Remnant #6: My Wild Year in Books

"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road.  They are the destination, and the journey.  They are home."

~Anna Quindlen~ 

In the last six years, I have lived in six different places.  My family home, my brother's home, a dear friend's basement bedroom suite, a sundrenched apartment in a subdivided house that was once a clockmaker's shop, a little white cottage on a lot of green land, and my current home--a funky cape cod full of candles, curious-collections, and books.  Ohhhhh, so many books.

As I planned for my last move in May, my brother's only request was, "Can you maybe have some of the books moved beforehand?  Please?"  I laughed, but I knew what he meant.  As it turned out, I got the keys a month before move-day and the very first thing I did (after smudging the whole house and working a few other small rituals) was to move my books in.  With the April light pouring in the windows and the smell of palo santo heavy in the air, I sat in the middle of the dining room floor, surrounded by my first stacks of books.   

The battered blue Yale Shakespeare set caught my eye and I pulled As You Like It from the stack.  "And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. I would not change it."  And a wild yes in me.  Every book that was hauled into the house over the next few weeks brought me one step closer to home.  I think this is the gift of books for me--they make me feel HOME, no matter where I am.  Books hold memories...possibilities...magic.  They have always been my safe haven.

In spite of the countless pages I've read, though, I've never kept any sort of record of any of it, except for when I was in school.  But, if there is any resolution for me in 2015 it is to keep track of the books I have read--offering a brief note or two if it makes sense to, just keeping the title if not.  And, I plan to do a lot of that recording here.  This isn't becoming a "book blog," I have too many other competing fascinations to stick to one...but, there will be sometimes-snippets of My Wild Year in Books here.  Beginning right now:

  • Book 1/2015: a reread of The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston.  This is a book I originally read for a Women's Studies class many years ago and have reread several times.  It speaks to matters...Moon Orchid, No Name Woman, language, loss, survival.  "I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes. Petals are bone marrow; pearls come from oysters. The dragon lives in the sky, ocean, marshes, and mountains; and the mountains are also its cranium. Its voice thunders and jingles like copper pans. It breathes fire and water; and sometimes the dragon is one, sometimes many."
  • Book 2/2015: I wanted a lighter read for my second book, after sinking into Kingston.  The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister was just right for this.  I liked it for the feminist-slant to the world of magicians and illusionists and the fact that it was the story of an entire life told in one dark, uncertain night.  I read it over a cold winter weekend with lots of tea. "Tonight, I will do the impossible.  The impossible is nothing new to me.  As I do every night, I will make people believe things that aren't true.  I will show them worlds that never existed, events that never happened.  I will weave a web of beautiful illusion to snare them, a glittering trap that drags them willingly with me into the magical, false, spellbinding world."