My niece is a voracious reader who dreams of leaving that whole public library baloney behind in favor of her own personal library. Can you blame her?
I had that same dream when I was her age, but have had thirty years to make good on it. I’ve amassed quite a collection, most of which (I donated many boxes of books to a local library a while back) is now quietly collecting dust on the bookshelves, side tables, and/or any available flat surfaces of my home — up to and including the floor. And, though the threat of our home collapsing under the weight of said books concerns me deeply, I continue to purchase more. It’s like a sickness. A sickness that makes you feel good and learn things and exercise your brain and whatever. Disgusting.
Anywho, I got to thinking: This little girl wants books and I appear to possess more books than generally considered healthy for an individual person (if I were a library it would make more sense — you might even be disappointed with the selection — but fuck the library). And, I definitely want to cut back on the amount of just plain “stuff” I own. Perhaps I could send some of these books her way to get her personal library started!
So, each weekend for the last six or so weeks (I haven’t kept track), I’ve sent my niece back in Texas a little package containing an age-appropriate (she’s ten) book from my collection and a little note wishing her well, etc.
At least, that’s how it started.
After the first couple of books, I began thinking things like: “Oh, maybe she’d like a bookmark,” or “Maybe she needs a journal to keep track of all the books she’s read,” or “Maybe she needs hella packs of cute Japanese stationery, pens and pencils, stickers, and those erasers that smell like food.”
So, I started purchasing and adding more things to the packages.
After another couple of weeks, a problem arose. As it turns out, at a childless forty years old, I don’t actually own that many books appropriate for a ten-year-old. I’ve begun running low on my own books to send her — I have maybe half a dozen left.
So, now I’m buying books specifically for my niece instead of purging my own collection.
This has not turned out the way I’d planned.
But, you know what? It’s fun. I get all the satisfaction of shopping with none of the having-to-keep-stuff-around bit. Plus, I get the bonus satisfaction of knowing I’m making another person happy without having to actually physically, personally interact with them! If you ask me, that’s money well spent!
Somewhere along the line, though, I realized I hadn’t been keeping track of the books I’ve sent nor the various knickknacks that accompanied each book. Hence this post and the photo above. From here on out I am going to keep a visual record of what goes into each package. Wish I’d thought of it six weeks ago, but here we are. Hope she doesn’t end up with three different collections of the Lord of the Rings (cuz somehow I did).
This week’s package is pretty bare bones to compensate for the absolute madness of the last one (the one with the ultra cute Japanese everything). This package contains:
- An Edward Gorey book (mine)
- An Edward Gorey wall calendar (purchased)
- A great big bag of googly eyes (mine, obvs)
Much more to come!
In the meantime, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions for books appropriate for ten-year-olds. I am clueless. Tell me things!
Hope you’re well.