Getting to know my library

a library
Recently I blogged about my reading resolutions for 2016. One of them was to spend some time in my library. As I mentioned, we have been back in the house of over a year and I hadn’t spent much time in the library at all. I not entirely sure why that was, but since I made the resolution I have taken steps to rectify the situation. I’m happy to say a few simple steps have unblocked whatever mental blocks I may have had that were getting in the way of enjoying this great room.

Joan, who blogs at Planet Joan, commented on my New Year’s post that she sometimes finds herself distracted by all the books in her library, as if they were whispering to her and breaking her concentration. In my current mood I have found that my books appear to be whispering encouragement, almost egging me on to read. Sometimes when I am at a bookstore I get so excited about books that I feel the need to run home and read something. That’s kind of what’s happening right now with my library. I’m finding them inspirational rather than distracting.

The first thing I had to do was a bit of organizing. In general my books were pretty well organized but I had kind of stuffed John’s books every which way. That muddle, along with the stacks of books I bought this summer were keeping me from feeling relaxed enough to read in the room. Thankfully it wasn’t a wholesale organizing effort that was necessary (like the one in the picture. That would have kept me from reading for a week. But I did weed out about three bags of books, get my recent acquisitions on the shelves and sort out John’s books.

The second thing was to get some music in the room. I don’t need music to read, but I definitely needed something that would allow me to listen to my neglected classical CD collection. That option has warmed up the room and made it much more of a destination for me.

The third thing I did was reassess the comfort of the one chair in the room. It really does work pretty well for reading but less so for napping. Turns out not being able to nap in the chair is actually conducive to reading, but somewhere I got it in my head that the chair wasn’t comfy for reading.

With these simple changes in place I have actually been reading in my library. It helped that John was out of town one night this week so instead of being cozy with him on the couch in the family room I was cozy in the library instead.

One morning I had 20 minutes before I needed to leave for work so I thought I would go in the library and read. I found myself distracted by a book on the shelf, but in a really good way. I saw a volume that I had zero, and I mean zero, recollection of buying. I was intrigued enough to take it off the shelf and sit and read it for 20 minutes. That’s my definition of a good distraction. The book was…

a brahmsAn Evening with Brahms
Richard Sennett

Although I couldn’t remember buying this book, I wasn’t surprised that I did. I’m always on the look out for novels that depict classical music in an interesting and intelligent way and this book certainly looked like it might fit the bill. With lots of wonderful detail about cello pedagogy, the world of classical music making, and descriptions of various pieces of music the novel tells a fascinating family and marriage tale that encompasses the U.S. immigrant experience, the Chicago business world of the 20s-50s, the U.S. Communist Party, race relations, and New York in the 1970s. It was almost as if my favorite sociology, history, and music professors had gotten together and wrote an interesting novel. Incidentally, Sennett wrote about three novels in the 1980s but has spent the rest of his career teaching and writing (since at least 1969) in the field of sociology. And his sociology texts look as interesting as his novels.

10 thoughts on “Getting to know my library

  1. Ti January 17, 2016 / 1:00 pm

    It’s really a beautiful room. I almost feel as if you need a couch in there. But that’s me. Reading is relaxing and I do sometimes want to nap for a tiny bit now and then.


  2. Pam- Travellin'Penguin January 17, 2016 / 6:48 pm

    Beautiful room. I did much the same thing. Organised my books though need to do some more. Am always pulling things n off the shelf. I put a wireless speaker in there so I can use the Pandora app on my tablet and I have a 1900s console radio to listen to the ABC. Record player and CD player in a small unit on top of radio. Then I got the chair. Then I never used the room. I know exactly why you didn’t use yours, but I made a resolution to get in there, sit down and read. Now I am loving it. A real hidey hole when I want to leave the chaos of 5 animals all being awake at the same time.


  3. lailaarch January 17, 2016 / 11:18 pm

    Very envious of your shelves! Lovely. I’m glad you’re enjoying reading in your library.


  4. Liz Dexter January 18, 2016 / 7:57 am

    Love that room and glad you’re engaging more with it now. I’d pop a chaise longue in there, myself!


  5. Readermom January 18, 2016 / 12:37 pm

    Love your room! I wish I had one room that I could dedicate to my books and reading. They are scattered throughout the house in various book cases/shelves (I think there may be one in every room!) What type of chair is comfortable enough to read in but not conducive to napping?


  6. Joan Kyler January 19, 2016 / 8:42 am

    I have an old but functional CD / vinyl / cassette / radio device in my library. I have an extensive vinyl and CD classical collection, too, but almost never listen to it. You keep inspiring me, Thomas! I’ve been reading in my library more since your post. Now I think I’ll start listening to my music more often. Hell, I might even get back to needlepointing and drawing.


  7. Susan in TX January 19, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    So glad you are reading in your library and enjoying it. Finally got my older two back to college as of this week, so I’m hoping I’ll re-find my reading time. We’ve been enjoying lots of games, but my introverted quiet self is ready to curl up and read like a fiend. And I may have to quit visiting your blog for a while…every time I pop in, you are causing me to add more books to the list that I want to read. The Sennett book looks right up my alley, and I’m guessing my music major daughter would enjoy it as well. Happy reading and music listening to you in that beautiful room! (And, of course, I’m just kidding about quitting reading the blog.)


  8. Geoff W January 21, 2016 / 7:37 am

    Oh I love the early morning library read! It’s like a dream for me, now I just go and curl up in a big chair in the living room and try to relax before the day starts.


  9. Chris Wolak February 13, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    An Evening with Brahms sounds delightful. I often regret giving up the cello in middle school. You’re inspiring me to finally organize my new shelves. Stacks of books I bought last summer are causing me reader’s block.


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