Library Picks! By Claudia

Guess what, exciting news. I won a raffle to set up two display shelves of books on any theme I wanted at my home library, the Glenside Free Library, Glenside, PA. It’s part of the Cheltenham Township system and the Montgomery County PA consortium. It’s located about a mile from my house and I have been going there for 30 years, ever since we moved to this township.

And so today I went to the library to select the books for my shelves. Since I was selecting only from the books physically on the shelves at the building (we are allowed to borrow books from any library in the county and I usually select from the catalog and have them shipped to Glenside for pick up), I decided that my theme would be – a stroll through the stacks with Claudia. I would choose books in many categories that had some meaning for me.

Emilie, one of the librarians, accompanied me around the stacks. She was patient with my trips down memory lane when I saw familiar titles and of great help in assisting me to make choices that might appeal to readers or introduce them to books unfamiliar to them (these were characteristics I wanted to emphasize in my selections).

It was so much fun to do this!

Well, with no further ado, here are my shelves. This is the main shelf:

This is the side shelf:

Here is a short explanation of why I chose these books with accompanying photos:

I loved The Sentence is Death and I chose it for itself as well as to represent all the books this author has written.

Four Lost Cities focused in-depth on ancient cities and their life cycles. I learned of some places I’d never heard of and this book fed my interest in how people lived in very different times from ours.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is a take-off on the Jane Austen book and I’ve read the print version as well as listened to the audio book. I think it’s hilarious.

Furoshiki and the Art of Japanese Gift Wrapping – I haven’t read it but Emilie picked it out and it’s just the kind of book I like to look at even if I will never try any of the processes described.

The City and the City is a book I have read several times. A detective story set in an intriguing world that I wonder how different really it is from our own.

Modern One-Act Plays stood out on the shelf to me because it was clearly not modern anymore and I was curious. The collection is dated 1950, but the plays are classics. It has been a while since I read any plays and I am resolved to do so again.

Art Quilts: Playing With a Full Deck is the record of a project where quilt artists illustrated a playing card in a prescribed quilt form. This book was influential to me just as I was getting started in art in 1994 when it was published, working in fabric myself. Also, there is a local connection – the librarian at my son’s elementary school did one of the artworks.

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, I chose because I LOVE fairy tales and guess what? I have this same book at home so I know it’s a great volume for fairy tale readers.

The Woman in Black has long been a favorite of mine – I’ve read the book several times and I have also seen the play. It’s a mystery/ghost story – I need say no more as to why it appeals to me.

The Navigator was chosen to represent all the books by this author I have read or listened to as audio books. Perfect escapist thriller action-oriented adventure.

The other books are a biography of Billie Jean King (I admire her); Hiking Through History: Pennsylvania, which I think explains itself; the Fannie Farmer cookbook (I had one of these when I first left school); a book on grammar, Between You and Me, because I love a diagrammed sentence; and one of my poetry books, Spring Cleaning (the librarians suggested adding one of my own books and this one was my choice because of the seasonal theme).

And…here is the second set of shelves.

Barcelona and Madrid, a travel book – I chose this in memory of a trip to Spain I took 40 years ago in which I visited both cities as part of a 3 week journey that also included England, France, and Germany. This trip was a highlight of my life.

Knitting in Plain English is a book I also own myself, and the kind no-nonsense tone dispensing very clear information in this book helped me become a skilled knitter.

I chose The House on the Strand for itself (I am a fan of any book that involves time travel) and because I love all of this author’s work. I know I’ve read this particular book at least three times.

Peony was chosen because, well, I just think peonies are so beautiful, and this book represents my enjoyment of them and my other favorites, sunflowers, geraniums, and zinnias.

Lost in Translation is another book Emilie showed me and though I haven’t read it, I took a look through it, and it’s captured my interest. I’ve put it on my list to read.

Well, that’s it! Happy Reading, everyone!

Passage of Time, In Person

If you look around, you can find markers of the passage of time everywhere – statues of famous people now dead, every kind of old building, the little kid who grew up next door and is now married. How about this one? I saw it today at the Glenside Library, Glenside, PA.

This wall runs along the library’s driveway up to the upper parking lot and holds back a section of earth behind it.

The library was built in 1968. So this wall has spent about 50 years in position, dealing with annual freeze-thaw cycles. It’s hanging on, but not without a cost. The wall has some splits – and not just in the joints, but right through the bricks. What do you think of that?

I’m inclined to admire this wall. It’s not giving in. But…

I’m admiring Mother Nature, too. She is patient and can wait.

Cracked brick wall GL library 1-16 small

Sunshine Project – Day 25, Library, Glenside, PA

Today I left a sunshine in the most important building to me, after my own home – the library.

Sunshine, January 14, 2015.

Sunshine, January 14, 2015.

I love to read. I’m not sure this word is strong enough for how I feel about reading – I don’t know if there is a word that can convey all that reading has meant to me. The minute I figured out how to get inside a book on my own, I never looked back. I’ve spent 50 happy years reading just about anything I can get my hands on.

So it goes without saying that I go to the library a lot. A lot. I feel at home in a library in any city in the world. I tour libraries when I travel, just the way other people look for restaurants or museums. I feel at peace in a library.

All right. Here is a little tour with a bit of sunshine – a typical trip to my local library. This one is about a mile from my house. I drive up the road and into the parking lot – the building is on my left.

From Keswick Avenue...

From Keswick Avenue…

I park in the lot and go around to the back entrance. If it were summer I’d be checking on the childrens’ garden at the side of the building.

...I park the car and walk up this sidewalk.

…I park the car and walk up this sidewalk. The garden beds are to the right of the building in this picture.

Once I’m in, I drop off my old books and take a look around for more. These days, I use the internet to order the books I want – our library is part of a county-wide system and I’m not restricted to the books in this one location. I still look over the new books and take a spin into the stacks, though.

In the mystery section...

In the mystery section…I’ll se what might be calling to me from the shelf.

I read a lot of mysteries, so I decided to put the sunshine on a shelf in this section. Look for it there along the right hand side.

...come closer, maybe the book I want is along here...

…come closer, maybe the book I want is along here…

... and closer...

… and closer.

A sunshine marks the spot.

A sunshine marks the spot.

Thank you, Glenside Library, and everyone who brings me books. Thanks to the teachers who taught me to read so long ago, to my family for always supplying me with books, and hello to everyone I’ve ever met on the pages of a book – I’ve got a world of friends I carry around with me everywhere because of books.

Glenside Library sign

If you want to know more about the Sunshine Project, look right here.

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