So today is purge day and man it is not easy. I am trying to organize and I can’t seem to do it. What is the biggest culprit you ask? Booooks, can I say Booooks again! Recently I attempted to count all of the books that I own and there were well over 700! That’s a lot of books, but as my sister has said, “you’re a bookie” which I must admit I am. I should not have grown up in the era of “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste” and “Knowledge is Power” etc. Man did I ever take those messages to heart. Actually one of my favorite pictures is of me as a child asleep lying on my stomach on the hardwood floor, face in a book and knees bent – that is a telling photo. I’ll have to find it and post it one day.
Now back to my dilemma – books. I have a three bedroom house, no children and just about every corner and crevice has a book of some sort taking occupancy. I am posting photos of some of the bookcases and piles to illustrate my point.
So how did this start? Well the easy answer is my love for reading. As long as I can remember I have loved reading, language and being taken away through the pages of a book. I can recall as a child being punished and told to go to my room, that is until the day my mother realized that was no punishment! You see I spent those hours reading and engrossing myself in the worlds of everyone from Nancy Drew to Margaret in Judy Blume’s classic “God, Are You There, It’s Me Margaret.”
As the years progressed and my interests were continually piqued I picked up the works of black female authors Toni Cade Bambara, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and the trailblazer Zora Neale Hurston. Not wanting the men of the Harlem Renaissance to feel left out I began to read James Baldwin, Richard Wright and Langston Hughes. Spreading my wings into collections of poetry, I became a fan of anything and everything Nikki Giovanni wrote as well as making a point to be in the audience whenever she came to Cleveland. There was even an Eldrige Cleaver novel or two in there. So, the point is that my reading passion continued, took on a slant towards the works of blacks, but the majority was still prominent. There was Dostoevsky and Pasternak along with Shakespeare, Albee and Moliere’. Now I don’t mention all of these authors to seem anything more than a lover of language.
The problem with just these few authors is that instead of trekking to the neighborhood library and retrieving these works I headed straight to the local bookstore and purchased book after book. For the life of me I can’t recall the names of two of my favorite haunts as a teen – they were small independent bookstores where you could find all sorts of used books. One was on Coventry and the other was on Shaker Square, and how I loved going in and spending hours just browsing the titles. That was heaven on earth! They were small, quaint and smelled old because of the books but I found such warmth in these stores. I would say that Mac’s Back on Coventry lends itself to that memory.
Now this obsession with books did not end back in the late 70s and 80s, no it manifested and has reached gargantuan proportions as stated in the opening paragraph – more than 700 titles! No matter how I try to purge myself of books I just can’t. I’ve given away a few titles because I am trying to make myself understand that I most likely will not re-read half of these wonderful books. The problem with that assessment is how can I be certain? What if read a review, or become engaged in a conversation about a work that I know I have/had and go to seek it out for clarity and it’s not there! What’s a girl to do?
Well this girl has determined she is going to be successful in this endeavor and one way to achieve my goal is to share with others, and to do this on a larger scale. So beginning today I am parting with some of my prized possessions, and you could be a recipient. All you have to do is express an interest in the comments section and I’ll send you one of my babies! Remember knowledge is power and we must share the power!