Books are pretty rad, and libraries (and Amazon Prime) are immensely helpful in making my literary dreams come true. Growing up, I was quite the bookworm, preferring to read indoors (bless) rather than go on a family bike ride. And that was before the global warming days, back when it was PLEASANT OUTSIDE (typing this in mid-August from the comfort of my house while sipping iced coffee).
Back in the day, I’d ride my bicycle (minimum effort – we lived decently close) to the Gonzales Public Library* and would spend hours there reading, catching up on star stickers for whatever the summer reading program entailed, venturing into the reference section, and doing my best to avoid the grouchy librarian. (*woah – the library is now housed in the old bank building and looks niiiiice! Movin’ on up! I may have to go visit to witness their expanded collection firsthand.)
Side note: I never felt bad about incurring late fees, even as a child, despite the librarian’s best efforts to make me feel insignificant. Hello?!?! I’m helping support literacy! Not sure where I got this attitude, but it’s stuck with me into adulthood. Yeah, I’ve paid a lot of late fees. It sounds a lot better if you say I’m a very generous supporter of the literary arts….
The Shiner Public Library was somewhat of a step up from G-town’s, with friendlier staff (they actually smiled warmly at guests), a newer building, and my discovery of the Encyclopedia Britannica. This was in the pre-world wide web days, so flipping through those sets were kind of like how we google things nowadays. Let that sink in for a minute, oldtimers. Also, a lady who worked/volunteered there would cheerfully answer the phone, “Shiner Libary,” which I always found quite funny.
Fast forward a few years, past the discovery that you can check out 100 books if you wanted to at some of the larger libraries (instead of the 3 book limit I’d grown up with), past the advent of Amazon and their low prices and mega fast Prime deliveries, past speed reading books in grad school, crawling past the limited capacity of pregnancy brain then mommy brain then session, and now I don’t have a job and am finally able to focus enough to read at length again. And it is awesome, let me tell you.
Tim and I recently finished Ben Sasse’s The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis–and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance (READ IT. IT IS VERY MUCH WORTH YOUR TIME). I loved his idea of developing a canon (list of top books you’d recommend to others), but now I think I’ve gone off the deep end in preparation for this list.
I’m reading 17 books right now. And no, I’m not some genius, I’m just immensely scatterbrained. I’ve never been in the process of reading so many books at once.
This is my current booklist. I’m reading all these right now.
From top left:
- Simplicity Parenting – recommended by a friend. Guessing the author wouldn’t recommend reading 17 books at one time.
- Half Broke Horses – written by author of The Glass Castle – it’s her maternal grandmother’s story about growing up in rural Texas. Fascinating thus far.
- For the Love – I’m developing a borderline obsession with Jen Hatmaker. I’m on the waiting list for her new book Of Mess and Moxie and am reading this in the meantime.
- Nothing to Prove – re-reading it, because it has become newly relevant in my new adventure, having resigned from the political world for awhile.
- Long Days of Small Things – recommended by another friend. Really wish I’d had this book when A was first born. So good.
- Bible – slowly reading and re-reading through this fascinating, encouraging, admonishing, transforming book that’s kind of a big deal.
- Diplomacy – This book is on my nightstand and is a wonderful cure for insomnia – I’m still less than an inch into this one.
- Present Over Perfect – reading this one again, too, and I’m becoming more confident that Shauna Niequist and I would be BFFs if ever given the chance.
- The Magic of Motherhood – full of short stories and essays that warm my heart and remind me to soak up these precious moments. Kind of like a Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul of sorts.
- Daring Greatly – Brene Brown and I, too, would be great friends. I’ve begun reading this book 3-4 times since meeting her at the book signing I stumbled upon at Book People 5 years ago, but it finally seems relevant at this stage of life. Funny how that works.
- Idols of the Heart – borrowed this from a friend and it is immensely convicting. So many idols.
- Designing Your Life – awesome book that makes me want to take a multi-day retreat and plan the heck out of life. Might be a good thing, might be dangerous. but intentionality is a very important thing!
- Cuba! – this is part cookbook, part storybook that has me wanting to go to Cuba RIGHT NOW.
- The Toddler Care Book – with lots of pictures so I don’t lose interest as I search for the things I am concerned about googling.
- Parenting – a gift at A’s dedication from our pastors. Tim and I are reading through this together. What an enormous responsibility and incredible opportunity parenting is!
- King Leopold’s Ghost – so help me, I’ll finish this book someday. Dark look at the slave trade in the Congo.
- The Search for Significance – totally pretending these are therapy sessions when I read this. One of the book’s main premises is that the world’s (and coincedentally my) definition of self-worth = performance + other’s opinions. Ouch. Very hard to break these patterns.
So that’s my list. An embarrassing amount of ineffective multi-tasking going on over here. At this rate, I might be finished with 1/3 of them by the end of the year. BUT I LOVE IT! So many books and topics and choices!!!
Ahem. Now allow me to brag about how incredible the Austin Public Library website is. It’s PHENOMENAL. You get your account, you log in, and you can type any book title or author and voila! You get a list of eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, audio CDs, and actual books. You can create your own “shelves” – I have a “for later” shelf of all the books I want to check out.
I can place holds on books, and if they aren’t located at a branch convenient to you, THEY WILL DELIVER IT TO YOUR BRANCH, email you when the books are ready, you walk over to the “on hold” section, find your name, and go over to the self-serve kiosk, scan your card and your books, and GO BACK HOME TO READ THEM. It is truly magical. I took a screenshot of my initial “for later” list because I was so excited.
What about you? What are the books you always share with everyone who asks for a recommendation? What are the books you’ve been eager to read but haven’t found the time? I love making these lists and would love to add any books you recommend!