I think you can tell a lot about people by the books they read. What fills their libraries are elements of the life they have lived – their interests, their quest for knowledge, their desire for entertainment, or perhaps simply their quest for a little relief from the real world.
Have you ever been on a train, bus or plane and peeked at the book the person next to you was reading? And when you see the title of the book, do you pass judgment on this person without knowing anything else about him? You know it.
In the interest of filling in some free time the other day, I decided to start cataloging the books I have at home, some I bought, some I received as gifts. over the years – about 60 years actually, but who’s counting?
It has become a bigger task than I imagined. I’ve sorted over 100 books so far, and these were stacked on the floor of a back bedroom. I have yet to delve into the many bookcases I have throughout my house.
People also read…
For better or for worse, these books are like a chronicle of my life. I can see that my life story has changed over the years as my interests have changed from when I was a young man to today. I’m sure you’ll get the same feeling if you browse through the books you’ve collected.
I know without even looking that I won’t find any books on auto mechanics or gardening or anything to do with the Kardashians. There will only be a few fiction books, including a pair of the late Dorothy Garlock of Clear Lake, a friend and one of the most prolific authors of what I call “romance novels.” She called them “historical fiction.” She just laughed when I asked her if “historical fiction” was an oxymoron.
But she made me laugh when I asked her what she was most proud of in her writing career. At that time, she was well over ninety. She thought for a moment and said, “Somewhere in the world right now, someone is sitting on a toilet reading one of my books.”
The books I have can easily be divided into specific categories that accurately reflect my interests over the years – baseball: sports in general: art of writing: history: politics: biography: and religion.
What do the books in your libraries say about you? Whatever they say will be the truth – and it will be in writing!
John Skipper retired from The Globe Gazette in February 2018 after 52 years in the newspapers, mostly in Mason City covering northern Iowa government and politics.