Something Old, Something New

Rather than ‘something borrowed and something blue,’ this is ‘something old and something new.’

I was looking at my bookshelves today and thought of something. About twelve years ago, due to a move and then not having any bookshelves I got rid of almost all my books. My collection wasn’t large at all back then, but I had read most everything I owned and not having any shelves posed a problem. I kept a few favorites and stuck them in a closet. Horrible, I know.

I’m older and thankfully much wiser (ha!) now. That, and my husband built some incredible bookshelves (which I’m sure he regrets because it only made my book collection grow) for me. The majority of the books on my shelves are unread because I have been working on building my collection over the past several years. I do keep what I’ve read, but only if I really love it.

So looking at my shelves I thought it might be fun to do a post on ‘something old, something new.’ Meaning, something I’ve read and kept (“old”) and something I haven’t read yet (“new”).

‘Something old‘: Nemesis by Philip Roth

My neighbor, friend, and fellow bookworm Frank gave this book to me a few months back. I devoured it in about two days. It’s about the polio epidemic of 1944 and the effect it has on a tight-knit community in New Jersey. Going in to this book, I knew a little about polio. Typically children today are vaccinated against it, but I know before the vaccination existed, many who contracted it were left paralyzed. What I didn’t know is that it often killed those who contracted it, and quickly. It came on with a fever and then quickly escalated in to a terrible disaster and tragedy. This story follows a twenty-something playground director who begins losing some of the children he cares for to polio. No one was able to uncover where or why polio was becoming rampant in that area. He ends up working at a summer camp where the air is supposed to be “pure of contaminants.” From there the story continues its devastating path. I do recommend Nemesis, if anything it will give you an introduction to Philip Roth. Continuing on yesterday’s thread, Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral in 1998.

Here is ‘Something New’: The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern

This book has been around for a few years now, but I’ve yet to read it, so it’s new to me. Morganstern has a new book out this November titled, The Starless Sea. TNC looks like a fun read and I know many of you have read it-so please share your thoughts about it. Did you enjoy it, do you think it’s worth reading?

For those bookworms who are out of the three-ring-circus loop like me and haven’t read this, here is the Amazon synopsis:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

‘Something Old and Something New’ is new to this blog. It came about sort of on its’ own and I think I’ll let it run its course, unless I run out of books!

Sincerely,

tmc

“My life is a reading list.”

– John Irving

Collect

I am a book collector.

This isn’t a secret. Within my collection there are a few authors that I collect more specifically. The four I can name off the top of my head are Philip Roth, Stephen King, Daphne duMaurier, and Agatha Christie. This list has developed quite organically over many years.

What draws us to collect and ultimately keep? For me, these authors themselves as well as their words intrigue me on a personal level. Their books all have an aesthetic quality that captures my eye, often it is hard to resist grabbing an additional copy when I come across one. My mind races with thoughts like, what if the copy I have becomes lost or damaged?

In a world that is constantly throwing the new in our faces and pushing us to multi-task, it’s interesting to see what makes us pause and at times, shut out the extra noise to simply take in the moment in front of us. Thankfully there isn’t an app for that, yet.

When I get the chance to visit a book store or library, I think my mind must experience something attune to angels singing. I don’t visit very often, because it’s something I usually do alone and those moments are hard to come by.

So I will continue to collect books until I am quite possibly buried by them. And if you care to look closer you might just be able to find the books that make my heart happiest.

“Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high.”

-Arnold Lobel