This week I received an envelope from my best friend. She is so good at the art of snail mailing me every so often. She keeps me up to date on what's going on in her life and the lives of her family. And always, she sends me clippings from newspapers, like the LA Times and Wall Street Journal, and cartoons about cats and kids and other funny things.We also talk on the phone quite often, sometimes for hours, but I must admit, if she stopped mailing me these little packets of clippings and such, I would truly miss them. One, I love to get mail as I wrote about in an earlier blog, and two it just shows me how much I mean to her; that she is constantly thinking of me and wants to send me articles she thinks I would like or have a use for the information therein.So it is with no small amount of jubilation that I search my mailbox everyday and on some days I find an envelope from her.
She sends me many articles on writing, both on a personal level and things of interest for my high school classes. I have put many of these ideas to use over the years. She sends articles about animation and other art forms, events going on at museums,etc...
But this week, along with articles on writing and such, she also sent me an article about a man who had read thousands of books. He talks about having each of them, still, piled in his work space, and in every room of his house. He talks about switching to an e-reader but in the end he vows to never give up the printed page in hard copy format. Technology is great but not to replace his books. this man says that he reads every where, lectures, lunch with friends, concerts (once a 9 hour concert was read through. He read an entire book!)
Well, now. My brain screams, "CHALLENGE!" Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to have all the books you ever read surrounding yourself on a daily basis? How great that would feel to have the warmth of all those story lines to reflect upon and re-read if you chose to? Could one do this? It would take a long time to gather all those books from all those years. Could I even remember them all? Hmmmm... just how would one go about this? And then where would I put them all? A great idea if I could get rid of everything in my house, which I'm telling you right now, is not very big to begin with. And the cost. Even at $5 a book (library sale, yard sale price) we're probably talking thousands of dollars. No, really, I mean it. I am now 57 years old and I have been reading since I was 5. (I'm not sure I would want to pay the price for the antique Dick & Jane books of my youth!)
So, in thinking about this I believe I have come up with a good alternative. A book list. I don't think I am going to organize the list but rather put them on willy-nilly as I come across one. For instance: today I have my students at the library. As they scan the shelves looking for a book for SSR, I find these books that I have read and loved: Pet Semetary by Stephen King, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine by Zora Neale Hurston, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Texas by James Michener, Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson , The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Stand by Stephen King, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
Not a bad beginning for the list. I will add more as I come to them and read more, so look for the list to grow.
It is a good feeling to be able to look at the list and remember the books and their stories. But mostly it is a comfort to realize how many hours and years I have spent in the company of literature. I would love to pile the books all up and sit upon them. Decorate my rooms and life with them. But a list will have to do. And I have a feeling that the challenge of the list will keep me busy, in a good way.