Here’s to All Who Love Books and Caffeine!
All my life, I’ve been a bookworm. My mom read to us kids, and as soon as I could, I learned to do it for myself. Fortunately, there was a good supply of children’s books in my house, and by the time I was seven or eight, I was regularly going to the public library. When my own children came along, I read to them, too, and hoped they’d develop a love of books. My daughters all enjoy reading, and lately, my middle daughter, Katie, has gotten the book bug BAD.
My Mother's Day Gift
It cracks me up! All of a sudden, it seems, she’s really into it, posting on social media the latest titles she’s read, and even developing an online book club with many enthusiastic members. For Mother’s Day, she gifted me with three “Blind Dates with a Book”, a clever idea and quite fun for me. She also sells these on Etsy, and just this past week, opened a cute little consignment shop selling used books and coffee items. (She loves books a latte!) I have to admit, as a retiree with a bit too much time on my hands, I was delighted to offer my services in entering books on her inventory and putting on the price stickers. Mindless, repetitive tasks are my wheelhouse. Really, it’s a gift.
It all makes me think about what it has meant in my life to be a bookworm. A compulsive reader. In 2022, I kept track on Goodreads of all the books I read that year. It added up to 101 books, or 29,354 pages read. (And that didn’t count magazines!) I haven’t kept a list this year, but I’m currently plowing my way through Truman, by David McCullough, a beast of a book running 1,120 pages about our 33rd president. It’s for my book club and I don’t believe I’ll get it finished in time, but I’ll do my best!
One of the three books I received.
And the thing is, books have shaped me as a person. I tend to read character-driven books, more than plot-driven, because I’m not so much interested in solving a crime as I am in seeing how other people live their lives. I read a lot of historical fiction (a favorite author is Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, whose Morland Dynasty series runs to 35 books, and I’ve read them all TWICE), and I read a lot of older fiction. Books by Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen, E.F. Benson, P.G. Wodehouse, Henry James, and more. Seeing how their characters handle certain problems in their lives has definitely influenced the way I look at things myself. It helps me understand people who have a different point of view and different experiences. And it helps me understand myself.
Most of the time, reading is a solitary pursuit. My husband enjoys reading a book occasionally, but we read different kinds of things and don’t discuss them much. I joined a book club at least ten years ago, though, and found I really did enjoy talking about the books we read with this group of smart, opinionated women. The book club got me to read things I probably wouldn’t have, otherwise, and to enjoy them. Of the 101 books I read last year, only 9 were for my book club, but I did write a short review on Goodreads for all 101 books, and that opened up a discussion sometimes with other readers. But generally, reading has been something I do for me, myself, and I.
Yet, here’s Katie, for whom it has become a very social activity. Besides her Etsy store, and now her consignment shop, she has used social media to talk about books with other readers and met people online with whom she shares this passion. Her online book club has brought together a diverse group of readers which also includes several relatives across the country. It all adds to her newfound delight in books.
Just when you think you know someone, they can surprise you. Katie has surprised me with this (relatively) new interest in books, and I have to say, I’m excited about the idea of helping her hunt down great bargains, and then sharing them with the folks strolling the aisles at the consignment store (Main Street Antiques in Mooresville, NC). She’s creating a cozy little book nook that shoppers will stumble upon and think, “Ahhhh! My kinda place!”. It has been scientifically proven that reading relieves stress and helps to keep your mind sharp as you age. Apparently, it’s also supposed to be good for helping you sleep at night, but I personally dispute that. Right now, it’s 4:46 am, and I’ve been awake since around 3 am.
Katie's cute little store - still in progress but it's a beginning!
Might as well get up, make some coffee, and read myself a book. At this point, Harry S. Truman has only just finished serving in World War I and hasn’t even entered politics yet. I have a long way to go. And then later, I’m taking my grandson to a bookstore as part of his birthday gift. Gonna be a good day. Hope yours is too.
Katie and her son at a recent bookstore visit.
By Carolyn Steele Agosta
If you’d like to visit Katie’s consignment shop, it’s Booth L4 at Main Street Antiques, 500 S. Main Street, Mooresville, NC, and you can find it on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100092411210799&mibextid=LQQJ4d Her Etsy shop, where she sells the “Blind Date with a Book” selections, is at https://ilovebooksalatte.etsy.com/ . And on Instagram, you can find her at @love_books_a_latte. Her book club on Facebook, Latte & Literature can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1550913322038871/?ref=share_group_link