It was ironic that just a day or so after I turned in last week’s column, I came across a blog that suggested taking a “readcation.” Ironic because my column was about books – reading them, buying them, borrowing them from the library – and because writing the column forced me to take a good, hard look at all the shelves, end tables, nightstands, and other places in my house that are overloaded with books.

I was surprised by the amount of feedback I got on the column. I also felt validated by the number of people who said they, too, have overflowing bookcases, and by people who said they continue to buy new books even as they’re running out of places to put them. A dear friend – from whom I have gotten many wonderful book recommendations over the years – told me that since her local library relocated to an area that is really out of the way for her, she buys most of her books now. When she’s done reading them, she donates them to a facility where she does volunteer work, or lends them to friends – who often thank her for opening up new worlds to them.

My favorite response came from a friend who told me that she and her daughters are also avid readers, and her daughters’ bookshelves are bigger than their clothes drawers. (I told her I’m glad they have their priorities in order.) It reminds me of a quote by Erasmus: “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”

As both a reader and a writer, I was thrilled to hear from so many book readers, especially in this day and age when leisure time and attention spans are shrinking so drastically that books seem to be headed for the endangered species list.

So I’m guessing others may be interested in the “readcation” blog that caught my eye. The author was playing off the idea of a “staycation,” in which you spend your vacation time staying home – or close to home – and either doing nothing but resting and relaxing, or taking day trips to local attractions.

A readcation, as you might guess, is a staycation focused entirely on reading. The blog suggested gathering a week or a weekend’s worth of snacks, beverages, and whatever creature comforts you might need, as well as a bagful of books to last the duration. No guilt allowed over any of the other things you could or should be doing with this time. It’s a planned vacation, after all.

I’m enjoying just daydreaming about what this would look and feel like for me. First, a round-up of several books I’m in the middle of reading right now, as well as some that people have recommended but that I haven’t gotten to yet. Plus a “just for fun” book or two of light reading, and a few books that I read in high school – like Great Expectations and 1984 – and keep saying I’d like to read again someday.

Then, a soft pillow, a warm blanket, a good lamp, and I’ll be all set for a readcation.

Not to mention a Minnesota winter.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on October 29, 2015.
©Betty Liedtke, 2015

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