A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Not a Stashaholic

I have been reading with interest as some of my fellow bloggers have been dealing with New Year's Stash Diets... and I decided that this was not my problem. I have a respectable, but tame, stash, much of which is either left over from finished objects or purchased for a specific, and not-yet-abandoned, project. Even though I have been knitting for 45 years, I do not have much in the way of "old" yarn, since I tend to periodically purge what I won't use, including objects I have determined not to finish.

However, I do have a confession to make: I am a Bookaholic. There, I said it. I'm out of the closet, but somehow I am not feeling the relief I expected. Maybe it's because I was a "bookish" child (read: voracious reader). Maybe it's those years of academia, where I was surrounded by other bookaholics, all reassuring each other that it is ok to keep amassing knowledge, and therefore books. Maybe it's living with my intellectually-oriented husband, who can't bear to part with a book, be it 25-year old college anthro texts or manuals for vehicles we no longer have. Anyway, my favorite knitting chair is also surrounded by stacks of reading materials... always a few knitting magazines with patterns I am interested in, and copies of the two equine magazines I subscribe to, and a political journal or two, all waiting for me to find the time to catch up on my reading.

Then, there's the real books. Right now, I am reading Confessions of a Heretic Knitter, by Annie Modisett (really skimming the essay portions, as this is also a good reference book that I will be referring back to). I also keep a book or two of short stories going all the time, picking up and reading a story for "light reading" maybe once a week or so... my two going now are The Knitter's Gift (which was a gift to me), and Classic Cowboy Stories, edited by Michael McCoy. For continuous stretches of reading, like the other week when I was too sick to pick up needles, I am currently reading Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone: The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music, which I found on a discount table in Greenville, while visiting A Room of Yarn, which shares its location with a book store... I love the old time mountain music and am savoring my way through this book. Then, over the weekend, I picked up a copy of Nourishing Traditions at our local food co-op, finally breaking down and buying this tome that I told myself I didn't have the time to read during the fall and holiday season. Now that I will be employed less after next month, I will have the time and the need to do more home food preparation, so I have spent time each evening this week perusing recipes and making shopping lists.

Now, this probably doesn't look all that bad to you... however, I realized the severity of my problem when I arrived home yesterday to find two packages of books waiting for me, the purchases from last week's Interweave Press hurt book sale (of course, I had to buy these, they were half off!), and Jane Goodall's book, Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating, which I decided to buy while paying last months Working Assets bill (had to support such a good cause!).

This is verging on addictive behavior, especially in light of the fact that I have three books in the book stack for my upcoming Pacific Oaks class, Writing Our Stories, and two unfinished zen books, as well as the unopened biography of B.K.S. Iyenger, Light on Life.... when do I plan to read all of these books?! I have not mastered knitting and reading at the same time, and probably won't as I prefer the contemplative time I get in my life by knitting in silence. I still love to read, but only have a few leisure hours a day to divide between these and other pursuits .... help, I think I am drowning here....

Have a happy weekend all you stash dieters!


Blogger margene said...

Light on Life is fabulous! I, too use WA for my phone but didn't get the book. Let me know what you think when you get around to it. We may not read books as much as we used to but we are reading blogs so maybe we should count that is time well spent and not feel guilty. I don't like guilt but I am sorry I don't read as much as I used to.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

Reading while knitting is too hard for me unless I'm doing stockingette. I haven't done that for a long while now. I've taken up books on CD. I like knitting in silence as well, but sometimes it's fun to hear Jim Dale read Harry Potter for me, or "Brad", I mean Barry Bostwick (of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame--for me) read me Carl Haiassen. I think I get such a kick because as I teacher I read to others, but as a kid, that wasn't done at my elementary school...and my parents didn't do the "read to me" thing.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous evagorman said...

I had been looking at Classic Cowboy Stories for a while. I didn't know it was on the discount table at Book Lore. BTW, when were you in Greenville?

I too must confess that I am a book-aholic but didn't realize how bad it was until I started moving my books from the boat and storage into my home It took me quite a while to sort them all out, grouping like subjects and placing them here and there. I have found that I have piles on all the rooms except the bathroom and laundry room. My husband just keeps shaking his head saying, "when are you ever going to have enough time to read all those books." But a couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law came to stay with us for the weekend, and I heard her say while standing in the hallways upstairs, "About a Boy, now that looks like a good book” as she went into her bedroom and read. It make me feel so good to see that she was enjoying time to herself reading one of the many books I have.

The two books I'm reading now are “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere” by ZZ Packer on the boat, and “Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt, at the house. I've also started reading the “New McDougall Cookbook” as my husband needs to change his diet due to high cholesterol and he cannot take the medications that help lower your cholesterol.

11:08 AM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

A couple of years ago, after yet another move, I realized that the book/magazine issue was a serious addiction in my life and I began right then to weed out books and rehome them. The bookcases now hold fabric (yes, I AM a fabricholic) and I'm beginning to have a serious problem with yarn and lace shawl patterns. I still have too many magazines, tho' I've let some go. Perhaps, those of us who "collect" always feel the "wealth of our stash" no matter what we are focusing on at the present?

12:01 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Sounds liek me. I have so many books it's crazy. Greg thinks I am a little nuts....I have an attachment to my books. I will re-read a book a hundred times if I love it (like The Razors Edge).

And I never give my books away, I even hate to borrow from the library. Once I read a book I want to keep it, it becomes a friend.

I don't read books, I devour them. I can read a novel in a day or two. But now at night I am always faced with the descion, should I read, or knit!

2:23 PM  
Blogger Dene said...

As the daughter of a librarian, I sometimes would rather read than eat! I love my books and have a hard time putting them down to do things that th is world requires me to do.

I've also discovered the joys of audiobooks for those times when I want to engage in my 2 most favorite activities - knitting and reading :)

6:23 AM  
Anonymous Janine said...

You hit a nerve with this one. John and I both seem to place book ownership above other financial concerns--our house overflows with books. It seems that they don't fall into the "clutter" category, which I avoid. I can go through a yarn shop and come out empty handed, but rarely can I leave a book shop without a purchase. And we live across the street from a library!!!!

If you like short stories, you might enjoy Monterra's Deliciousa by Anna Tambour. I'm not a short story fan on the whole (I like a long novel), but Anna is a friend of mine so I overcame my distaste for the form and opened the covers. I love this book!

8:26 AM  
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4:20 AM  

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