My aunt and uncle are moving to Ireland in a couple of months. They’ve vacationed there for years, and lived there for a while about ten years ago. It’s their dream to go back, this time for good. We shall not discuss how much I will miss them – that’s subject matter for another blog entirely! My son and I helped them yesterday – well, as much as a three-year old boy can help! – with their big yard sale. One thing they didn’t have for sale was books.
They’d already taken virtually all of their books to a local used bookstore and sold them. I think they each kept maybe twenty books or so. TWENTY BOOKS. My aunt told me that my uncle questioned her choice of a collection of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries. She told him that within a few pages of reading it she can fall asleep in no time. There you have it – book as sleep aid! That’s as good a reason to keep a book as any other, I guess.
It got me thinking – what twenty books would I choose to ship across the ocean to my new home? Could I make such a decision?
It’s funny, for someone who reads as voraciously as I do, I don’t own all that many books. This is partly because I’ve worked in a library for fifteen years now. I have access to any book any time I want, for the most part, so it lessens the need to own them. I also have gotten rid of plenty of books over the years, especially when we were de-cluttering in anticipation of our son’s birth. Recently I’ve started buying more books, just as a way to treat myself. But I still don’t have the numbers of books one might expect based on my passion. There are some titles that I consider favorites that I don’t even own (Case Histories by Kate Atkinson come to mind.) Even so, to whittle it down to what would fit in one box might be a challenge.
So in no particular order, here are the Twenty Books That Would Move to Another Country With Me:
- Pride and Prejudice– Jane Austen
- Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
- The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin
- Collected Poems of Elizabeth Bishop
- Excellent Women – Barbara Pym
- Jane and Prudence – Barbara Pym
- Baking: From My Home to Yours – Dorie Greenspan (my favorite baking cookbook)
- Happiness is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life – Sylvia Boorstein
- Pay Attention for Goodness’ Sake – Sylvia Boorstein
- To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
- I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
- The Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood
- Animal Dreams – Barbara Kingsolver
- Swann – Carol Shields
- Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter
- Americanah – Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
- Plainsong – Kent Haruf
- Breakfast of Champions – Kurt Vonnegut
- The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
- Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
It’s a funky mix of favorites from my childhood and favorites from more recently, a couple of self-help/spirituality books (Sylvia Boorstein rocks!), and books I’d like to read again from my favorite authors. I also chose my favorite cookbook – I love to bake, and Dorie Greenspan’s is the most comprehensive, beautiful, and easy to follow baking cookbook I’ve come across. I guess I was going for comfort here – because if I was moving away from my homeland, I’d want comforting reads to keep me company! As I made the list, though, I had to stretch for the last few – so it turns out that I could probably get away with fifteen must-have books.
So now it’s your turn. Do you have ten to twenty books that you’d have to take with you if you moved to another country – or fewer? I’d love to see some of your choices.