I started Library Luggage two years ago. It began as a way to celebrate the books at my school library. But it’s become so much more. This past year I’ve explored public libraries throughout my state of Alabama. I’ve hit estate sales for books to add to my own library. And I purchased a few how-to books and learned new skills. Here’s some highlights from 2017:
I visited Gulf Shores last February. In addition to sugar-white beaches and tasty seafood, this coastal town boasts a thriving public library. Read about this special place here.
Getting to Gulf Shores required a car and a chunk of cash. But just $16, the cost of this amazing book, took me thousands of miles to Rwanda, a place of great beauty and great pain. Read about it here.
This book took me millions of mile way! Read about it here.
Books helped me indulge my creative side this past year. Here’s a few projects I blogged about:
A treasure trove of reading gems can be found at estate sales. Some books I bought at one sale gave me reading pleasure and new thoughts on life and death. Read about it here.
Like most folks, I don’t have much time to read. I found a way around this problem using audio books. Read about these excellent titles as well as a free way to get them here.
I added a few bookish games to the blog this year. They only take a few minutes to play. Click on END PAPER MATCH-UP GAME for a fun look at picture books and click IN THREE WORDS to test your knowledge of 1970s horror novels turned into films.
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone for joining Library Luggage and for sharing your own reading journeys. I appreciate you all!
I took a challenge recently, and it paid off. READING WITHOUT WALLS is a worldwide call to all readers that’s pretty simple. Just read a book out of your comfort zone and see where it takes you. My chosen book took me to Mars. The Martian is a 2014 book written by Andy Weir. Here’s more about this amazing tale and the challenge that inspired me to try it.
READING WITHOUT WALLS has three parts:
1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look or act like you: Mark Whatney, the main character in The Martian fills this bill. He’s male. I’m female. He’s in his 20’s. I’m…well, let’s just say I have a few years on him. He’s a botanist, an engineer, and an astronaut. I’m an English major who works in a school library. As different as we are, I grew to love this character. Long story short, Mark is stranded on Mars after an aborted space mission. His training, his intellect and his “never give up attitude” helps him survive the unforgiving planet for more than a year. But his final rescue comes about through the herculean efforts of his fellow man. Their actions fill him with pride and love for the human race.
“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care. But they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.”
2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about: Space travel, NASA, EVA suits, chemistry…I know little of these subjects. But I learned about them and so much more. Heck, I now know the basics of making water (mix two parts hydrogen with one part oxygen.) Weir’s clear writing and humor make the science clear and even entertaining.
3. Read a book in a format you don’t normally read for fun (a chapter book, a picture book, poetry, or an audio book): I fell somewhat short in this regard. The Martian is a novel which is my go-to format for pleasure reading. It is, however, a genre I rarely grab–science fiction. This challenge reminded that a good story is a good story, no matter how, where, or why it is written.
READING WITHOUT WALLS is the brainchild of Gene Luen Yang and the Children’s Book Council. Go here to learn more.
BONUS BIT: Three other book’s I’ve read that challenged me and opened my eyes:
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, 2008: This sweeping novel taught me about Afghanistan and its history. I can now associate real places and people with this country that is so often in the news. Plus Hosseini’s storytelling is superb.
Honey Bees: Letters from the Hive by Stephen Buchmann, 2010: This non-fiction book kindled a passion in me for honey bees and the food they produce. I now keep a jar of honey in my pantry at all times.
Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, 2012: This book detailing the build up to the atomic bomb was fascinating. It’s a real-life story that reads like a movie script. Hollywood take note.
QUESTION: Care to share anything you’ve read that was out of the ordinary? I’d love to hear!