The beautiful stillness

One of our bookshelves, December 2012

One of our bookshelves, December 2012

“Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.”Paul Auster

Even when life is the craziest and most chaotic, I always read myself to sleep at night.  It’s often the only time of day that I make time to read a book, but no matter how late it is, I read at least a little bit, just long enough to drift off.  It keeps me from lying awake worrying about everything else.

Reading is undoubtedly a comfort, consolation and stimulant of choice at other times, too. Whether it’s email, a letter, a newspaper, a magazine or the back of a cereal box,  I cannot imagine going very long without reading something. It’s my preferred method of staying in touch with people I care about, as well as the way I learn, think, and survive.  It’s as necessary to my well-being as food and water. I really believe that.

Readers today are blessed as never before with unlimited sources and choices for reading material.  Audiobooks, digital readers and quick, free downloads from the public library have increased our options exponentially.  Whenever I feel overwhelmed or depressed, the thought of having so much reading, just waiting for me wherever and whenever I am ready for it, brightens my day.

If you have a Kindle, Nook or other e-reader and need help finding a public library near you from which to download free audio and electronic books, let me know. I’d be glad to help you find one.  Do you have a favorite author, series, or great book to recommend? There’s no better time than winter to share the joys of reading!

One year ago tomorrow*

A delightful society

*I switched the “one year ago” posts for today and tomorrow because the topics matched better.  The post from one year ago today will appear with tomorrow’s blog post.


  1. sarvjit

    I just wrote about books and yes, it’s true that the peace the books give is deep and changing. Books have created history and changed the human civilisation & thinking. Books are great.

    • Thank you! As a librarian, I love to hear people say that. 🙂 I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says “Libraries change lives.”

      • sarvjit

        I’ll like to change a little bit for future purpose – “Digital libraries change lives”. Lovely!

        • Good idea – digital libraries bring so many more opportunities and possibilities, simply through being more readily available to more people.

          • sarvjit

            Future has to be green. Thank you.

            • Yes, it does. Fortunately for us, green is a lovely color! 🙂

  2. Michael

    I have not gotten into E-readers much at this point, though my wife does have a Kindle.
    Can you download directly to your laptop.
    I am reading something Jeff might also like- if he is into sports, which I believe he is. It’s called “My life in time,” by Frank Deford longtime writer for Sports Illustrated. The portrait of Muhammed Ali is especially poignant.

    • Hi Michael, yes, I can download and read Kindle books on my laptop, but I also have a Kindle Paperwhite (which I love) and TWO Nooks – all gifts from Jeff at various times, although he seems to have no interest in e-readers. Jeff still prefers the good old-fashioned print books, but I am sure I can get the book you mention at a library or through my paperback swap. I’ll be sure and request it for him. He does like sports and it may be helpful to read of Ali’s life, as I imagine he has had to make many health-related adjustments. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Julia, good morning! How do you keep your books looking so neat and inviting?!
    For me books are necessary to my mental and physical well being. I can remember my uncles bring their texts books home and letting me look at them…I was fascinated by books.
    I have an e-reader on my laptop and Gerald

    has a kindle but we both prefer books in our hands.
    I must admit to being addicted to the UR blog.~/ There is something about reading how the devotional relates to their personal lives…and their ideas.
    The first time I went to a library…I fascinated by all the books and how large the library was. Of course I now know it wasn’t all that large but to me it was. (I was about 8 yrs.) Blessings to you, Jeff and Matt.

    • Merry, good morning! for some reason I did not get this comment until just now; it wasn’t in there when I checked yesterday’s comments. Not all of my books are neatly kept. The ones I keep by my bed or computer are just sort of stacked every which way. I agree with you that the discussion at UR is so interesting; there as here, the comments are my favorite part. There is such a wide range of experiences and outlooks, more so than one tends to run across when we travel in our own circles in “real” life. I like my Kindle better than I thought I would, but I too love to sit down in a comfy chair (preferably before a fireplace!) and read a real book or magazine that I’m holding in my hands. Hope you have a wonderful day today.

  4. “It’s as necessary to my well-being as food and water. I really believe that.” Same here! I read all day long even though it takes me a while to “read a book.” Snippets here and there all along the way. Also read to my children for at least an hour per day for school, etc. Can’t imagine life without reading.

    • Barb, you have just described my own reading habits; usually in short bites. That’s one reason I wanted to keep my blog posts short, though they tend to get away from me! 🙂 I remember reading once that a writer’s brain is a huge compost pile and everything eventually gets recycled into something useable, so I think all those little snippets are not wasted. I sometimes take months to finish a lengthy book, but that’s OK with me. I find that it makes good company all that time even when I have time only for short “visits.”

  5. Jack

    In the winter months, my exercise is mostly a treadmill inside after dark. I’m currently obsessed with my audio copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw… An hour passes on that silly treadmill like a moment!

    • Yes, I love listening to audiobooks while walking, and you can’t do better than Malcolm Gladwell. Jeff and Matt both like using a treadmill, but I don’t. I suppose I should be more flexible and use one during the winter months. Lately it’s been too icy to risk walking, and the sidewalks don’t get cleared as the roads do.

  6. Sheila

    Julia, I love to read and also to share the joy of reading with others, so I give books or bookstore gift cards whenever possible. I was so excited recently to learn my grandson had opted to get a library card and loved going to the library again. At 18, I felt he must have remembered the many times he went as a child. It gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling! 🙂

    • Sheila, I’m so glad your grandson is back into the library habit! It’s such a good way to live frugally and with MORE options than if one was only buying books or borrowing from friends. I hope he learns to use the digital resources also. I get all my music, audiobooks and ebooks, and even magazines, for free from the public library. If I have to wait on a particular title or song, so much the better…it gives me incentive to explore something new in the meantime.

  7. raynard

    Julie when I was about ten, I got interested in reading. First starting off with a visit to a bookmobile , then reading the old yellow pages( when my mom used them for a hi chair for her first grandkids.. Every Tuesday in grade school ( the last one) was library day. When I join the military, most of my career was spent”in the library, gym and bowling alley.Both my x wife and current wife spent”cheap dates in the library.( only now it includes a trip to Chik Filet). The first thing I did when I moved to Delaware was “get a library card to use their free hi speed computers.( now you can “borrow books and download them to your tablet, e-reader, nook etc etc..I no longer “feel the need as my daughters are adults now to hang out at Barnes& Nobles and The former Boarders bookstore..I have about 30 books downloaded on my Google Tablet and read all of my favorite magazines online” for free to save trees ” A tip. I have a kindle app on my Tablet. you can buy a book on Amazon and it will load on to it . ( Going to tell my wife besides burying me in “a bigger casket so I can take all my stuff with me, make sure she throws in “my tablet and a blanket.( I need something to do and it might get cold lol) be blessed

    • Raynard, I had mostly forgotten about it until you mentioned the bookmobile, but I think my first experience with the public library was a bookmobile, which my sister called “the library truck.” I have a very vague memory of checking out two books from the “library truck” and thinking it was wonderful. I don’t remember much else so probably we never managed to get there too often, but what little is very appealing. I downloaded the Kindle app to my computer although I still read the Kindle books mostly on my Paperwhite that Jeff got me. I read all the magazines on my Nook HD which is in color. Do you know about Kindle Buffet and Book Bub? These and other sites are full of free Kindle books if you have the impulse control to stick to the free titles – if not, the others are at least discounted. But I am so cheap frugal that I only get the free ones. Other titles I check out from the library. I still enjoy the atmosphere of a bookstore or library, but as you say, there is much less need to go there now, and life is so busy I seldom make the time.

  8. I had to giggle when you brought up the cereal box. I’ve said the same thing before, too: I’ll read anything, including the back of a cereal box.

    By the way, our Little Free Library is up an running. I’m having so much fun watching people come and go. I’ll go find the link to share here.
    Here it is:

    • Alys, I loved this so much I just re-blogged it– accidentally, since I had planned to save it as a draft to re-blog in a future post, but evidently there is no way to do that, or at least it didn’t give me that option…the minute I hit “re-blog” it just took off! Oh well, I’m so happy to have everyone see it! I also pinned it to my Pinterest page. Great job!

