Posted in this&that

So many books, so little time

I’ve been fascinated by books forever, probably since I was a year old and got my very own first book: Cable Car Joey. We lived in Palo Alto, just outside San Francisco, and I’m told I liked to ride the cable cars. So, Cable Car Joey. I still have the book.

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. ~  Jorge Luis Borges

I love all books, but I love old books, especially. The musty smell in itself is like an adventure: Hello book, where have you been, who have you met, why do you smell so good?

And, I love bookstores and libraries. I’m a junkie. Until a few years ago when I started to downsize, I still had every book I’d every owned, several rescued from dumpsters and elsewhere, and castoffs from friends. Now that I’m downsized to just the very few I really can’t live without, I spend even more time in bookstores and libraries.

I really like bookstores with comfy chairs and sofas to sit and read a bit;  those with coffee are even nicer. But I love them all. I love the quaint ones with bells on the door and a resident cat, big, old rambling bookstores, bookstores in old buildings with many floors and confusing staircases, little ones, big ones, old or new, and yes, even big box bookstores. They are all places to spend hours just browsing, reading and soaking up the total joy of having so many books together in one place!

Libraries, too. We’ve got wonderful libraries where I am now and I’m known by sight, if not by name, at the main branch. I frequently choose to spend my daily writing time in one of the many magnificent spots they’ve designed for writers and students. And, then I browse the shelves and catalog until I find more books to put on my already lengthy hold list.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.  ~ Anna Quindlen, “Enough Bookshelves,” New York Times, 7 August 1991

The greatest gift we can give anyone is the love of reading. I consider myself fortunate: my mother read to me often when I was young, and took me to the library for my first card when I could barely print my name. I’ve had a book in hand nearly every day since. The love of books and reading is the greatest gift my mother ever gave me.

My first library, in Lincoln Park, Long Beach, California. A project of the WPA, it was a beautiful building that smelled richly of so many books.

Well, that and the advice to marry a man with a good sense of humor, one  who would always make me laugh. One who, apparently, would also just shake his head and laugh as he moved my many, many boxes of books several times over thirty years.



I'm a writer making my way through life and offering observations as I go. Old enough to know better but that doesn't stop me.

2 thoughts on “So many books, so little time

  1. I am the grandson of Naomi and Lorin MacCabe who wrote “Cable Car Joey”. I’m happy that it has meaning an memories for you. It sure does in our family. I am looking to purchase any copies you might come across in order for my children to each have a copy.
    Thanks again for your blog.
    Bret MacCabe

    1. Oh my gosh. I’m so honored to hear from you. I treasure my book. It’s in mint condition. It’s the book my parents used to teach me the value of books and how to handle them properly. I love it! I’m going to make a copy of your note and keep it will the book! I wish you luck in your search for more copies and will certainly look for more copies for you. Email me at ifs you would like to give me a way to reach you in case I find anything. Thanks for the comment! Emma

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