“Family History” original watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen
I am addicted to books. I can’t seem to stay away from Half Price book store. I went with Sam today to look for a movie. “Elizabeth” I think, and ended up buying another four books. The stack of unread books increases daily. What is wrong with me? Is it because I was never given the right book to read as a child? I certainly read all the time, and enjoyed every minute of it. People who had not seen me for many years always remembered me as having had my nose pressed into a book all the time. Jan was much the same way, and I begin to wonder if it wasn’t a way to absent ourselves from where we were at the time.
I know that when I walked into Auntie’s house each time, I looked at and couldn’t stop thinking how wonderful it was that she had all those books. Mostly children’s books I think. Probably for their daughter Phyllis when she was a child. Auntie and Uncle Phil were readers too. Sitting side by side in their chairs in the living room each night with the lamp between them, reading until precisely 8 p.m. at which time they trundled off to bed not to be seen again until 6 a.m. sharp.
At grandma’s there were no books except the Bible and her Science and Health from being a devout Christian Scientist. Not much interesting for a child to read, except the cereal box, and there was nothing too exciting about that. When my Dad was at home, he always had a book, usually a mystery starring Boston Blackie or someone like that. I remember picking one up at an early age and seeing the word “damn”, I slapped it shut quickly, being pretty embarrassed and hoping no one had seen me.
Today’s foray into the book store brought gold. Sebald’s “Emigrants”, “Moby Dick” (only because I read yesterday that Starbuck’s got its name from “Moby Dick” and I want to find out where.) I also found “The Paris Wife” about Hemingway’s first wife, which I have read but lent it to someone years ago when it came out, and never got back. Bronia always says “if you lend a book, kiss it goodbye”. I guess she was right about that one, but then Pat whom I lent it to got sick and died, so you can excuse her for not returning it.
The 4th book was a quick grab going out the door. “My Dog Skip”. I had heard of it some time ago, and read the blurb on the back and being a dog lover, I was hooked. I think it’s a tear jerker, which is nice to read sometimes just to keep the water flowing over the eyeballs. If nothing else it is a good one to pick up and look through while waiting for Sam in the car which I certainly do pretty often. Today I waited while he went into the hardware store to buy a new garbage disposer. The old one was bought in 1989, and cost $89, so I guess we got our money’s worth out of it.
Someone asked me what I do now that I can’t do my artwork anymore, so I said I read and of course write. It was hard not to be able to do sculpture anymore after my shoulder gave out. Just to watch all my equipment roll out the door going to their new home was pretty traumatic. Of course, said Sam, you can always paint, and I know I can, but other than sporadic bouts of inspiration, I have done nothing in three years, so I figured I better get with it and find something else to do that might be at least a little creative.
Cheri said why didn’t I write a blog. I had never even read a blog and hated the word itself, but she sat me down and here I am, three years later. Of course as you get old or at least older, your world shrinks about half, so after you write about your kids, and your childhood, and a few other things which interest you but probably don’t interest anyone else, where else do you go?
Why don’t you write a book, says husband, kids and granddaughter (who really ought to write a book right now, since she is an inveterate traveler, and meets all kinds of interesting people, so it would be a worthwhile book to read). Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, why don’t I write a book? Well maybe I have to get back out in the world and start meeting more people to write about.
17 thoughts on “ADDICTED TO BOOKS”
Whatever happened to Dr. Advice and who in the heck is this Sam person?
He’s my “back-up” in case the other one doesn’t work out.
Wonderful painting, Kayti. What you’ve written makes me think of my mother. She was a skillful seamstress and made tailored suits for my daughter when she (my mother) was well into her eighties. She was an artist with her quilts and quilted wall hangings. Her sense of colour was always spot on. On the subject of reading, she and I were in complete agreement: we could not understand how people got through life if they didn’t read.
Eventually, the arthritis in her hands got so bad that she couldn’t do any needlework at all, but she still had her books. I was kept busy borrowing books from the library for her, and she got through most of them. If we had both read the same book, we had a ready-made topic for conversation.
I do enjoy your blog. I’m glad you got over your aversion to the word “blog”!
Thanks mrsdaffodil. Your mother sounds like a lovely, busy and interesting lady. Someone people wanted to know. I made all my children’s clothes, knitted all their sweaters, etc. and loved doing it. I never got into quilting, but my niece does beautiful quilting, and I’m blessed to own one of hers. I also have two made by my great-great grandmother. Trouble is, she was a terrible seamstress! But I still treasure the antiquity.
But as long as we have either our eyes or our ears we can read.
I’m in a strange place now with reading, Katy: I can’t. Nothing holds my attention. But give me an audio book, and it’s a different story. I’m hoping this unpleasant phase will pass. And soon.
Well as long as the words come some way M-R, that’s what’s important. I do that a lot too—take out a book, drop it, take another, drop it. In a past post I wrote about my book-crowded house—books in every nook and cranny, but sometimes nothing appeals. Rather like having to eat diet food, and then one day someone comes up with a delicious hot fudge sundae and it’s all over!
OK … then maybe it’s an age thing for us, you reckon ?
You tell such wonderfully crafted tales, I think it is perfectly sensible to compile them into a book. What’s the worst that could happen? Don’t think about it too much, just do it! 🙂
Thanks gill.heaven. I’m a great procrastinator I think. But I may just up and do it like I did the last one! “In for a penny–in for a pound”!
Kayti, I would read any book you wrote, and not just because I love you! I laughed about you seeing the word “damn” and then hoping no-one saw you see it.
You see I wasn’t as much shocked seeing the word, I probably checked all the bad words out secretly, just didn’t want to ruin my reputation by getting caught!
I am so pleased you will be reading Sebald. The Emigrants is a great introduction to his themes and his writing. This Sam guy…where did you pick him up?
I’m reading Faulkner now, .Light in August. He looked pretty lonely down at the local pub, so I brought him home.
Are you home?
Oh, Faulkner’s one of my favorites. Did you hear what Flannery O’Connor said about him? She said,”No one would want their old hack parked on the tracks when the Dixie Limited came whistling through.” That’s about right.
I love the painting, especially all those “shades” floating around. It’s a wonderful depiction of imagination. It reminds me of a collector plate I have, that my mother cherished. It’s by Jessie Willcox-Smith, and she bought it because she said it reminded her of me when I was a little girl.
And then there’s “Moby Dick,” which reminds me of something else. (I have all this stuff in my head – it’s always good to have a chance to use it.) Annie Dillard once said, “It doesn’t take any more effort to write out a recipe than to write Moby Dick, so you might as well write Moby Dick.” I suppose she’s right. No matter what we’re up to, we do it one word at a time.
I’m getting a little “you ought to write a book” business, too. Personally, I think a person would have to want to do that, and I don’t want to. I’m not opposed, I just don’t have the desire. I’m happy with my blog. I think part of it is that I don’t want to limit myself to one topic. I have a couple of ideas that would make pretty good books, I think, but there’s no compulsion yet. If there ever is, I’ll think about it. Maybe.
Jessie-Wilcox Smith saw the same thing I did with the light coming down over the child’s head. Mine is of a grandson, and each “shadow” is of a particular ancestor.
You are amazing in what you keep in your head! I am grateful that I used to be a better “rememberer”. Now we sit at table and ask each other “what was that person’s name again”? and neither can remember.
I’m glad I did write the one book, but now like you, I can’t seem to limit myself to one subject. I sometimes have to laugh when someone new begins to follow me after reading one blog, and then my next one is of something entirely different. It’s like being able to follow the stream of thought of most old people, the mind goes where the feet can’t.