Dear Library Books #sol22 19/31

Dear Library Books,

I meant to read you, I really did. I carried you home with such good intentions, certain that you would be the stack I made it all the way through before the due date. I know I was overly ambitious, but then I always am. Eight books in three weeks is an unlikely pace, especially this year, especially this month, but all of you looked so interesting! I never get books back on time anyway, so stretch those three weeks to five, maybe six, and I felt confident. Especially since I had my reasons for choosing each of you.

When I finish a book I really enjoy I love to look at those “If you liked this, try that” lists online. That’s how I found Ursula Le Guin’s Lavinia, Mary Renault’s The King Must Die, and Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls. You are all read-alikes for a type of book I didn’t know I liked until I finished Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles.

I might read you, Woman Warrior, for one of the categories of Book Riot’s Read Harder 2022 Reading Challenge (“Read a classic written by a POC”). I tend to make reading plans and then not follow through, but this challenge has so far brought me great reading pleasure in 2022. I already have a copy of you somewhere, but sometimes it’s easier to find you at the library than on my own shelves.

Ring Shout, this challenge is also why I brought you home. Not all of the categories in my reading challenge appeal, and “Read a horror novel by a BIPOC novel” fills me with, well, horror because this sensitive and impressionable reader can’t handle horror. But you sound like a book I would choose even if I weren’t tasked with reading a horror novel. Plus, you’re very short, and that is a quality I admire in a novel.

Good Riddance, I’ll be honest: even when I picked you up, I knew I probably wouldn’t read you. But I have such fond memories of Elinor Lipman’s early novels and also of meeting her when she guest lectured in a college class I took, and there you were looking charming and entertaining. I’m sorry that Pomegranate tore your cover when he knocked over the book stack and began kicking and biting you.

Beautiful World, Where Are You, I didn’t go to the library to look for you either, but there you were on the New Books shelf. I couldn’t make it many pages through Normal People, so I wasn’t sure you’d be for me. After reading fifty pages, I’m still not sure. I’m going to be honest with you: there is something really boring about you even as I feel compelled to keep turning pages.

I’ve read you before, Wide Sargasso Sea, but it’s been many years. Listening to all of the episodes of my new favorite podcast, Marlon and Jake Read Dead People, a series of lively conversations between Booker Prizing winning author Marlon James and his editor Jake Morrissey, has me wanting to read you again, because Marlon mentions you frequently.

You’re all already overdue, and I thought I might just return you all, unread. But it’s still dark outside, and no one is awake but me, and I have a warm lap of purring cat. Perfect reading conditions?


My theme for Slice of Life 2022 is finding inspiration in the writing of others. Each day I plan to find my slice in someone else’s words or forms. Today’s post was inspired by Rita DiCarne’s love letter to books.






30 responses to “Dear Library Books #sol22 19/31”

  1. kimhaynesjohnson Avatar

    What a neat way to slice – a letter to your books! I think we are not only in love with our books, but we are also in love with being in love with our books and that is how or stacks are so big. We simply love them and love that we love them and want more than we can devour, like those oversized desserts. Your photo stack looks lovely. I see that we both read a step off the beaten path and I love not falling solely for what everyone else says is good but knowing myself as a reader enough to choose pages that are not getting all the love from others. Books bring out the best in folks and this post brought out the best in you! They make us friends.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I love this–not just loving books but being in love with loving books! That’s me entirely! Thanks for this!

  2. Erika Avatar

    Oh, I could write letters of apology to the books I keep reserving and never actually reading… Fun slice!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      So many books reserved and unread…. Oh well. They’ll be there when we’re ready.

  3. cmargocs Avatar

    I was nodding my head throughout your post, my own to-read piles toppling over in my home. I bring home books from my school library all the time, and still don’t always read them! I also love your theme this year. So much inspiration in our writing community!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      There really is an incredible amount of inspiration–really enough for months of slices. I won’t come close to writing from all the mentor texts I’ve saved this month. Yes, I bring books home from my classroom library to join the many piles of unread books as well!

  4. Wondering and Wandering Avatar

    Gosh, I need to write this letter, too. I have a stack sitting right here. Way more than I can handle. I take out a bunch because I like to have options. One will get read, but not the whole stack. Thanks for this inspiration.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I like to have options too. I’m a mood reader, and I’m never quite sure what my mood is going to be. It’s important to have possibilities for all reading needs!

  5. arjeha Avatar

    It is so good that books are so understanding and forgiving. They know how hectic our lives can get, yet they always stay within an arm’s reach waiting to be picked up to take us places or expand our knowledge. What you describe does sound like the purrfect reading conditions.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      LOL, I’ll be a little sad when the warmer weather hits because I won’t have my snuggly companions anymore until fall!

  6. Trina Avatar

    This is SO perfect, Elisabeth! I always check out more books than I can read. Always. I always feel a bit of guilt when I don’t read them either!

    Thanks for introducing me to more titles.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Just what you need: more books! It’s definitely a compulsion to always check out too much–but it’s a good compulsion.

      1. Trina Avatar


  7. TLC Avatar

    I am always too ambitious at the library. I renew and renew when I remember, and sadly return some unread. Great slice idea.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s so hard not to be too ambitious when there are so many interesting books waiting to come home with us!

  8. humbleswede Avatar

    Isn’t it funny how we can feel like we’ve disappointed a book or rejected a book or overlooked a book, like it’s a person with feelings? I do feel like my pile calls out to me, sometimes pleading and sometimes berating. I haven’t even used the library in a while. I have too many gift books that are piling up right now. The latest is a George Saunders book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, which comes with its own list of prerequisites.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That book almost made my favorites of 2021 list–really loved it. And yes, I ended up reading quite a few extra stories as a result of that book.

  9. TammyB Avatar

    I love this slice and can relate. I used to read so much and the pandemic has influenced me a bit in the wrong direction. I put holds and pick up lots of books that I have been joking lately are taking a field trip to my house for a change of scenery! I really WANT to read them…LOL This was a clever way to address this fact of our lives right now! I actually did pick up BodyWork by Melissa Febos and am halfway through it. I also started Gallant (VE Schawab) but bought that book!
    Thank you!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m very eager to get Body Work–sounds amazing. Had to laugh at the “change of scenery” your library books are getting. That’s kind of like the change of scenery my stack of papers to give feedback on are getting this weekend. Enjoy the view! You’ll be right back in the classroom unread tomorrow!

  10. edifiedlistener Avatar

    An absolute treat of a read. Each choice so thoughtful and deliberate, but alas…
    I laughed out loud about Normal People because I felt exactly the same! I’ve had similar stacks in the past but I’m learning to return the unread with less guilt than before.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I used to feel guilty as well, but they’ll be there some other time when I’m ready to read. I haven’t made any more progress on Beautiful People–I’m thinking it might be a DNF.

  11. jarhartz Avatar

    Oh, you made me laugh. I love the conversations with your books. You are so kind, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings. Yet there is a need for honesty. I have such guilt when I don’t finish or read a book from the library. As if I have kept it away from someone else.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I have a tendency to forget to return things on time, and I do feel bad about that if it’s a new book someone is likely waiting for.

  12. Natasha Avatar

    I can relate to my reading hopes being more ambitious than what I’m actually able to read before the due date. I’ve gotten pretty lax about due dates, because once the books are home I really do want to read them! It was fun to hear about the books you have and your thoughts about them. It seems sort of fitting that Pomegranate tore the cover of “Good Riddance”–both because of the name and because of you saying you’re not sure you really want to read it anyway.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m lax about due dates too. My library no longer fines for overdues and so I’m always overdue. Hope springs eternal when I’m at the library.

  13. mythmakersunite Avatar

    Great stack of books! Love the picture. I can totally relate to this experience. Thanks for the podcast recommendation!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s such a great podcast–makes me laugh and makes me think.

  14. Ramona Avatar

    What a delight to know that you talk to your books too. I frequently comment that I checked out a book, caressed it, and longed to read it, But alas, it was returned to the library unread. I always check out more books that I can read.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Libraries are simply the best invention ever!

  15. karpenglish Avatar

    I love the idea of writing a letter to the poor neglected library books. Have you read Dear Fahrenheit 451? It is letters from a librarian to the books in her library, and it is hilarious. Of course, you will also find about 50 new books to read by reading it.

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