Monday, February 25, 2013

#10 Books

My story: One of the longest love affairs that I have had is the one that I have had with books. My first memories as a toddler were that of my mother reading to me. Later, I often would hang upside down from an old tree branch and read my favorite books. I probably read “My Friend Flicka” a hundred times in that position.

Since then, the gratitude that I have for them has expanded profoundly. They have taken me on adventures beyond my wildest dreams. Even the not-so-good books that I have read equally present a different perspective on the world around me. Really, I can’t think of a book that I have read that hasn’t added some sort of depth to this, my human experience.

One of my very favorite days of every month is my book club night. On this night, a group of dear friends share their unique perspectives on one common book. Through books, I learn more about the people that I love. By keeping them on my shelves, people who love me will also get a glimpse into my experiences.

My dream-home is a library of books, music and art. I really don’t care how the structure looks, I just want these things within my walls. Even though I have converted to the Kindle and mp3’s in a lot of instances, there is something comforting about the ambience of a real paper book - the smell of the ink, the yellowing of the pages.

The truth: The majority of the books that I own will not be read again by me. They have already provided so much, and I am dishonoring them by not providing them to others to read. They are collecting dust. I can represent myself through discussions rather than things. The majority of books that I read come from the library, and my house certainly does not have to become one!

My action: 120 books lighter so far. Some of the books have been donated to the neighborhood used bookstore, others went to the thrift store. My favorites were given (or will be given) to friends who I know would enjoy the read. I kept only the ones that I will read or refer to again, and will make it my priority to get the ones I saved to their new homes.

One of the books that I kept was “Material World”, a photo journal by Peter Menzel. He went around the world and took pictures of families with all of their stuff outside of their houses. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Please borrow it from me! This is something I have kept in mind through this project so far. What would my yard look like if all of my stuff were on the lawn? 

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