Tuesday, May 23, 2017

P.O.E.M.

My husband and I are English majors and devoted readers.  We joke that we belong to the Prairie Home Companion group "The Professional Organization of English Majors" or P.O.E.M.  We have the matching shirts to prove it.

We both write a blog.  His blog is The Prairie Blog. As I write this, he is in his office, writing his blog.

For many years in my work as a librarian, friends and colleagues would tell me, "You should write a book, you read enough of them."  I just laughed and said I couldn't see how I would ever find the time, plus, my standards were pretty darned high.  One regret I do have is that I did not keep a lifetime reading log of the thousands of books I've read.   So far, I've written no book, but I did take the big step of starting this blog, so maybe someday!

This is what the house of book lovers-bloggers-English majors looks like.

The Library

One of many favorite reading spots

The Dining Room


I've written before about my graduate school roommate, Pastor Pamela Jean Estes here.  Pam is a champion book collector and makes us look like slackers.  She has 21,600 books!  Several of the books in our collection are inscribed to me from her.  When we were graduate students at Vanderbilt University, in the Library Science program, in our rare spare time, we loved to visit The Elder's Bookstore in Nashville and I still have many titles I purchased there.  I see they have moved to a new location.  I have mixed feelings about that, nostalgic, I'm sure, for the original location.  Nevertheless, I am happy the enterprise continues.

One of the things we like to do when we travel is to visit literary destinations and we've used this as one of our guidebooks.


In Anne Fadiman's book Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, she writes: "During the next thirty years I came to realize that just as there is more than one way to love a person, so is there more than one way to love a book." The two ways are Courtly Love and Carnal Love.  "Courtly lovers always remove their bookmarks when the assignation is over; carnal lovers are likely to leave romantic mementos, often three-dimensional and messy."  I just happen to be a combination of these two, and I'm sure there are more like me.  It depends on the book.  But I lean more toward the carnal book lover, and, when I dip back into my book collection, I'm grateful that I've made notations and kept mementos.


I had a friend who was a professor of English and a poet.  When she came to our house for parties, she enjoyed peeking into our book collection to see what treasures might be stashed within.   I was one of the two co-founders of The Heart River Writers' Circle at Dickinson State University, a literary series that continues to this day.  As part of the program, we produced bookmarks promoting visiting writers and their books, and I have many of these programs tucked into my copies of their signed books.

It is my sincere hope, gentle reader, that books bring you as much joy in your life as they do to me and mine.


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