Archives for posts with tag: library

I’ve always noticed and appreciated sculptures that greet visitors of public libraries.

But lately whenever I visit a different library, I am in awe; and even when I visit the same library over and over again, I stop to admire the sculptures and how they capture the beauty of reading and the library itself–a special home open to all to share and receive that which lies within the library walls.

Recently, I visited a library that was new (to me). I’m on a mission to obtain as many library cards as I can whenever we go to a nearby city and it makes sense. Although, it may not be convenient to physically check the books out from certain more distant locations, I gain a new library card, and online access to e-books and audio books. I enjoy visiting each of the library webpages to learn about new books and librarian recommendations.

These are just a couple of the sculptures from two different libraries. It’s always fun to see the vast differences in how an artist captures the magic of reading and the libraries.

A book that comes to mind is Know the Past, Find the Future: The New York Public Library at 100. It was one of my first free downloads, when it was available for free, when I purchased my first Kindle reader. I still need to come back to it and finish reading the reflections by various people on their favorite books from the collection.

Here I sit at the local coffee shop,
a circular construction, tables all around,
waterfalls in the background, trees reach
wide around the space, making me feel as
though I’m in a treehouse, and for these moments,
I feel free, at ease, childlike–
in my element.

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A few weeks back I went with only one bag, ready to fill it with orphan library books. It was that time of year again when the library takes stock, unloading its shelves of books that will find happy, new homes. I’ve perused Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project in the past, but didn’t immediately jump to action.

When I saw a beat up copy of the book staring out at me, I thought now seems the right time to dive in, figure out some more simple pleasure that I can add to my list and find new perspective in the familiar. There was a “Damage Noted” sticker on this one: “ragged, readable.” I taped up the front and back cover to reinforce it to get more use out of it before it starts to fall apart. I found some other books; I could’ve taken more bags, but I made a deal with myself that one bag was enough. I did also end up carrying a few books under my arms.

I’ve been dipping in and out of books. At one point I was going to pick up, in book form, where I left off in the audio version. I didn’t recognize anything, then I realized it was the wrong book and felt better. I sometimes worry that I’ll start losing track and cross plots and characters amongst the books I’m juggling. I’m usually pretty good about keeping it all separate. It’s challenging though, in the sense that I yearn to get back to one book, then another pulls me in, and that other one over there is saying, ‘read me, read me.’ All these books are vying for my attention.

Sometimes I know right away if a book and are will get a long really well; other times, I need to keep going a little longer to see if we’re a good fit. And still other times, I will feel satisfied right where I’ve stopped–forcing a new ending because another book is calling.

One book I almost gave up on is Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook. I’m so glad I didn’t. Month’s ago I started reading it, then put it aside. I had also downloaded the audio and started listening to it, then back to reading it–then perhaps it was being in one of the small bookstores looking through the tables of recommended books, and just maybe it was the woman nearby, also looking, searching, whom looked to me and said I loved this book, have you read it. I looked and because it was the hard cover, I didn’t immediately recognize it, then I said, “well, I started it, but haven’t finished it yet. I do believe it was her nudge that brought me back to the audio version. A sweet love story, that talking about, is making me want to go back for a visit.

One book that I recently downloaded is A Concise Chinese English Dictionary for Lovers. It’s different, in the way it’s organized through words–through the words the protagonist is learning, sprinkled with Chinese sayings. It has intrigued me and I think I’m in for the long haul. I want to see where this goes, how the language and thought process develops, how it ends.

Traveling through books is one of my favorite pastimes and also reading about peoples lives. I don’t always know whose lives will pull me in, wanting to read more, wanting to get to know the person more, read (hear about their experiences).

A couple of these that have recently come to my attention are Take Off Your Shoes: One Man’s Journey from the Boardroom to Bali and Back by Ben Fender. I am looking forward to traveling alongside Mr. Fender and his family. I’ve read up until the point where the transition begins and am happily awaiting getting back to the journey. The writing is clean and already I feel like I’m just beginning to know his family.

Driving Miss Norma: One Family’s Journey Saying Yes to Living by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle. How could I not be inspired by a 90 year old woman, who is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and decides to say yes to life , join her son and daughter-in-law on an adventure on wheels, living out the time she has left in what may possibly be her last hurrah.

I came across these books from the daily BookBub email that I signed up for. I have found out about many great deals from them. It’s great!

http://www.bookbub.com

I came across the book, The Novel Cure while I was looking for another book in the library shelves. I like the concept of being prescribed a book for what ails you. I also like the idea of being introduced to books that I may not come across or some that I’ve read to see what the ailment was. A fun one to flip through.

