Raise your hand if you like to read! Awesome. I love meeting new bookworms.
At the first of the year, I decided my "theme" for this year would be books and reading. I always read, but since my kids were born I haven't really set any reading challenges or added to my book collection.
I have some good reasons for making this the year of books (and knowledge). Also the year of building up my home library.
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I was raised with a LOT of books. And not a lot of rules about what we were supposed to read or not read at any age. My family didn't believe in censorship.
At least twice a month we would take a day as a family and drive all over the county stopping at yard sales, thrift stores and second-hand book shops. We hauled home dozens of books each time, and those were added to the books we also ordered through the mail.
When my parent's house burned in 2002, over 6000 volumes were destroyed. Books we had collected together as a family over the years.
When I moved in with my husband, our house was too small to bring my 300 or so books along. They stayed in my parent's growing new home library. We got a bigger house, but only a few of my books trickled over.
My husband is not a book person, and what with life and all, building the bookshelves has remained at the bottom of the priority list for eight years.
With little room to stuff them, I kept my book collection limited. I even wrote about debating whether or not to just get a Kindle. I opted to bring back my real books instead.
I never bought a Kindle, but I did install the Kindle app on my phone so I could subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. I like being able to read a few digital books on my phone. It's lightweight and convenient (and I can sample some books to see if they are worth owning in physical form.)
But to my kids, it just looks like I'm playing on my phone. My oldest is on her way to becoming an independent reader, and she was very reluctant. Why learn to read a book herself when I could just read it to her? Why read on the tablet or phone when they have games?
Regardless of how they choose to read their books later on, I feel it is important for them to see me enjoying physical books, so they can appreciate them as well.
I live in a little rural pocket of the world that is still stuck somewhere between the 1800's and the 1950's. I know a lot of people who work very hard to keep the community that way, too.
I hear our acquaintances remarking all the time that education "makes people stupid" and "only living a long life makes you smart".
Aaaaand there are a few people that are always bragging about how "dumb they are". It isn't a joke, either. They are proud of the idea of being ignorant. Even if they aren't, they work hard to pretend they are.
This isn't just people who struggled in school trying to make themselves feel better. Some of them have college degrees. And you know they are bright people. So I'm not sure why they think being ignorant is an accomplishment but they actually like to use that word to describe themselves!
Obviously, this isn't a mindset I want my children to pick up. It's one thing to not know something yet. (No one can know everything, after all.) It's entirely different to refuse to learn anything because you want a reputation for being "dumb or simple".
By building up our home library, I'm building a wall of knowledge and imagination ( I hope!) between my kids and the strange ideals floating around our community.
For the first time in years, I allowed myself to go on a book hunt. I dragged my husband to the nearest town that has thrift stores and tested the limits of his patience and love by reading every single title (and most of the blurbs) while he sat on thrift store couches looking pained.
It was worth it though! I didn't find as many books as I hoped, but I found a stack of books that were brand new and have never even been opened.
I also put the word out that I wanted to buy used books that people want out of their way, and had two ladies give me boxes of books they had left over from yard sales. (It was wonderful to meet other book lovers locally!)
I dragged home boxes of my books from my parent's house. (More pained looks from my partner.)
I've added 72 books to my shelf this year so far, bringing my current library up to 600 volumes (not counting children's books). As soon as the rainy weather clears, we will be adding a built in shelf in the living room.
I was going to hide them all away in the bedroom and office to avoid the "friendly" badgering I heard constantly from people when I put my first bookcase in the house. (And to look tidier.)
But on second thought, I decided I LIKE them in the living room.
The first time I hear "What do you want all those stupid books for?" I will simply open the nearest volume and start reading as loudly as possible. :D
Comment below and share your thoughts on books and reading. What is your favorite genre? Do you like keeping your collection at home or do you prefer to borrow or read digitally?
Best book so far: The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen
Weirdest book so far: The House at the Bottom of the Lake by Josh Malerman
Least favorite so far: Fall On Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald
Best Non-Fiction so far: A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf