Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Worth A Second Look - Home Libraries

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.  Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
                                                                                                                       - Groucho Marx

The Home Libraries of old were awe-inspiring rooms with shelves and shelves of books stacked to the ceiling.  While it is fun to Google images of grandiose home libraries of past and present, in reality, most of us live in 2000 or less square foot home that can barely accommodate a bookshelf.  In fact, in some homes the home library is relegated to the loo - which is all fine and dandy. 

But if your house can, a special space for a 'home library' is worth your time and effort.  A home library is a place that combines relaxation with personal growth.  It can be a fun, cozy and healthy element to your home and you certainly don't have to be rich to have one.  Any empty wall space, nook, cranny or window seat will do.  You just have to add your personal design and oh, yes, you have to supply your home library with books.

Where to acquire books for your library:
  • A book store - new or used
  • A church, community or library book sale
  • Garage sales
  • Scholastic book orders and sales through your school
  • Second hand thrift stores (Salvation Arm, Value Village..etc)

Top 10 suggested readings to include in your home library:
  1. Classic Novels - The Grapes of Wrath, Gone With the Wind, Moby Dick.....etc
  2. Your very favorite book of all time
  3. An entire collection of your favorite author or poet
  4. Ghost stories
  5. Classic Poetry
  6. A variety of  fiction, non-fiction, photographic and coffee table books that piques your interest and reflects your personality
  7. A collection of war stories, non-fiction accounts and tributes..so we may never forget
  8. Biographies
  9. Local family, church and community books
  10. The Calvin and Hobbes Complete Treasury

You must also have a Children's Section, whether you have children, grandchildren or not.  Kids will always come to visit.  When I spent time at my grandparent's farm, above the second story staircase were three or four shelves (you had to be careful not to bump your head on it jumping down the stairs) of which held the Mouse Trap and Flags of the World Concentration games and an entire series of Art Linkletter's Illustrated Encyclopedias.  It was my grandparent's version of their home library and on too cold to go outside winter days or stormy summer evenings it was wonderful to be able to spend some time looking at all the pictures and reading about everything and anything in the world!

Top 10 suggested readings to include in your children's home library:
  1. Anything Dr. Seuss
  2. Anything Richard Scarry
  3. Classic Novels - Tom Sawyer, Pippi Longstocking, Little House on the Prairie, Where the Red Fern Grows...etc
  4. The I Can Read it All by Myself Beginner Books Collection (See Photo Below)
  5. Classic and Modern Poetry
  6. Nursery Rhymes
  7. Anything Shel Silverstein
  8. Aesop's Fables
  9. Classic Fairy Tales and Stories (The Three Bears, Pigs or Billy Goats Gruff, Cinderella, Snow White...etc)
  10. A large selection of picture books from a variety of authors and illustrators that piques your interest and reflects you and your children's personalities

“You should never read just for “enjoyment.” Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick “hard books.” Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, “I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.” Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of “literature”? That means fiction, too, stupid.” 
                                            — John Waters