Branching out

Call me a throwback…but I’m at my local public library branch at least once a week, more often when I’m stressed out about something and I need to take in the smell of old paper pages and a tad bit of mold. But roughly 70% of the books I check out don’t get read. And for maybe 30% of that 70%, I don’t even crack open the cover. (I feel a word problem coming on…If Anjali checks out twelve books a week, and 70% of them don’t get read, and 30% don’t even get opened, how many books simply sit on the floor in the mud room before getting returned? Solve for x.)

It’s almost as if my library is the school car line. I drop books off, I pick them up. I drop them off, I pick them up. There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Because I actually do quite a bit of reading. But with the number of books I read for work and for school, that number’s not nearly as high enough as I would like.

In the past month, one of the only two non-school, non-work books I’ve read is Ann Patchett’s This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. If I were to form a literary religion, where writer-worshippers vowed to love and support the pursuit of the written word, its holy trinity would be Anne Lamott, Ann Patchett and Stephen King. I hear their soft, soothing voices in my ear whenever I am confronted with Doubt as to whether this is what I should be doing.

But I’ve gotten off track a bit. Here’s my confession: Whenever I’m standing in front of the new book shelves at the public library, I  close my eyes and wish that the binding of my novel would magically appear. It’s a silly thing, I know. But I dream for the day I open my eyes, and I see my novel looking right back at me.

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Disney's Animal Kingdom. The tree of life.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The tree of life.

Last week we spent a few days at Disneyworld. I don’t know what it is about that place, but I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. Thank goodness my youngest child is still only 5. I will have many years there to come. Because I honestly don’t know who gets more excited about seeing Mickey Mouse, me or her.

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Speaking of books I read for work, I’ve read some great ones, and I can’t wait to write about them. My latest is B.J. Novak’s debut short story collection One More Thing. Novak was a writer, actor and executive producer of The Office. Clearly, he’s a jack of all trades. My review of his collection is here.