Collecting and Shedding
I am having a vagabond summer, sleeping on couches along the way. I packed my carryon bag inside my suitcase so that I would have space to add things that I bought along the way (and could leave the larger mostly empty at my mom’s when I took trips within the trip). I brought small gifts for some of my hosts and my sons, so these were distributed as soon as possible to create more space. My number one weakness is books. I knew that I would be buying lots of professional books, as these are harder to get in Malaysia. I figured I could get away with reading books in bookstores and using the library and my Kindle. My first two weeks were spent visiting friends in Berlin I did not visit any bookstores, so I did not buy any books- probably a new record for me.
My first week in the US was spent at Teachers College and thanks to this I accumulated a few notebooks (those are musts, right?) and the books that we used in our sessions. I also bought four professional books at their book sale over two visits, not bad considering I was at two other bookstores on other days and left without buying anything extra. Week two I bought two books I had wanted to read (The Seventh Wish and The War That Saved My Life). I had a plan for these books because I knew that I could buy these books again in Malaysia. I read these books on my flights to visit my son and in the first day I was there. Last year when I visited him I had dragged him to a Little Free Library to donate books, so this year I convinced him that a visit to one was a new tradition and had to be scheduled.
He was working on the first two days of our visit and then we had a long list of places we wanted to visit (including shopping for both of us). On Sunday he said, “I assume you want to visit Barnes and Noble, right?” Smart guy- he knows me well. I read a stack of picture books and added many of them to my list to be purchased when I return home, but I did not buy any.
On Monday part of our agenda was to drop off my two books at a Little Free Library. I knew from the website that there were four choices, so after some to and fro we steeled on our destination. Imagine our surprise to see the library covered in plastic- that seemed to indicate that they were not collecting books, so it was back to the map. We headed out with my son complaining how far out of the way we were going (note, it was less than two miles away- he may have inherited his mother’s affinity for exaggeration). We pulled up and I deposited the two books after snapping a few pictures.
I did not see the owners, but I did see their huge dog at the doorway and got a friendly wave from a neighbor across the street. Then we were on our way (and I started imaging the tugged heartstrings these books would bring to their next readers). It is safe to say that with this second trip to a Little Free Library we have solidified a tradition, my son and I.
I still have 15 days in the US. This weekend I head to ILA where I hope to buy the rest of the professional books on my list. From there I head to nErDcampMI where I know my swag will include a book or two and the book sale on site will likely tempt me to buy several more. These books may be shed before I go (I have two nephews and a niece who know I am “the book aunt” and who knows, I may even find a Little Free Library near my mom) if my bags seem too full.
The great thing about books is that even if they are no longer physically with me the great ones will always be a part of me, so this summer while I am collecting and shedding I know that the books I leave behind are affecting more than just my life.