© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Perspective: Bookcase Book Report

Clay Banks

My bookcases are a mess.

Although there are three large bookcases in my home, none of them would make it into those designer photos of elegant libraires-a look I have long admired but never seem to achieve.

In fact, my bookcases look like a kindergarten class has just had a library heyday. Some books are stacked up, some stacked down. Some have covers, some not. Scattered amidst these volumes are various eclectic mementos: found feathers, family photos, Cubs baseballs, cow bells, shells, and rocks. All are packed more tightly than those girdles of old that we women of a certain era used to cram ourselves into.

And so, in a similar spirit of freedom, I’ve decided to liberate all books that have served their purpose. Using the advice of those closet organizing gurus, which I admit I have never followed, I am keeping only the books I love. Like old friends, they are the ones I revisit again and again. In purging, I hope to make room for more beloved books; those I’ve read or those to come.

Not surprisingly, as I reorganize, I learn a lot about my tastes. I seem to favor nature, non-fiction, children’s classics, and Mark Twain. Seven copies of Huckleberry Finn tell the story.

Because we all have different reading tastes, I know my discarded books will find a happy home in my local library’s donation box, perhaps ending up on someone else’s beloved reading shelf.

And even though my bookshelves are a lot neater, they still lack that elegant designer look. But who cares? After all, what better way to read a book than to be surrounded by all those eclectic, whimsical reminders of what you love best.

Marnie O. Mamminga has been a professional essayist and features writer for more than 20 years.