Friday, February 11, 2011

Credit where credit's due post

It seems to be awards season out there in the entertainment world, which means time to thank everyone who helped me get to where I am today. As it were.

I have two excellent public libraries at my disposal, which is a darn good thing given the number of books I consume. Don't get me wrong, it's an addiction, so I'm sure I'd miss credit card payments and send my children to school in holes-ridden clothes if that's what it took to feed my habit, but fortunately I don't have to. (So for those of you wondering - no, the holes-ridden clothes aren't because I can't take care of my boys. It's because they're in charge of their own laundry, and also, the younger one actually chews through his shirts.)

A special shout-out to my county library, by the way - I've had a card there since I was 10 or so. It's on the way from my middle school to my childhood home, and many were the days that I'd call my grandmother from the pay phone in its foyer to ask her to pick me up, since I'd checked out too many books to carry home. (I was the kid who read as she walked from class to class, and during class, and waiting in the lunch line for my daily PB&J and Diet Coke, and on the way home. It will shock you to learn I was also a teacher's pet.)

Anyway, I think it's rare that a magical place from one's youth can be just as vital in middle age, but my library grew with me, and I treasure it. Sometimes when I drop in to pick up my holds, the librarian will tell me I've just missed my husband; the place is a family institution now, too. Plus it has stellar on-line resources for patrons.

This one's my favorite!
But how to keep up with all those library books? Can't dog-ear the pages, that's just rude. Fortunately a friend of mine runs Butterfly Garden Creations, where she makes lovely laminated pressed-flower bookmarks. So many advantages: unique gift item, laminated means when I read in the bath I'm less likely to end up surrounded by dissolving notepaper, and those hardback books from the library? These bookmarks fit perfectly into the space between the inside cover and the plastic-covered book jacket.

If you see someone who looks like me
but who isn't attached to this MP3
player, it's probably my sister or
some other impostor instead.
But it's not all paper and ink with me, nosireebob. It's the digital age, so now when I want books while I walk, work, and wait for lunch, I listen to them on my SanDisk Sansa Clip. It's tiny, it clips onto my shirt collar or bra strap, it holds eight or ten books / tons of podcasts, and it works seamlessly with all of the free digital downloads from my libraries. I also use it to record my son's concerts and the occasional stray idea I have when driving or otherwise not in an optimal note-taking situation.

And where do I come up with so many books to put on hold at the library? The county library monthly e-newsletters for new fiction and audiobooks. The Writer's Block podcast. NPR Books podcast. Audio File's podcast. Online communities full of smart people with good ideas. Browsing at my local bookstores. Recommendations from friends. Recommendations from enemies. (Just kidding. I don't have enemies. At least, none I know about. If I'm wrong - if YOU'RE my enemy! - recommend a book and we'll see how we get on.)


  1. And how do I keep my book club stocked with fresh ideas every month? Follow Melanie and other voracious reader friends, shamelessly stealing ideas. You are my saviors in more ways than you know.

  2. Aw, thanks for the shout-out Mel! I'll return the favor and pimp your blog on mine in my next post (assuming I ever get time to make anything new any time soon!)

  3. It's the Circle of Book Recommendations, K. We all keep each other going.

    You're more than welcome, L. I love your work!