Here I sit, writing in my journal, one of my tippity-top forms of happiness and one of which I’ve been depriving myself from enjoying.

Here I sit feeling the cold on my arms,
feeling my muscles tense with the chill.
One last sip from my teacup,
minty freshness perks my senses.
I hear the television in the background,
the aroma of someone’s hearty dinner wafting in the air,
happiness found in the tap tap tap of fingers on the keyboard,
as thoughts connect with words connect with the page,
making the day feel alright.

It’s nice to have a day off. I’ve been in my new job now for a little over five months. The timing was right to leave my old job and I had no idea or expectation that things would work out as they did. I did put my faith in God, in the higher powers of the Universe; I prayed for guidance each day to let me know, to offer some sign…now here I am, with many serendipitous moments along the way.

I feel grateful. There is a probationary period–9 months; after I reach that hurdle, it will be official. Until then, I wait, I work, I rejoice for the opportunity.

Today I visited the library, it’s where I gravitate on my day’s off. I visited two today and here I sit in the second as I type these words out. I always enjoy browsing through the “New Books” shelves to see what I may have missed. I checked out a small stack and purchased two used books from the Friends of the Library bookstore. I had listened to the audio of The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery years ago and have recently wanted to revisit it in book form. I remember listening intently to the story and am glad that I listened first. It may have been harder for me to find the right voices in my head for the characters and I may not have been as open to the young character who is planning her suicide.

Another audio that I’m happy to have listened to is Anna Karenina read by the actress, Maggie Gyllenhaal. I had sampled other versions, the readers not piquing my interest, but when I read about how much she loved the story, and upon hearing for myself–the care and passion that comes through effortlessly, I was immediately drawn in and have since listened to the story several times over. What a treat to the ears, the mind, and heart.

At my first library stop, fiction mostly was the aim. Here at my second stop, creativity and food won me over. It is getting close to lunch, so of course a bowl of soup or any Latin American dish sounds scrumptious. I couldn’t pass up Literary Yarns: Crochet Projects Inspired by Classic Books by Cindy Wang, since I love anything to do with books and my mother-in-law has been knitting hats, I thought she might enjoy a look at this book for some added inspiration and whimsy.

I know I won’t read all of these books, or the countless samples I’ve downloaded to Kindle or the freebies, or…

I’ve always enjoyed audio books and lately I’ve listened to more and more because I have extra time in the car on my way to and from work. I still read books, more slowly than usual. But even if I only get to know a book quickly, read a small portion of it–I tell myself that it counts for something; it counts for getting to know the book, if only a quick tryst. It’s better to have been acquainted, than our paths never crossing. A quick hello, or time over a cup of tea, and then goodbye, possibly only having this one chance meeting or perhaps our paths will cross again.

As I exit the library doors, outside
the majestic pines and quietness of the street wrap around me like a
warm embrace.

A trip to the library during my lunch break always revitalizes me. I feel lucky that I work close enough that I can take a brisk walk there and back, whether it’s to browse the shelves, pick up books I have on hold, sit in a chair and read, write in my journal, or post to my journal blog.

Yesterday I had books to pick up. I finished my lunch at my desk, that way I’d have that out of the way, so that I could focus on the books. Lately it’s been difficult for me not to read, whether it’s the words on the page or the audio streaming through my ears. I’m being creative and trying to be efficient in my class reading, which gives me more time with other books and Mr. Kindle.

Sometimes I will pull one of my old journals off the shelf and continue trying to speed read what is worth keeping, reading my words, being surprised at how, at times, my thoughts seem to come out so clear and in a way that I couldn’t duplicate in the present moment; and that makes me thankful that I, at least, wrote them down then, allowing me to reconnect with aspects of my changing self. In some cases, there are only a few sparks, so I rip those pages out and toss the whole journal in the garbage bin. Some of those pages, I recognize as having posted to another distant blog, one that no longer exists, and this makes me think that this journal blog could also one day cease to exist.

There used to be a time that I wrote my thoughts, then typed them into a document, then pasted them into my blog; now, though, I skip the document part and go straight to the blog, sometimes I pen the words physically first, but often it goes straight to the journal blog, so that one day it could all disappear.  I have mixed feelings about this. In some ways, I rationalize that it would be ok if I weren’t able to go back, to see what I was up to, but then it saddens me that I would essentially be erased.

But just like the beautiful Tibetan sand mandalas that are painstakingly created and then brushed away, so these words must someday be released in whatever way that occurs.

This truly was a morning page; I planned to talk about my visit to the library and was taken somewhere else.

