When my children were small, in fact pre number three, some called to ask if we’d be willing to have a couple of graduate research students come to our house as part of a study on parenting. We said sure. Two lovely young ladies showed up with clipboards, and as they walked from room to room they just smiled. In each room their smiles grew bigger until they laughed. At that point we asked what was going on? They explained that their study was about books and the reading habits of parents and whether babies were exposed to books. Our house had books in every room.
I don’t know what the data proved; we were never visited again. I think they just wanted statistics about how many homes had books in general. I know New Mexico is pretty bad about books in households. I was thinking about this visit just recently. With two of our daughters out of the house, we are trying to fix up the house. Bathrooms were done last year, but we need new carpet, new tile, new paint, etc. And I’m insisting on getting rid of the extraneous furniture that we’ve collected over the years. Which means however we have to get rid of books.
It’s difficult to get rid of books. I know I’ve advocated not finishing books if you don’t like them, but books we’ve kept are here for a reason. Just this week I took our entire collection of hardcover Tom Clancy novels from the eighties (dating myself?) to Goodwill. My husband and I both read them (except Red Storm Rising–I couldn’t get into that one). But we’re still stuck with more books than we have room. There are books we will never re-read, but keep them for memory’s sake. When I glance at my shelves, I can remember exactly where I read them and the feelings they evoked. We once read a John Grisham book aloud to each other on a camping trip and long drive. We had so much fun. I’ve always wanted to do that again, but I am so over camping.
The books have to go. They simply must. And it’s heartbreaking. But on the other hand, now someone else can bring them to life. Meanwhile Robot Guy and I have just finished reading/are reading The Merchant of Venice so we can better enjoy Christopher Moore’s A Serpent of Venice. Together. Yup. I’ve decided that reading the same books will be one of our hobbies now that the kids are essentially gone. That and bird watching.
Books I’m reading now:
Merchant of Venice by Willian Shakespeare
Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy