Thursday, May 10, 2012

Books Books and More Books

One of 5 book shelves-this is in the den

I love books. What a simple sentence, but it best describes me. Books have been an integral part of my life from the time I was a baby when my mother and father would read to me, to the time I picked up the first book to read at the age of 3. Being a history professor dictates that I am supposed to love to read, but my appetite for books far exceeds the norm. Last time I counted I had over 6000 books. Most of them are packed away in boxes in my attic just waiting for a spot on a shelf. I have 5 bookshelves in my house right now and can't wait to be able to dedicate a very large room to walls and walls of books! I can't not walk into a bookstore and not purchase a book. I spend as much on books as I do on shoes, and let's face it, I have never met a Jimmy Choo or Christian Louboutin that I didn't like. So I may drop $700 on a pair of shoes, but I can guarantee I have spent close to that on books over the course of a few months.

Being an only child of a very over protective mother, she always monitored what I watched on TV, instead suggesting that I read a book. Little did she know but I fell in love with the printed word. I still have the first book that I bought with Christmas money- it was in 1979, I was 4 years old, and had fallen in love with the English monarchy. The first book I bought was on Queen Elizabeth II and her family. Yes, light reading for a 4 year old. I couldn't grasp all the words and remember spending hours staring at the pictures of her, especially in her crowns. I could identify because I was into my 4th year of pageants and loved prancing around in my crowns and tiara's!

Me at age 5, the year I won Little Miss Dixie Darling and Little Miss United States

Since my TV was so closely guarded, I would escape for hours on end into a good book. I could become that princess, or Juliet, and thank goodness my mother didn't understand just how explicit the Flowers in the Attic series were. It's where I learned the beginnings of what sex was! I slowly found that I loved anything romantic, especially if it was historical. I also developed a passion for the mob and had a major crush on Al Capone and Meyer Lansky, and anything to do with the Roaring 20's. I also discovered Sweet Valley High, and any number of series after. Oh to be Jessica Wakefield! I devoured the classics, War and Peace, Pride and Prejudice, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Alcott, Browning, Voltaire, as well as good old southern history, like Gone with the Wind. It was my reality of sorts, my pretend world where I could be anything that I wanted. I was Ponyboy Curtis' girlfriend so many times!

Once in high school we were forced to read many good books and I didn't seem to enjoy them as much. I went back and re-read quite a few after college and was angry at myself for not appreciating them more. In college there never seemed to be time for recreational reading as a history major. I normally took 2-4 history classes a semester and some of my classes would require 5-9 books, as well as supplements and textbooks to go along with it. History overload for sure. Then in grad school it was the same all over again. I know from 2001-2003 I didn't read a book because I was so burned out from getting my masters. But I can tell you this, had I not been a history major, I never would have read Mein Kampf, Within a Plantation Household, Southern Honor, Four Hours in My Lay, the Twelve Caesars, Mary's World, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman, Over There, The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, and the list goes on and on and on.......

Today I love to unwind with a good book. Because I teach history and have to read 250 research papers a semester, I tend to shy away from history books unless it's on my favorite periods-the Russian Revolution, early Scottish or English history, or Civil War. I normally turn to romance, usually historical in nature, where I can get lost with the dashing Scottish highlanders, or the cowboys of the old west. I always try to keep the ladies in the books I read strong and independent. Of course, I have fallen prey to the True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse series, Twilight Series, The Hunger Games, and the 50 Shades series-and have no problems admitting that I love Eric, Edward, and Christian! I still can't pass up a good book by John Jakes, Pat Conroy, Mary Balogh, Linda Lael Miller, or Charlaine Harris. Of course I can still get lost between the pages of an Austen novel that I have read a hundred times. The bottom line is, I love books.....

My dream library-heaven!!!

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