October 4, 2021


When faced with moving into a smaller home in Nashville with much less storage space than I’d had before, I honestly tried to downsize my book collection.  I forced myself to get rid of almost all my college and graduate school textbooks, passed along some books to friends or family, and sold some.  Even so, I still didn’t have enough bookshelves. 

After a few years in the house, inspiration struck!  Why not build in a bookcase at the end of the hallway? I found someone interested in doing this small project and the bookcase in this photo was the solution.  He built and painted it white to match the doors and baseboards, and then firmly attached it to the wall.  No more worries that the grandchildren might pull one of my lightweight bookcases over and injure themselves!

The smaller bookcase I had constructed from the old pump organ is out in the garage den, and holds some of my early books, as well as volumes I edited, one I translated from German to English, and one I indexed for the author.  Here too are some books written by Tom and other authors I’ve known, reference books on women’s suffrage and especially Tennessee’s role in ratifying the 19th Amendment.  A storage unit in my office den also has a couple of bookshelves for newer acquisitions waiting to be read as well as past issues of my favorite journal, Image: Art. Faith. Mystery.

My reading tastes are eclectic—ranging from Flannery O’Connor to Annie Dillard, Kathleen Norris to Frederick Buechner, Miroslav Volf to Wendell Berry. I don’t read many best sellers, but enjoy fiction, theology, nonfiction and poetry.

During the pandemic, I did a lot of reading and found the most comfort in poetry—Christian Wiman, Nikky Finney, Marie Howe, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, Tracy K.Smith, Gerard Manley Hopkins and T.S. Eliot. I also read for the first time all three volumes of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Currently I am reading for the first time Dante’s The Divine Comedy through an online series One Hundred Days with Dante. 

Reading the titles on a person’s bookshelves gives you some clues about who she really is.  I hope my books say I’m someone who loves words, meaning, story, mystery and truth.

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