      • Oh you are so sweet. Thank you for sharing. I love the Little Free Library movement and hope it continues to spread. Xox

        • Yes, I hope you will let me know of some titles to send to you through my paperback swap! I’m so excited you have your library up and running!

          • Thank you, Julia. Will you choose a book for me. I would love something of your choosing. I’ll put a book plate inside with a dedication. xox

            • Thank you Alys, I will try to choose a book for young people since you said those were going most quickly. I’ll try to choose one I loved! This is so exciting!

              • I’m very excited! Thank you, thank you. You have so much going on, yet you continue to think of others.

                Mwaaaaaa xox

                • I just sent you an email asking where to send the book – I couldn’t find your address! As soon as I have that, I’ll go ahead and order it and it should be on its way to your little library soon!

  9. Michael

    I was thinking of getting a “Paperwhite.” Name of the book is actually “Overtime” by Frank De Ford.

    • Michael, for e-reading (where no color is preferred or needed) I don’t think you can beat the Paperwhite. I just love mine. Think of it as a substitute for the mass-market paperbacks, with the advantages of being lighter, capable of holding literally hundreds (maybe even thousands) of books, having adjustable type size, instant dictionary (just touch the word and the definition appears after a couple of seconds), backlit (adjustable lighting for dark or bright light settings) and enabling notes (highlight and save any passage you like). Even after my FREE library books expire, the notes I have saved remain in my clippings file. Those are just a few things I love about my Paperwhite. I also love my two Nook tablets, but use them for different things; the larger one for magazines (I have about 20 free subscriptions through my public library, which includes all the popular titles including Oprah and Martha Stewart; downloaded copies never expire) and the smaller one for all my non-urgent email subscriptions and other miscellaneous functions easy to do on tablets. BTW I did locate the De Ford title; thanks!

  10. Reading yourself to sleep – how nice! I wish I could do that. But I have a hundred not-so-strong reasons for not reading all those books I have collected. So for the time being let me say I am saving all those books for my life after retirement.
    I must consider taking up reading seriously once again. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • I think I have so much stockpiled reading because I tell myself the same thing – I have this gauzy mental image of some era of “old age” when I will have nothing to do but sit around and read, talk and sip tea! Watching how many of my ideas of the future have proven to be illusory, as well as seeing the active lives and/or health impediments of older people I love and admire, I realize it’s probably not a realistic image. But I’m holding on to at least SOME of all that reading material, just in case! 🙂

  11. Michael

    Would that we could get many of our young people to choose reading as,” their stimulant of choice.” I do think I remember the Vonnegut books being referred to as kind of “trippy.” This from the hippie days I so fondly remember.

    • I’ve never read an entire Vonnegut book; the brief excerpts of his I’ve read have not been sufficient motivation for me to want to read more. However, I suppose I should read at least one, if only to note his writing style. I do occasionally come across a quote of his that is quite good, though, including the one that was mentioned here in the comments. Yes, I remember the trendy writers of the late 60’s and early 70’s, some of whom I enjoy reading (Updike, Bradbury, Salinger, Roth and Oates) and some of whom I never could get interested in reading (Vonnegut, Heller, Mailer, Bellow, Irving). It’s not that I would object to reading most anyone; it’s just the eternal dilemma: so many books, so little time!

  12. Michael

    OK-if you read one try “Slaughterhouse Five.” based on his real experience as a POW in Germany during the bombing of Dresden. Also made into a very strange movie. I agree about Mailer-though I did like ,”Song for the Executioner.”

    • Thanks for the tip; that sounds a bit more interesting now that I know what it’s about. That Mailer book you mentioned is the only one of his I’d really like to read, but I would have to be in the mood for it. I’m afraid there would be too much violence. However it gets so many rave reviews that I am a bit curious about it.

  13. Michael

    So many books- so little time. Perhaps they can bury us with loaded Kindles. LOL as Raynard would say.

    • Yes, that does sound like something Raynard would come up with – perhaps you really are the west coast Raynard as Monte said! My friend Jeanie used to say that she hoped heaven would be a place where we are freed from earthly limitations to love, serve, enjoy and experience so many good things. I hope she was right about that. There’s been a lot of talk here about whether there will be dogs or other pets in heaven, but I never thought to wonder whether there will be books? An interesting question…

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