Books books book

Let’s take a break in the kvetching and talk about books.  I love books.  I, thankfully, love my local library, so I can afford to read all the books my little heart desires, but despite that, I still live in a house full of books.  There is a bookcase in basically every room of the house.  Except for the bathrooms, and our bedroom, but those rooms all have at least a stack of books sitting there.  They are roughly sorted: J and YA books in the guest bedroom, more YA and some poetry in the upstairs hallway, my antique books in the main floor hallway, sports and war in the basement, craft books and journals in the craft room, baby books in Jess’s room, and a library with 5 bursting bookshelves.  A ton of them were bought as discards at the library, a handful at airports.  Very few of the fiction books, outside some beloved CanCon, are new, or at least, bought at full price.  (I’m cheap that way.)

Post university, I moved 5 times in a little over 6 years, and each time, winnowed the book collection, but I can’t help myself – it’s still huge.  There is all sorts of stuff.  There are a few shelves of the more interesting textbooks and other fun non fiction books.  A whole row of Lonely Planet destinations.  Shelf after shelf of cookbooks, including some delightful ones from 1920 and 1970.  Every Calvin and Hobbes cartoon ever published.  Magzines purchased around the world on vacations.  More than half of Terry Pratchett’s work.  The entire James Bond collection.  More hockey books than you can imagine.  Multiple editions of my favourite YA books (primarily Tamora Piece and Gordon Korman.)  David’s Star Trek novel collection.  My teenage sci-fi and fantasy books (Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey).  The bulk of the antique books are various editions of the Bobbsey Twins books – the first books I ever loved – plus some delightful random old books (Impatient Virgin, Jane: Stewardess of the Air Lines).  I love them.  I love them all.  Every year I’m offered an e-reader for Christmas, and every year I refuse, because I love books.  The physical tangible form, the smell, the way they feel in your hand, the way the paper changes over the decades, the weight, the look, the fonts, the covers.  Everything about them.  Which is why we own so many of them.

You can probably tell from the pictures that we also use bookshelves for our stuff.  The camels I bought in the Middle East patrol the travel shelf.  About half the glass paperweights are ones I made during a glass blowing workshop.  (The good ones mostly belonged to my grandparents.)  The small stuffed animals are from various trips David and I have taken together.  The fossil is from work, as is the plaque, while the troll was brought back for me by my grandparents from Scandinavia 20 years ago.  Wooden eggs from my dad’s best friend, brought back for the USSR in the 80s.  Memories made tangible, basically, and also things that are just cool.  Bit of life, I guess.

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Jess has a lot of book already – I will admit to buying books for future hypothetical babies since university.  What, Sandra Boyton books for 50 cents is a steal!  And retro golden books are fun.  And how could I not buy the complete adventures of Frog and Toad?  My family baby shower was a book shower, so I got a ton more books then. Including my personal favouite: the Mr Men series.  My grandparents used to have a bunch of them, and when we broke up the house, I kept a few of them.  I’ve bought a few more from the library, but my aunt and cousin surprised me and bought a whole stack of them.  I do own one book that cracks me up every time I look at it.  It’s the kind of thing you’d only get in a few places – Calgary, Texas, maybe the North Sea…

Oh, yes

It’s surprisingly specific.  I mean, they even talk about horizontal wells!

That’s fancy drilling

This is actually a decent technical explanation, with all the right words and everything,

Rotary table? Kelly? Cuttings? This IS the real deal.

I can’t wait for Jess to be old enough to enjoy books for more than their value as a chew toy.

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Books

I’m a reader.  I always have been, and given my daily c-train commute, I power through ~150 books a year.  A decently large number of books.  And I have finally, finally, given myself permission to not finish books that I am not enjoying.  It’s taken me until recently to get there – I used to basically feel if I committed to the first 50 pages, why on earth stop? I’m a fast reader, so it’s not like a book I am not enjoying takes that long to finish, right?

I put down a book the other day – I’d read it on my commute, so was maybe 60 pages in.  It was a British Lad Lit book, which is a genre I enjoy.  The book was funny enough, but it hit one of my Big Red Reader Buttons.  I can’t bear it in books (or in real life, for that matter) when the entire book could be resolved on page 4 if the people actually had a damn conversation.  Yeah, sure, it’s “funny” to read 300 pages of continuous misunderstandings and inability to talk like grownups.  Okay, it’s really not.  Listen, random British guy, if you’re unsure if that was a real proposal, talk about it!  ASK HER HOW SHE FEELS.  TELL HER HOW YOU FEEL.  ACT LIKE AN ADULT.  (I am just as all-caps in real life when people I know refuse to talk about stuff – I KNOW talking about stuff can be hard.  But do it anyway.  And then, much of the time, talking and making sure you are both on the same page?  Makes lots of stuff better!  Arrrg.)

There’s probably a lesson in here somewhere, but I’m too tired (and too interested in the next book) to care…

Book Nerd

So.  I’m a book nerd.  Both houses I’ve owned have had libraries – they pretty much have to.  I’m a devoted library user, and still have a room of books.  I’ve moved them enough times to know what a pain it is, and I do my best to only keep books I might read again, but that still leaves a lot of books.  3 large Billy bookshelves and 2 small ones in the library, 2 medium sized bookshelves upstairs, and then two more downstairs for all of David’s books.  Oh, and books in the 40s teak display cabinets on both floors.  I admit I have a bit of a problem… 

I love the library.  I love the ability to have most of the books I want to read delivered to the place just down the road.  I love that I spend $12 a year and get to read $10,000 worth of books.  My first year out of University, I read constantly and figured that I would have spent my gross salary on books had I not had a library card.  (And that would have made paying rent challenging.)

I don’t just read fiction, although that’s still the bulk of it. I also like to take out cookbooks and dvds and decor books and non-fiction about whatever my current obsession is.  (Which is how I managed to read literally 25 different wedding planning books.)  Which brings us to last week. 

So.  I had the IUD removed and then, neurotic optimist that I am, I went on the library’s website and requested a half dozen giant pregnancy tombs.   What to Expect when You’re Expecting; Pregnancy: the Mumsnet Guide; Your Pregnancy Week by Week; Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care; One Year to an Organized Life with Baby; From the Hips…  You know, your standard collection of pregnancy books for the OCD bookworm type.  So I stacked a couple of fiction books on top and headed to the check out counter.  One of the lovely librarians I’ve been dealing with for years gave me a big smile and noted that there was a bit of a theme here.  I kind of grinned and nodded and she then beamed at me and offered her congratulations.  I blushed and said thank you – it just seemed so much easier than having to admit I’m just a forward planning, overly optimistic, totally OCD dork.