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Books, Oprah, and dalmatians

It's cold and rainy again, and while I'd revel in the fact that it is rain instead of snow, we're under a winter storm warning through tomorrow morning that might mean ice, and that's worse. Nothing like being reminded by nature not to get too flippant. Calvin has asked to go for a walk, but now that we're back from the morning's swimming lessons the rain and hail are keeping us in. Instead we've set up a box castle, played Mammoth Hunt, tried out some chess, read a lot of books. It's a warm, warm feeling when he reads to me instead of the other way around. I've waited years for that feeling. A lifetime, to be exact, although not my own.

Make believe play is rampant in the house today. We have Oz in the sitting room and knights and dragons in the kitchen. Since I'm in the middle of cataloging our books there are piles everywhere you look, delicious piles of literary art with a few cheap flings on the side, and Calvin careening in, out, and around the landscape of my slow progress. As I reshelve, do I section them by genre? Or do I go by centuries instead? I'd rather go with a rainbow display, but most of our books are rather drab in color. Then, as the knight comes swinging through, riding on the Woozy from Oz, the tallest pile finally loses its grip and succumbs to gravity.

As an aside, it occurs to me that Oprah's Book Club has done for many books what the 101 Dalmatians movie did to the spotted dog. For years after the movie was re-released animal shelters everywhere were flooded with dalmatians being given up by parents who hadn't really wanted them in the first place but couldn't resist their begging children. I figure that the flood of classic books sporting the Oprah stamp given up to the book sale each month, most with completely unbroken spines, are suffering that same unwanted fate. I am reminded of this as I restack, along with the rest of the collapsed pile, my newly acquired sale room treats, copies of Anna Karenina, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and The Good Earth, all nearly brand new and decorated with the Oprah seal, all rescued from the sale room recycling bin because there were just too many of them to shelve, even for a sale. They wouldn't be my first choice as far as book collecting goes, but they needed new homes, and we all know what happens when I am faced with unwanted things that need new homes.

And when the tallest stack has been re-built as two smaller ones, my knight and I ride into the kitchen to share a snack, finish making dinner, and read another book. I am done with piles now for the day, though I am sure they will be waiting for us tomorrow which we are likely to spend inside again, reminded by a frigid rain that spring has only a tentative foothold as yet.

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