Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Library

Oh, how I love the public library! Nothing has been able to diminish the magic for me. Not the vagabonds, the mutterers, the teenagers. Not the screaming children or the ubiquitous story times. Not even the rows of glowing computers have been able to shake my devotion to the library.

I have belonged to a library in every place I have lived, no matter how brief the stay, no matter how small the library. Whitehall, Montana. Boulder, Montana. Eugene, Oregon. Raton, New Mexico. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Springfield, Oregon (I still owe them money...) Tallahassee, Florida. Boulder, Montana again. And now, Baltimore, Maryland. My memory for detail is rather poor, but I can clearly remember the look and feel of each of those libraries. What magic, to be able to walk into a building full of books and take home whatever you want! Even in the smallest of towns and the most tiny of libraries, one is able to escape to places far, far away from your present circumstances. Is that the crux of my fascination? The fact that, as a teenager in rural Montana, I could leave that miniscule and smelly library with an armful of culture and thought and adventure? Perhaps. I still remember when Inter-library Loan was introduced to Whitehall. The incredibly tactless and unpleasant librarian became a beloved figure in my eyes when she explained that she could order me books from ANY library in Montana....could you imagine!

Now Rowan and I go to the library almost every week. He loves the process of returning his books into the box, then picking out new ones. He wants to read them as soon as we get home, and usually takes them to his nap with him much like a beloved stuffed animal. Then, when he is asleep, I get to have my own private library ritual. I stack all of my books and bask in the riches for a moment. I leisurely open each book and survey it, then read the very first chapter. The first chapter is both rule and a delight to me. I have to read a bit of each book before I can settle into one (usually the mystery) for good. Each time I am universally thrilled with what I have found. Later, I may realize that I don't like a particular book. I probably won't finish them all. But for the moment, I feel like the richest person in the world.

Here is my latest stack, dug for like treasures from the tiny branch library in our neighborhood:

One Magic Square,  by Lolo Houbein

The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard

About Face, by Donna Leon

Home, by Marilynne Robinson

This Body of Death, by Elizabeth George 

Friday, January 15, 2010


Sometimes I think that being grown-up, for me, will mean...

knowing which notebooks I always use, and which pen, (or pencil)

knowing what my clothing style is

knowing how to stock my pantry

knowing what to order at a restaurant

knowing how to travel, gracefully

kowing what to do when I have fifteen minutes of free time

knowing what is important

I am thirty-one years old now. I still spend an inordinate amount of time just....choosing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Children's Books

This article put into words what I had not yet articulated to myself..the fact that I am disturbed by many of today's popular children's picture books. Therefore, I am beginning a list (oh the joy!) of children's books and authors, both new and old, that capture what is best about children's literature and not what is currently in vogue. After many, many trips to the library and a constantly circulating regimen of bedtime stories, David and I are now beginning to consider ourselves stern critics, and Rowan certainly is. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Calvin on Prayer

"Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promise, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from him alone they hope and expect, both from themselves and for others, all good things."

John Calvin
(as found in Christian Counter Culture: The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, by John Stott)


I have to confess, I am immensely gratified by this post, and two relevant posts on this blog.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Attending Closely

"There are plenty of people, in Avonlea and out of it, who can attend closely to their neighbor's business by dint of neglecting their own..."

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables