Books, books, books!

June 05,2009
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath( )

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

For the better part of last year I've been hoarding books. I don't tend to buy my books from a bookstore, unless a new book I am dying to read and/or just must get my hands on (like these guilty pleasures, for instance) comes out and then I have to head to the store pronto. I love bookstores, don't get me wrong--I love the smell of them, the sounds of a bookstore, the joy of wandering around aisles and ogling all the shiny covers, with the hidden stories inside, waiting to unflod. But I buy most of my books from my favorite thrift store. Not all thrift stores sell good books--many thrift stores are littered with torn paperbacks, self-help books, and trashy novels. But the thrift store I love can yield a treasure-trove of good, hardcover books. Just the other week I found this one, for a mere $1 brand-new, with the receipt still tucked inside. What was the story behind that book? How did it end up, brand-new, receipt inside, on the shelves of that thrift store? I bought it, of course, and gave it a home. Even though I'm still teaching this summer, my course load is significantly lighter than it is during the year. I have the gift of time--a whopping 30-45 minutes during T.'s swim team practice, or in the evening, before I get too sleepy. I've been taking my hoarded books out, one-by-one, and reading them. When I'm done I find a special place for them on our bookshelves in the guest room. I've loaned out one or two to friends, and they've been handing me some in return. I feel rich and satisfied--the rich feeling you can only get when you've been hoarding books, and the satisfied feeling you get when you finish one, and know there's a pile more waiting for you. ************ Some of the parents at our pool have decided we'll start a book swap/club of sorts this summer--we'll share titles, favorites, and actual books. I love this idea. For years now I've been getting book titles and recommendations virtually, from my many friends in the internet world, and from essential reading lists like this one, and places like this one. So I thought I'd start a virtual book club of sorts and keep you updated on some of my favorite reads. Here's my hoard, so far, and I just keep on adding to it: My hoard And my take on the ones I've read so far: Packer cover Even though some reviews said this book was "boring" and they "slogged" through it, I liked it--it's the perfect summer read. I thought it was moving, and interesting and very definitely worth the time. Gorilla cover I was so excited when I found the above book at my thrift store, since I had been wanting to read it for awhile. It's good--a wonderful portrait of the strength of the human spirit, and a fascinating look at a woman's journey through autism. Anne Tyler I love Anne Tyler. I love this book. Enough said. Wolf at the Table Augusten Burroughs, Wolf at the Table You can read my take on his book here--just scroll down. Please post some of your own recent reads, too--I know you've got some good ones! Happy reading and...happy weekend!