Discovering New Books

The Borders book store at the mall.

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Dear Borders, I Miss You.

Once upon a time, in my perfect world, there was a bookstore named Borders in the next big town over. Unfortunately, my life took a huge dive when they closed, my social life as well. Borders was such a great place to meet up with friends, you could both look for books and have coffee downstairs and talk. I would go there at least twice a week if not more. Since they closed, I have certainly have saved money and I use the library much more often, I miss having a place to look at new books.

There used to be a small independent bookstore in my town but that closed too, a devastating loss to the community. I think it’s a horrible situation, are the only bookstores on-line now? That seems sad to me.

I get ideas on-line from looking at Amazon.com, from magazines that review books, from the NY Times Book Review or from a glance at a book cover I find riveting. I ask friends what they are reading or do research on new fiction and non-fiction books. I love the library system and I appreciate them, now more than ever, but I do miss Borders, in every possible way. I thought of it as my home away from home, with their big comfy chairs and everyone talking books. I would start random conversations with strangers perusing books, it was its own community. Sigh, it’s a new world; not one that I particularly like.

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My Favorite Place to Read and Write

Starbucks Mug

Image by Schtumple via Flickr

I Don’t Have To Go Far….

Sigh. My BED. Lying down on my stomach, sideways, across the bed is my favorite place to read and write. It is really an uncomfortable position for anyone who has Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain like I do but I continue to do it. It helps me think. My elbow joints are always tender and they throb in pain and I do know it’s partly my fault but it probably won’t change my guilty habit unless I am forced to medically. My other place on my bed is using a 1970’s brown cushion pillow with back support that I have had since college. It’s true, I still use it and it has those silly arms and it looks horrible, but it still feels good. We refer to it, at home, as “the brown thing.”  My husband insists it’s called a television pillow. Okay.

I have gone to the library on many occasions to write but got distracted by the silence. Since our kitchen is being demolished soon so we can renovate it,  my peaceful haven on my bed will be unthinkable for two months. I will be surrounded by dust and noise, LOUD noise, and there will be no relief at home. That is when I will head back to the library because I will be seeking the silence that troubled me before.

However, I am determined to bring my computer to Starbucks next week to see if I get inspired. It’s a good excuse to people-watch and treat myself to a nice cup of coffee in a mug instead of the take-away paper kind. I have a feeling I will be surrounded by young moms and toddlers, I was young once and did that too. It’s worth a shot. Perhaps a double.

P.S.I’m not thrilled that my favorite reading and especially writing spot is my bed but it does come in handy during those long, arduous, winter months.

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In Defense Of My Vice: BOOKS

Books behind the bed

My only vice is books. (I really want to say are because it sounds better). Books not borrowed from the library but books I need to buy and own. I am in love with Borders and when I enter the store I feel relieved. Physically, I let out a full breath and begin to relax. For the last year I have been going to the library (at times) and borrowing books due to financial reasons. But, if find a favorite, I will, sometime in the future, buy the paperback copy to own. I reread books, I lend my books to others. My vice probably started every Saturday afternoon of my childhood where my whole family would walk miles to get to the not-so-local library. It was a tradition. Later in life, when I was working, I would spend hours at bookstores, holding the books, taken in by the covers or the titles or both. Why would I quit? I wouldn’t quit; I will still keep on reading and imagining other people’s lives and then coming home, happily to my own.

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Arnold Palmer, Skinny Cows, Books, Music and Me

I never thought I had an addictive personality but now I am not so sure.  I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol, in fact I don’t drink or do drugs at all. I hate the taste of alcohol (with the exception of a really good Mojito but I can only drink half of one). However, I realized I am addicted to certain things and all new products. I am a public relations’ pleasure, I am the ultimate consumer and if I find something new that I like, like turns to love and love to obsession immediately.

I am now in love with Arnold Palmer’s lite Iced Tea and Lemonade drink.  My son, 17, turned me on to it and I drink it constantly. Usually I go for months adoring the product then I get so sick of it that I stop completely. I refuse to believe it will happen to my new love beverage but I tend to say that about everything I have been in love with. What happens is that I cycle through an addiction, find a new one and circle back. It’s a harmless beverage addiction and it makes me happy, besides we’re supposed to drink more water!  Do I go through withdrawal symptoms when I don’t have some? No, as long as there is some in the house. If not, I get anxious, seriously anxious. Perhaps I should consider rehab or an intervention?

I also am addicted to books and unfortunately not the books in the library although I go there quite often. I once bought a Kindle (gee, thanks Oprah) because of the number of books I read but that didn’t last long. I missed holding the book in my hand, I missed the texture and the feel of the paper, the fact that I could not write my name in bold, script letters on the first page to claim it as my own. I devour every word, sometimes highlighting, turning the pages deliciously and slowly, one by one.

I am the same way with music, my computer practically plays “Recently Played” songs almost automatically. I will listen to these 25 songs over and over again for a really long time. It’s something about the comfort of the repetition and the familiarity of those favorites that make me happy. Sometimes I will get sick of them, (although it’s been a long haul for the latest batch and I’m still listening to them) and I will move on to the next….eventually.   For now “I Dreamed A Dream” sung by the Glee cast has been played at least fifty times, okay everything from the Glee cast has been played at least 50 times, followed by the Plain White T’s song “1,2,3,4.” and Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze’s duet “Falling Slowly” from American Idol. When all else fails I still turn to John Denver for comfort and nostalgic memories of my youth. His song  “This Old Guitar” actually  soothes me, and so much more natural than a Valium.

The third and final fave for this month are Skinny Cows Vanilla with Caramel swirl ice cream cones. Oh, the sticky sweetness of the caramel swirl and the soothing vanilla ice cream (ice milk?) too. You get the crunch of a “real” ice cream cone with fewer calories. The best to come is that silky smoothness of chocolate that comes at the very end of the cone and it’s unbelievably dreamy. Simple pleasures for hard times.

When things are going badly, like for the past eleven months or so (unemployment, health) I have to force myself, like now, to focus on the good, the tried and true, the familiar instead of being overwhelmed with self-pity, (I admit I held a pity party today). Today there was a lot of “Everybody Hurts” sung by The Corrs’. I will be over myself by tomorrow, I promise.   I need to take deep breaths and walk in the sun, with my dog at my side, instead of sitting inside with my trustworthy laptop, playing music I’ve heard a hundred times already.

*I am not a spokesperson for the aforementioned products, I wish.