It was back in Texas that I rediscovered the library. During our childhood summers, Mom would take us to our local library for the summer reading program, and the magic of getting to take home as many books as I want for a few weeks at a time has never left me. During medical school, we couldn't afford the number of books I wanted to buy, and so I ventured out to get my own library card. I walked out with my first pile of books, knowing I wouldn't read them all but grateful for the options, and thought of what a wonderful thing libraries are.
His & Hers Book Piles
For how much I read, library books make a lot of sense and have been a real blessing. They have saved us money, taught us about the word, and brought us hours of relaxation and enrichment. I now have library cards with three different counties here in Minnesota. I use their apps with ebooks and audiobooks, and always have a stack of potential books to read on my bedside table. Matt picks out his books too, and we've enjoyed many evenings together reading and listening to music or sitting by the fire.
Sometimes, when a book really affects me, it's hard to give it back. Those are the books I buy and keep with me, to remind me of their stories and what they taught me, to lend to friends, and (only sometimes) to reread. So I've got a lot to thank the library for- for new favorites and old classics, for new "it" books waiting on hold, and even for the books I try but abandon simply because they are there for the taking. For the feeling you get when you wonder about how many other readers will experience the book in your hands and for when you think of all that the book in your hands has seen, heard, and experienced for itself.
The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack
Because I loved Julieanne Donaldson's "Proper Romances" Edenbrooke and Blackmoore, I thought I should give this "Historical Proper Romance" a try. It's based on the true love story of Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish poet, and while it was more historical fiction than chick-lit, it was still a well-told story with insight into the makings of enduring relationships. The book begins and ends with this quote from Sir Walter Scott:
"Scare one person out of twenty marries his first love, and scare one out of twenty of the remainder has cause to rejoice at having done so. What we love in those early days is generally rather more a fanciful creation of own than a reality. We build statues of snow, and weep when they melt..."
The story unfolds in such as a way that it perfectly captures the differences between love and flirtation, novelty and substance. It is not always fire, but often candlelight, not always in words, but more so in actions, and requires each individual to know themselves before they can really know and love another.
The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell
I came across this book in a rather roundabout way. Chatsworth is one of the great British estates used as Pemberley in an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, and the previous Duchess of Devonshire (seated at Chatsworth) was one of these famed Mitford sisters. I learned a bit about them, and their family story is intermingled with many of the most important events of the early 19th century, so naturally, I was intrigued. In their time, they each in turn appeared regularly in the gossip columns with their weddings "of the season," and novels based in part on their lives, and their escapades with Nazis and Communism. They're quite an interesting group! Their stories, intermingled with some of histories greatest stories make for pretty good reading.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Truth be told, I almost gave up on this book. It took a while to get started, is primarily dialogue, and was not a thrilling mystery. However, once the story really gets going, it's fun to see it all unfold and come together. Plus, I had to preserver on my first attempt at a book that wasn't nonfiction or historical fiction set in England! I went with this book because it is a classic that I'd never read, I love a good mystery, AND they've made it into a movie with a pretty fabulous cast.