Saturday, February 3, 2018

Book Notes

When I got home on Thursday night, I looked through my bookshelves to choose some books for a library display for African American History Month.  I chose a wide variety:  Octavia Butler, Nikki Finney, Toni Morrison, Tracy K. Smith, Natasha Trethewey, and Alice Walker.

You may notice an absence of male writers.  I have read those writers, but I haven't held onto those books.  As we've moved, and at other times when I've sorted books, one of the questions I ask is "Am I ever going to read this again?"  If the answer is no, the book goes to someone else, usually the local library. 

Happily, one of my colleagues brought some books--he brought all male writers.  So it worked out.  We've got a great display.  I'm already planning the display for Women's History Month.

When I got to the office yesterday with my pile of books, I thought, let me look through these and make sure that I didn't write anything in them that might come back to haunt me.  I wasn't expecting to find anything, since the books with lots of writing in them stayed at home.  If I lost the paperback of Alice Walker's In Search of Our Mother's Gardens, I would grieve the loss of my 19 year old self who wrote copious responses in the margin more than the actual essays themselves.

I found a note that I left for my sister to tell her that I'd gone to put gas in the car.  I found a list of books I wanted to read one summer, which must have been the summer of 1984 because War Day is on the list.  The other books on the list I have no memory of reading.  War Day is a stunning accomplishment.  I know because I reread it last year.

I also found this inscription:

The most wonderful man in the world who gave me that book is now my husband.  And I did miss him that fall, which was the fall of 1987.  He had one last semester to finish at Newberry College, while I went down the road 40 miles to the University of South Carolina to start grad school.

I'm glad that my books could be part of a wonderful display.  I'm glad that they've kept me company along the way.  I hope that at some point this month, students will wander into the library and discover a new writer/book.

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