Consequently, it is not a surprise that I send my grandchildren books for Christmas. Recently I gave a couple of books to some people who work at the local YMCA. I donated books to the library for their Friend’s Book Sale. I purchased a couple of books for myself. When they arrived, I discovered that one of the books I ordered for myself I already had on a shelf. I will donate this new copy to the library. I am surrounded by books. Some are literary; some are children’s stories; some are nonfiction, and some are textbooks. I cannot imagine a house without books. I have not read all these books, and I do not foresee getting around to reading many of them. I have new books and old books, cherished books, and books I used as a teacher. I have all my husband’s medical books. I have dictionaries, encyclopedias (stacked by a chair in the library, currently serving as a side table), and when I find myself in any city or town that features a bookstore, I go in and browse.
What is it that connects people when it comes to books? I think books are a bridge to friendships. We give them and we receive them. When I see a book about a certain subject, a person who also likes that subject comes to mind and I am anxious to share. We who cherish words and the sound and use of words, know that books are built word by word. We like certain authors so when those authors put out new books, we acquire one or two.
One of the first books I liked that I can remember was The Loon Feather by Iola Fuller. I remember reading it several times, but recently when I went back to read it, it wasn’t the same to me. Another book I remember cherishing and still have on my shelf is The Web of Life by John H. Storer. The pages are yellow, faded, and the spine is brittle and cracked. Some pages are loose. I can’t throw this one away. I can’t burn it. I don’t even read it anymore, but I remember feeling connected to the author somehow. Books by my Hungarian writer friend Janos Shoemyen (now deceased) occupy several places on my library shelf. His writing is incredibly good, and his subjects matter to me.
From my childhood, I have The Silver Skates by Han Brinker, the Original Mother Goose books, and Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth. My brother David sells books. In addition to his business career, on the side, he owned a used book store. He sold the store, but now has a kiosk. He knows what books are worth. From time to time, my brother James sends me books he is sure I will like. I do like them. What I like more is that he thinks enough of me to send them. Recently I told him not to send anymore for at least a month until I can find a place for them. Currently, I am trying to cull some of my books. But I still have books my mother-in-law had in her home. Many are about England, the royal family, W. W. II, and military people of that era. I have books about cars, the history of cars, specific cars, and books about civilizations. I have many dictionaries. I have stacks of music books. I can’t toss a book away without grief. Neither can I burn a book. I can not. Can I? Oh brother! Books and brothers. I love them.