I am a book person. I love books. I browse and admire them. I tote and collect them. I shelve, stack and compulsively rearrange them. My books are not alphabetized or systematized. Dewey Decimal has never seen the likes of my library, nor would he want to, because my brain has a mind of its own when it comes to the kingdom, phylum or classification of words and titles, bound or unbound (a fact that has confounded colleagues and assistants for years).
Most of the time I enjoy hunting for books in their various stores around my house. I always come across a title I’d forgotten, or a book written by a friend, and those encounters evoke in me the kind of smiles, Aha’s and memories that others have when they flip through photo albums.
I thought it brilliant that Amazon.com launched a campaign to ask customers “What’s on Your Bookshelf?” and I love that one of the featured shelves belonged to two of my favorite people, family members Joel and wife Kathryn (who is a terrific poet and author herself).
I don’t know about you, but when I’m in someone else’s house, if there’s a bookcase nearby I can’t resist inspecting it. It’s a habit I learned from other readers and writers. Books say so much about people and the things that interest them. How they’re arranged does, too. Few would be so bold as to snap a photo of a great row of titles that belong to someone else; after all, book cases are private matters, aren’t they? We have standards. Rules of etiquette apply.
Inviting people to show off their books is a novel idea, yes, pun and all….and a splendid diversion for book browsers like me.
I’m a veteran supporter and happy volunteer for the Texas Book Festival, which is one of my favorite fall festivals in Central Texas (and which raises money for Texas public libraries). A respectable smattering of books on my shelves either came from past book festivals or were written by authors who were featured at them.
If you’re wondering about the authors, celebrities and musicians who will be reading, paneling, opining and signing at this year’s Texas Book Festival October 31-November 1, visit the website: www.TexasBookFestival.org.
I’ll let you in on one little secret: The lineup for the Children’s Entertainment Tent so far is Tremendous (with a Texas Capitol T), and I can say that with some confidence because I’m helping the festival line them up. Grown-ups will walk away from that experience smiling as big as the kids who brought ’em. We’ll have more details on entertainers and the schedule soon.