Last weekend I had the rare opportunity of going to the library with only one child. Instead of juggling three of them, preventing each from making another scream, I got to cater to just the three-year-old and myself, helping him choose a topic he wanted to read about (“ducks,” in this case, which meant we came home with three Jackie Urbanovic books), and having a minute to browse the sale shelves.

The thing about library sale shelves is that bibliophiles have to approach them with caution. Hardbound books for a dollar?? Paperbacks for fifty cents?? Yeah, it can be easy to get carried away — i.e. to carry away more books than your shelves at home can hold. So I have a self-enforced rule that I only buy the ones that speak to me, where something about the book beckons me to own and read it. Often that means I walk away without anything, but last Saturday I latched onto a title that just had to follow me home: Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling.

I mean, how often is a title that cool? You know you would have done the same thing: yanked your very last dollar (the one you’d been thinking of as “parking garage money,” not to be spent otherwise) out of your wallet and thrust it at the librarian (sitting behind the sign saying you could only use your credit card for $3 or more).

Or maybe I just happened to be in the mood for that sort of thing that day.

As I’ve opened the book and read pages from it off and on this week, I’ve thought about how mood-driven reading is for me, how often I abandon books a few pages in not because there’s anything wrong with them but simply because they’re not what I felt like reading at the time. A year ago I admitted on the blog ( that I’d even done that with Pride and Prejudice, which later, once I was in the right frame of mind, became one of my all-time favorite books (of course).

The curse of it is, though, that I end up with way “too many” (a loose term generally applied by non-bibliophilic outsiders). Not only are there bookshelves all over our house, but a precarious pile of them perches on my nightstand (see also my post about reading slumps because I need several books right there, totally accessible, to fulfill whatever reading craving I’m having on a given night, whether fiction or nonfiction, humorous or dramatic, etc.

It’s sort of the same problem I have getting dressed every day: I want to wear what I’m in the mood for, and who can predict that ahead of time?

No wonder I can never manage to pack light when I travel! Not only does my suitcase have to fit an outfit for each possible temperament, but it also needs a book for each one, too (which gets heavy).

This possibly means that it’s about time for me to get a Kindle.

With the holiday season and the travel it involves, how do you manage to have the books you want at hand? What books have you been in the mood for lately? Ducks? The history of spelling? Or something else altogether?

Leave a comment! –>(

p.s. WordPress is giving me trouble creating links right now, which is why they are stupidly clunky at the moment instead of streamlined into the text. Sorry for the clutter! I’m hoping they’ll get the glitch fixed soon.


10 thoughts on “In the Mood: Why Traveling Light Is Impossible When You Go with Your Gut

  1. The only trouble with giving in and ordering a kindle is that you will never, ever go back. It’s easy to miss the smell of pages but if I brought one more bookshelf into the house my fiance would push me back out until I took it back! I got one on a lark, not sure that I would like it, but in the end it is so much better than taking up precious space, not having a ton of books on hand for when I finish one and need to select another and hefting heavy hardcovers!


    1. So far it’s the cost more than the space that’s holding me back. I get most of my books at the library, so a Kindle is way out of my budget. But someday it would be nice! And yeah, I can relate on the bookcase thing. I built one last summer and think I’m already to the point of needing another soon . . . which Hubby will not like.


  2. Someone gave me their Kindle when they upgraded, but I never use it–I feel so bad! (But not bad enough to give it to anyone else…) Mostly it’s because I forget to charge it, so it’s never charged when I want to read. So there is definitely that disadvantage to technology.


    1. Good to know. I’m pretty sure I’d be exactly the same way since my cell phone is almost always about to die whenever I need it (I charge it once a week, but that’s about how often I use it, too). Plus I have a phobia that something would happen to erase all my e-books in an instant — a bibliophile’s nightmare!


  3. I did not even finish reading this post (yet) because I had to say the following…


    How did I not know this.


  4. I suddenly have a craving to read about spelling ducks. Hmmmm. But really, you are so right with the mood driven book thing. That’s why I have about five books going at once. It just works better that way. 🙂 Right now I want to read something that makes my heart race and is full of adventure. Any suggestions?


    1. Ooh, that does sound pretty good. I think I’ve already recommended all my faves of that type to you, though, like The Queen of Attolia. Have you read Leviathan yet? That one’s an awesome adventure story, complete with fabricated beasties! If you already read it, let me know and I’ll keep thinking of more.

      Glad to know I’m not the only one reading five books at a time. Right now I’ve got Beautiful Darkness, Righting the Mother Tongue, Pretty Monsters, and The Everything Guide to Herbal Remedies going all at once. I like all of them, but every day I seem to be in a different mood lately.


    1. Okay. I scanned my shelves and these are the ones I came up with:


      Goddess of Yesterday by Caroline B. Cooney, I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak, The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart


      Water for Elephants, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (that last one is 800 pgs long, takes 100 pgs to get into, and yet is so amazing that hubby and I have read/listened to the audio book multiple times).

      I hope that gives you some ideas! 😀


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