh yesterday. I was needing her wisdom for some issues in my life. It will be about my sixth reading of that great book.

I also am reading Forward from Here by Reeve Lindbergh, Anne's daughter. She's not as elegant a writer as her mother but still enjoyable. I'm finding much to identify with as she talks about getting older and the different issues THAT brings.

I've read all of Engenia Price. It was so much fun to go to St. Simons Island and find the graves of her characters in the little churchyard there.

Great post!

Hilty Sprouts! said...

I have been taking my 3 year old son to the library every friday afternoon after we drop off my daughter at kindergarten. It has been so much fun! He sits and plays with puzzles and looks at books while I get a little mommy time looking at grownup books. We have a very tiny library in our rural community but you would be surprised by the selection and I can always order books in from other area libraries.
I picked up The Shack this week but haven't started it yet. I'm curious about it given the mixed reviews out there. It seems that you either love it or hate it.



I looked at "A Slice of Organic Life" while sitting at Barnes and Noble a while back and I remember thinking I really liked it. I was especually drawn to the part about growing your veggies inside and on making baby food. (for I have started collecting recipes for that) I am just curious...did you make food for your babies and how long did you breastfeed? (assuming you breastfeed)...sorry off topic. The books I have been reading are "The Creative Family" by Amanda Soule..I love it!!!!...and whenever I take a bath I read a little more of "eat pray love," for it sits in the bathroom :)

Susan L said...

Library freak here, too. Love this post, and I love your list. I will definitely look for A Slice of Organic Life (thank you!). I'm reading several raw books, and a stack of books (from the library) on simplicity-- some of them cool and helpful and some of them kind of way out there radical and wacky.


Ann Kroeker said...

I was just thinking about growing lettuce in a windowbox or lightbox. Yum.

Also, I read the Eugenia Price series several years ago--she sucked me in. Her love of place was so strong. Made me want to move to the southeast...but I already wanted to live in the southeast. Near the coast. All that history...all that ocean...all that warmth...all that *shrimp*....

Hooray for the love of libraries, books and reading!

Ann said...

Library for me too, although hubby always buys me books as presents so I can't complain. Currently reading Ellen MacArthur's autobiography (book group read this month was coose an autobiography, and this is inspiring stuff) The Book of Story Beginnings - K Kladstrup (a teenage book, trying to find suitable ones for no 1 son) Harry Potter with no's 2&3 and Discovering France (lived ther for 5 years in my twenties so Valentine's pressie from hubby - yippee)
Probably more half read lying around need to go read now!

Aimee said...

Oh Andrea, you are my kind of girl too :)

Laurel and Debbie, I always think of y'all as I read Eugenia Price b/c I know you live near all those wonderful places :)

Missus Wookie, yes, I request books online (when I see one on a blog that looks interesting I open a new tab for my library and check to see if they have it and I request it!). When we lived in Orlando they would MAIL the book to you!!

Kelli, I host a monthly crafting/chatting night at my home and love it :) Start one too!! :)

Stephanie, I breastfed my first two children for 7 months each, my third child for a year, and my fourth child for two years!! This baby will probably be in the 1-2 year range too :) With every child I have, it just seems to get sweeter cuz I have RELAXED :) I made my own babyfood with my last child...I just lightly steamed veggies and then pureed them in the blender with a bit of water. I buy the big glass jars of unsweetened applesauce too. My kids very quickly ate our table food though...just chopped itty bitty! :)

Ann Kroeker, you must move down here :) It is quite blissful indeed :) You just have to be willing to put up with humidity! And I'll fix you some good ol' shrimp and grits!!!

Ann, husbands who speak the book love language are the best :)

To the rest of you, I love hearing what you are reading and can't wait to add some of them to my list!

tonia said...

how funny. i picked up "slice of organic life" at the library last week and have been oohing and aahing over the pics. :)

we don't have a good library in our county, so i pay to use the big city library and drive an hour once a week to check things out. library day is always an exciting day around here! *grin*

kelli said...

Just got your comment about the dishwasher...thank you! We've decided on a Kitchenaid, and we're planning on going to Lowe's to buy it tomorrow:)

There are a few different models. Does the door of your have an actual, horizontal handle, or do you slide your fingers under and pull? (does that make sense??)

Also...are the buttons on the outside of the machine or on the top ledge of the door?

One last thing...do you have the power scrubbers in the back? They're blue, round jets used to concentrate on a single dish.

Thank you SO much!

On another note...I'd love to hear more about your craft/chat night sometime!

kelli said...

Ok...one last question, and I'll be done talking dishwashwers:)

I know exactly which model you have. We've seen it at 2 Sears' stores and at Lowe's. On all 3 that we've seen, the door seems really hard to shut. We're wondering if it's just because they're not fully installed.

Have you had any trouble with your door or the latch?

Again...thank you for your help!! It helps to talk to someone who actually has the machine we're looking at!

Clair said...

Well, I agree that using the library is way better than owning books...I can minimize how many books I keep on the shelf. But I also like giving books to kids as gifts. I am reading a three book series by T. Davis Bunn, Florian's Gate, The Amber Room, and The Winter Palace. I read them when I was in college or shortly after and am now rereading them.

vintagechica said...

Oh boy...books are my guilty pleasures. I mean it could be worse, but I dont know how many books Ive bought, read them, and then thought "now, why did I buys THAT!"

Anonymous said...

My weakness is books too! I am trying your starter today... and will let you know how it goes. :)

Thanks ... love your blog.

Our library here... is so very small. We have to do ILL... and it takes so long.


Catherine said...

Hi Aimee! I'm a big fan of libraries too - and I loved your suggestions to make it a simple experience.

Thanks for this post!

Catherine said...

Oh wow! I don't believe it! I just saw that you are an ENFP - so am I! Don't think I've ever met another one (whose known what it meant, anyway). So, do you live in the land of possibilities, too?!

Hooray for ENFPs!

Jo said...

Love the "library book basket" idea, I am going to try that. Libraries are the best!!
I am currently reading 'Bringing up boys', and learning lots!!!

randi said...

We are library crazy too! I haven't bought a book in a long time simply because we don't really read them twice. I do have some reference books and some bible study books, but that is about it---except for all of the homeschool books!

I do wish I had a 3 book limit for my kids. We check out way too many!

Katrina said...

Another great post, Aimee! You've definitely whet my appetite for a slice of organic life! I'm gonna have to check if our library has it. I, too, love to go to the library for the very reasons you've mentioned. It's so great to see the kids excited about books!

Anna said...

I just started reading the Friday Night Knitting Club based on your recommendation. I love it! Thanks!

Lynn said...

Hi Aimee,
This is my first time visiting. I came via Ann Kroeker's book, Not So Fast, where your blog is mentioned in the back section. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all your posts on books :) I'm a fellow book-lover, and it seems like our taste in books is very similar. Thanks for sharing about the titles you've enjoyed. Have a happy day!