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
What good books are you reading?