**

The books I checked out and am excited about:

The Cat who came for Christmas – Cleveland Amory
My mother-in-law was reading this one during Christmas and it just now became available from the library. She had come across it when she was doing some clutter cleaning of her own. The first page really drew me in and made me want to know more.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – Mason Currey
I learned about this one through a book newsletter,  I believe, maybe one of the independent bookseller lists and recommendations. From browsing the introduction and the book, this is a collection of small splashes about many creatives, from writers to authors to composers and others in between, about their routines.

 

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Yesterday I had an excuse to go the library. When I was searching the library database for a book, I discovered that I had two books that were overdue by a week. I usually watch for those email reminders, but I must have overlooked these. I happily pulled the books from the pile, snapping a photo of them because I wasn’t done with them yet! I was happy because I would return the books, then browse the shelves after collecting a book that I was in search of and knew was on the shelves.

After I self-checked in my overdue books, I pulled out my iPhone, and opened the email that I had sent to myself with the call number: 808.02 NAMING. I wound my way toward the back of the library, walking past tables of chattering teenagers. As I walked further and further down the narrow passages of books, I found myself at the end. I looked up and scanned the call numbers and there it was: Naming the World and other Exercises for the Creative Writer Edited by Bret Anthony Johnston. I took the book from the shelf, admired the red cover with a small image of a piece of art titled “Cockatoo and Corks,” a piece of art that is interestingly strange. I love surreal art.

Instead of going back down to the front of the main library the way I came, I decided to go over one isle and I found myself in the cookbooks. I turned left and right and saw that baking was on my left, so I started there. There was one cookbook that was displayed: Krystine’s Healthy Gourmet Cookbook by Krystine Crowell. I flipped through, and in the first several pages, I saw a nonfat whole-wheat blueberry scone recipe that caught my attention. I decided that I would take the book and I would make the recipe that night. All I needed was the yogurt and blueberries.

I turned to the right and eased my way down until I saw some Mexican cookbooks. I took two. I wanted to wander a bit, but as always, time slips right by me when I’m in the library. I knew that I couldn’t browse for too much longer because I had to get home and wash dishes and start on dinner. But I did make a last stop to scan the new books and that’s where I found The Public Library: A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson. I flipped through and knowing that I wouldn’t have time to read it now, I would have time to skim and I wanted to take my time looking at the different libraries that he included in his book. One sculpture in the book took my breath away. Titled “Psyche” it touched something deep within my own: A huge sculpture in the shape of a head, made up of roughly fifteen hundred small sculptures of books and butterflies, suspended in air.

That was my last book, I went to the self-check machine to check out the handful of books that should have only been the one that I came for. The machine beeped at me and said my card was about to expire and that I needed to go to the circulation desk. I took my books and walked up to the standing desk. The librarian asked how she could help me and I explained. She just needed my identification and my library card would be renewed for another three years. She looked up, as she was typing into her computer and said, “Your shirt is making me want to be in Hawaii.” I looked down at my deep blue Hawaiian shirt with large white flower blossoms. I looked up and smiled.

“Oh, you’re a Cancer she said,” looking down at my identification. “I’m a Cancer too. My birthday is on the 20th. I see your on the cusp.”

“Yes, I’m right on the very end, but I am a Cancer.”

It was refreshing to have someone actually bring up their own astrological sign, someone who was older, and relate to me. So many times, I’ve done the same.

“Have you been to Hawaii before?”

I thought about this because I knew I had, but it was so long ago I had to remember one island or two. “Yes.”

“Which islands?”

And so, we continued our brief conversation, two friendly Cancers, as she processed my library card renewal. She told me how she was married in Kauai and what a beautiful island it is. I mentioned how I had heard many good things about it, but that’s one of the islands I had not been to.

We finished up and instead of going to the self-check machine, I had the librarian check my books out. She was such a kindred spirit, a nice change from dealing with machines and others that are too busy or who aren’t’ as friendly.

And this friendly exchange was all thanks to my expiring library card and my Hawaiian shirt.

After dinner, I told hubby that my plan was to bake, then study. He looked at me and said you should study first. I said, “I need to bake first because it relaxes me! Then I’ll study.”

I did make the blueberry scones first and they were different. They looked pleasing. They lacked a little flavor, especially after coming after oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bars. With a little dab of butter, I think they’ll be almost perfect.

“Untitled (Cockatoo and Corks)”
http://www.wikiart.org/en/joseph-cornell/untitled-cockatoo-and-corks-1948

“Psyche” – Sculpture at the Main Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
http://culturenow.org/entry&permalink=19914&seo=Psyche_Ralph-Helmick-and-Stuart-Schechter

Blueberry Scone Recipe
http://recipecircus.com/recipes/Buny/Scones/Nonfat_Whole_Wheat_Blueberry_Scones.html