Friends of the Library Booksale

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” - Lemony Snicket Each May and October, a phenomenal transformation occurs. Over four weeks, a giant warehouse  filled to overflowing with more than 250,000 volumes of books, magazines, DVDs, puzzles, and games, is emptied by booklovers across Tompkins County and beyond. It's the Friends of the Library Booksale, one of my top three favorite things about Ithaca. I have attended and bought books at every sale (and numerous times throughout the sale) for at least ten years, though I skipped one or two during Covid.  It's an event that reinvigorates my hope for the world. Aisle after aisle of books of every genre you can think of, and many you can't, all donated with the sole purpose of passing on entertainment and education, as well as raising money for the TC Public Library. In this modern world of digital media, virtual reality, social technology (all of which have their costs and benefits) I remain astounded that I

I Love Books

This is what you need to know about me: I love books. 

  • I spent whole days of my youth lying on my bedroom floor, oblivious to the rest of the household, absorbed in someone else's words. Whether it was Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, or the latest murder mystery from the used book store, I read those pages straight through in a few hours. 
  • In college I switched to Shakespeare, self-help/self-love, and whatever literary works the professors assigned, my eyes opening to new styles and forms and stories. 
  • I carried more books than generally advisable on my Appalachian Trail thru-hike. 
  • I challenged myself to read 8 books each from 8 different categories in 2008. (I didn't quite make it with only about 55 books that year.) 
  • During my MFA, I read at least a dozen books per semester on topics related to my studies and thesis. 
  • I reviewed books on this site for ages.
  • Every spring and fall I visit the Tompkins County Public Library Book Sale where the highest priced book is $4, and come home with bag after bag after bag of books for me, my kids, my husband, and my Little Free Library. 
  • I'm the liaison from the Legislature to the TCPL Library Board.

You get my point. I love books. 

And yet, over the past two years, I've slowed down on reading books, as I've sped up on Netflix, social media, ogling dollhouses online, and watching the Mets with Rob all spring and summer. It's like exercise: I know it will be good for me, I know I will feel better for doing it, but somehow it feels hard to fit into my days. I can blame it on our current world, which is overflowing with technology, images, and noise. But the truth is, I've been lazy. It's easier to eat too many chips in front of the TV, than to take myself outside for a long walk or cuddle up with a good book. As spring unfurls, I'm feeling the extra weight. 

A recent Gallup article states, "The new data on book reading reinforce that the popularity of reading is waning, with Americans reading an average of three fewer books last year than they did five years ago and had typically read for the past three decades." The average American woman read 15.7 books in 2021. I read about 8. 

I may be average in many, many ways, but I refuse to be average when it comes to books. So, I'm making a commitment to reading more. If I want to call myself a literary citizen and promote others, if I want to keep up with what's happening in the literary world, if I want to educate myself and enjoy some powerful entertainment, I need to read more. 

This morning, I took a long walk and felt strength returning to my body. This afternoon I'll sit down with a book and get a glimpse of the old feelings of whole days reading on my bedroom floor: luxurious, entertained, happy.


To keep myself accountable, I'm going to share my current reads regularly on this blog. I have piles off books next to the bed, but here's what I'm actively reading. 

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny. #3 in the Inspector Gamache series. 


seanc49 said…
Add this book to your reading list:

It'll give you a little perspective as to why Netflix is winning the war for our attention.

Love that you are back to blogging btw.