I use quotation marks around bad, because it’s a subjective term. My bad habits could be someone else’s “no-big-deal” habits. And they’re not bad-bad, they’re just things I could improve on.
1. I leave the printer on. Long after I’m done printing, I often forget to power it off.
2. I push through and keep to my schedule regardless of how I’m feeling. If Wednesday is my day to Swiffer the floors and vacuum the area rugs, I do it. Regardless of my pain level, I feel I must maintain my schedule.
3. I buy too many books. I have so many books on my shelf, waiting to be read. My “want-to-read” list on Goodreads numbers in the hundreds. Some of these books are written by authors whose other books I have enjoyed. Some are books I bought after listening to the author talk on a podcast or interview of some sort.
While this doesn’t mean I plan to stop buying books, it does mean I’m aware of the situation. And the lack of available shelf space.
How about you, readers? Any “bad” habits you want to share? Do you find yourself buying more books than you should?
Last week, I did something I haven’t done since early 2020.
I went inside my public library.
During the pandemic, I was lucky enough to still be checking out books from my library, but through a system of reserving specific titles and arranging a day and time to pick them up.
But the library is open again. Open for leisurely browsing. For stocking up. For being in awe of the sheer number of books I have yet to read.
I first thought I’d go into the library with no plans. Just me, my library card, and my empty tote bag. And I’d stroll among the shelves, picking up books, reading the summaries on the back cover, and bringing home as many books as I wanted. (Or as many as I could carry in my bag.)
But then that thought made me feel a bit overwhelmed. There is such a thing as too much choice.
So I handled the visit to the library the same way I handle my grocery shopping.
It’s considered foolish to grocery shop on an empty stomach. I thought the same rule should apply to me in a library. I was hungry for books. For the freedom to walk in and pick up books because something — a cover, a title — caught my eye.
So I made a list.
I went online and accessed the library’s catalog. And wrote down the call numbers for books that had been on my “want-to-read” list. I limited myself to eight books. (I’m not sure how I settled on eight, except that ten seemed too many, and eight seemed close enough to ten.)
I went to the library and made my way around the shelves, gathering my books, until my bag was heavier than I expected (I didn’t realize one book was a hardcover and over 400 pages long).
This book has a special place in my heart. It was the first time one of my personal essays (“5 Things I Wish Every Parent Knew Before Sending their Child to Kindergarten”) was published in an anthology.
I won an advance reader’s edition from a Goodreads Giveaway (the only time I have won from the many giveaways I have entered). You’ll find my copy is full of sticky notes marking the many encouraging statements. A book I’ll return to again and again.
I consider it an act of serendipity that I discovered this important book. It is a must-read for anyone living with a chronic illness. (I have read it more than once and emailed a fan letter/thank you note to the author!)
To celebrate – the day; the power of books; and those of us who find comfort, knowledge, and entertainment between their pages; I’d like to share with you books I have found helpful, inspirational, and just plain good.Books I have turned to (some of them more than once) as I navigate this journey of living with an invisible disability.
– The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan.You can click here to read my blog post citing some of the passages that most touched me.
– Chronic Resilience by Danea Horn.This is one of the few books I ordered from Amazon without ever having seen a physical copy of the book.I’m so glad I did.I’ve read it a few times now.
– Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.You can click here to read the blog post I wrote while in the middle of reading this book. I will tell you that this was one of those books that started conversations among people I didn’t know, people who saw me carrying this book and reading this book and felt a connection to it as well.