Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Currently reading: Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

What a perfect fall evening... the kind I dream about during the hottest days of summer. My favorite apple cider candle is pouring delicious aromas throughout our apartment, I have donned PJ pants for the first time this fall, Nathan is happily engrossed with a John Muir book, and there is a hot mug of Swiss Miss Mocha Cappuccino sitting next to me, swirling steam and chocolatey smells into my nostrils as I type this. To make things even better, I am enjoying the prospect of writing about books, one of my greatest passions, for the next half hour or so.
Oh, apple cider candle, how I love thee.
I must say, I am very excited about this blogging idea. Lately, I have been craving the chance to let off a little creative steam, but didn't even know it until this project popped into my head.
Disclaimer: I love books. A bit of an understatement but there you have it. I love books. I love reading books. The whole act of reading is, to me, a holy art. The ideas of Kindles and Nooks make me shudder not because I'm terribly worried about the future of the printed page (I'm not) but because by holding a square, shiny object with a computer chip to read a Shakespeare sonnet or the latest heart-pounding thriller is to lose the entire beauty and experience of reading. To me, reading is the smell of a new (or old) book, the scribbles in the margins of a well-loved novel, the signature of a previous reader scrawled inside the front cover, the crack of a new book's cover as you open it, the gentle and satisfying "fwip" of a page turn, the crinkle of pages as you readjust on the bed sixty times, so engrossed in this enlightening experience that you don't notice how awkward your position is or that your back is by now begging you to go to the chiropractor. I do not denounce those who have forgone the "old" way of reading for the new, but I do know that I will still be reading books the original, soul-satisfying way until they put me into my grave with a copy of Jane Eyre. To sum up, I am passionate about reading. It is my favorite thing to do and I have a tendency of blocking out most anything to make sure I can focus on reading alone. (Ask Nathan, my family, or my former roommate). If I have time in the morning, I grab my book off of my end table. I bring a book with me everywhere I go throughout the day, just in case. I will stay up late, even when I am bone tired, just to squeeze in five minutes of pleasurable reading time. I think it's pretty obvious that I have a love affair with books. (Don't tell Nate). :) It is definitely a sickness, one that I have named "Biblio-itis."And there is no cure, baby!


One of our bookshelves-  note the Crusader's helmet (and the decorative pumpkins!)

I believe that the type of books one reads perfectly reflects one's personality. You can tell a lot about a person by their reading list or bookshelf. At first glance, our bookshelves are fantastic symbols of our new life together. My books are nestled next to his, while others fight for shelf space. :) But mostly, it's a perfect balance of him and I, happily hanging out together. We have three bookshelves in our tiny apartment, which says a lot about both of us, I believe. Nate is one of the biggest readers I've ever met; I knew I was meant to marry him when our first date was... brace yourselves.... a trip to the library. I am not kidding. I swooned over him and the Ireland section of the local Winona library simultaneously.

We have a lot of books. Three bookshelves are not really enough, but it's all we can cram in our apartment at the moment. There are boxes back at both of our parents' houses. (Maybe this is where a Kindle would come in handy. Kidding.) We have many of the same book tastes (which makes sense) and we have both, over the course of our years together, introduced each other to new books and new genres. Nathan got me hooked on John Muir, just as I brought Irish history books into his life. Our bookshelves are arranged by subject, and then further organized alphabetically by author. (Can you tell I was born to work in a library?) We have a vast assortment of history books (mostly Middle Ages [Nate] and Irish history [me]), poetry, nature books (Thoreau and John Muir and such), theological books, classics, and novels. While Nathan mostly reads non-fiction, I dabble in both fiction and non. I read a variety of books, but have certain "types" that I am mostly drawn to.

I plan on doing a post of my top favorite books in a future post, but for now, I will merely sketch out the types of books I read. As a history nut, I love to read anything about a historic time period or historical persona that interests me. Mostly, my historical reading interests lean toward Irish and Celtic history, the Salem Witch Trials, and genealogy. Yet, as evidenced by one of my current books above, I will read anything that is well recommended and engrossing. I also like to read poetry, especially on cozy thunderstorm days when I have nothing to do but read and dream and bask in the luxuriant rhythm of word-music. (W.B. Yeats is my absolute favorite.) In the world of fiction, I enjoy the classics, such as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, L.M. Montgomery, Shakespeare, Kate Chopin, and more. (However, I refuse to "love" a classic just because it is considered a classic. More discussion on that in a later post, but I believe the merit of a book is a personal opinion and should not be based solely on what "they" say. End of tangent.) I also read many novels that take place in the past [The Red Tent, Galway Bay, People of the Book] and some types of fantasy and science fiction. Mostly, I enjoy novels of any genre that explore the human experience. I want my books to challenge my perspectives, inspire me, introduce me to interesting characters, and provide an exciting story. After all, isn't that ultimately why we all read?

Your turn: tell me why you read and what exactly it is about books that makes your heart skip a beat. Have a great day tomorrow!

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