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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Thank Goodness for Libraries…

Seriously. Thank Goodness. Back when I was a lawyer (if you care, that story is on here) I had infinite amounts of disposable income and could buy all the books that I wanted. It. Was. Glorious. But now that I’m in charge of keeping a toddler alive and managing a house with two teenagers and another adult in it (Hello Family!), the only things I seem to have infinite amounts of are garbage and laundry. It. Is. Not. Glorious. (teehee, but it is lovely – life is all about tradeoffs, right?) Fortunately, I am hometown-adjacent, which means access to my hometown library. HOORAY!
library books
I love the library. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. Have ever since I was a kid – my parents having also been of the garbage/laundry infinity school rather than the disposable income one… I remember gathering great armfuls of books to bring home, as often as I could. My grade school was next door to the library, so I’d go every day after school and read and lurk in the aisles until my dad was done with work and would pick me up to go home. Again, glorious.

I left home for college in DC and lost interest in the library for a while – a wealth of free museums and cool city events and too much mandatory reading and working-my-way-through-school-ness meant not so much time or interest for copious fun reading. I still read, don’t get me wrong, but the only armfuls of books I routinely toted around were textbooks (I was a philosophy major, teehee). I graduated and worked full-time (and played a lot, teehee) and once again libraries fell by the wayside. Then I went to law school and, well, let’s just say if you read a lot as a philosophy major, it doesn’t hold a candle to what you do as a law student… Still, the law school library had a surprisingly great fiction section, and I did check out a few books from time to time. I’ve always suffered from intermittent insomnia, it seems, and the crazy school work meant crazy hours, which threw my sleep patterns into manic disarray to say the least. Couple that with the fact that I didn’t know a soul in Chicago when I moved there for school and as a result I found myself with rather more alone time than one would expect…

Then I graduated and it was off to the exciting (HA!) world of law firms and a new city (Philadelphia) – and not just a new city, but the HOME of libraries! Thank you Ben Franklin… I’ll be polite and tactfully say that law firm life was not so much for me, and as a result I find myself in need of escapes in a way I hadn’t since I was a child. Enter the most fabulous library I’d encountered (then and to date) – the Philadelphia Free Library system. I had a great local branch just a couple of blocks from my apartment, but more importantly, I was within walking distance of the main branch. It was incredible – there was literally nothing I couldn’t access. I read like a fiend again, and even though the disposable income was there, I didn’t avail myself of it because I loved that library so much. There’s something about walking into a cathedral of books that just gets me – I know, I know, I’m a huge dork, blah blah blah. Whatever. I embrace it. It was a gorgeous building that offered amazing events (authors, readings, signings, lectures) and I went every chance I got.

I left the actual city for the ‘burbs when I fled the firm for the private sector. Great move in many many ways – but boy did I miss that library. I heard the local suburban one was good also – they had just put a green roof garden in, I heard there were great curators, I could still access amazing collections via interlibrary loan… But somehow it never felt the same – I was spoiled by the city version, and found myself at the local Barnes & Noble instead of the library. It was all good – I still have all those books, after all, which is a a great thing to have access to with a toddler in the house, believe you me. But I missed the library.

I finally figured out, somewhere in the middle there, that I love the feel of a great library, as much as the actual books inside of it. A cool realization.

So when I decided to leave industry and moved back to the ol’ homefront, one of the things I was tres excited about was the return of a great, comfortable library. It’s not exactly the greatest collection – size dictates that, unfortunately, as does budget. This small town simply doesn’t have the resources available to a major city library system. There always seem to be books I can’t access, even via interlibrary loan or ebooks. Partly this is due to my quirky reading tastes and penchant for out of print authors. But mostly I think it’s due to budgetary and space restraints. Which sucks, but which I deal with because I still love love love this library. It’s small and comfortable and I know where everything is. There are a couple of librarians that I have known since I was a kid, which is delightfully surprising and fantastic and all good things like that. I can wander in, browse, read in “my” chair (I swear I’m the only person who ever sits there, and am more than half tempted to ask for a plaque teehee)… I bring in Toddler Daughter and we play in the children’s room and borrow books and read in the big double rocking chair. I attend lectures and movie discussions and am a Friend of the Library and smile every time I find myself pulling into the driveway.

Pretty cool roundabout journey, no?

And the picture is my latest checkout set – don’t you just love looking at a stack of new books?? If you want more info, here are descriptions – I have rather eclectic taste, to say the least, so it’s no more a representative set than any other checkout stack, but it’s what looked good this week… I usually have some non-fiction sprinkled in, but for some reason nothing new grabbed me this time. Check one – or more – out, and let me know what you think!

  • A Robot in the Garden
  • Join
  • Dead Ringers
  • The Travelers – this is the only one I’ve started. It started pretty slowly, honestly, but is picking up nicely about 100 pages in. I LOVED The Expats, and have high hopes for this one going forward…
  • West of Sunset
  • The Rook – I LOVED this one when I first read it, have been waiting for the sequelforever it seems… So this is a reread because I’m prepping for The Stiletto, which just came out and my library doesn’t have yet, grr. If you haven’t seen this one, definitely give it a look – it hit a couple of snags in the middle, but was a fantastic story and you’ll be intrigued by Myfanwy I think…
  • The Accident
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