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Reading season

GAYS MILLS - So, we had a change of weather last week. It was like summer slammed the door and fall came waltzing in, bold and brassy. All of a sudden and not completely unexpected, it was still quite dramatic. Further out west, they really got hammered with snow and 50-degree temperature drops in a day or less. We got a light frost and a token bit of snow, a mere sample of what’s to come.

I, for one, welcome the change. I enjoy seeing the seasons change and experiencing weather in all of its guises and moods. I look forward to catching up on my reading and winter is the best time to do that. 

The old saying ‘So many books; so little time’ haunts readers everywhere. I don’t know how people in more temperate zones ever find time to read. Good weather in the summer (or year-round) begs to be used for outside activities and my read-a-book-a-week plan has suffered this summer. I can’t get over feeling guilty about ‘burning daylight’ reading during the long days and can’t stay awake very long during the short nights of summer.

The key to being a reader, at any level, is to have a good book to read,  the kind of book you can’t wait to get back to. And there are scads of books out there to match every reader’s taste, just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. 

One book may lead to another. If you like an author, you may find yourself searching out everything they’ve written.  

Or a topic may pique your interest and you find yourself becoming an expert in, well anything: the Civil War, railroads, cowboys, true crime, etc. And, of course, fiction is a world unto itself, enticing, exciting, and habit forming. We all like a good story.

I was going to write about this a few weeks ago, but got sidetracked by a semi load of corn, as you may recall:  I wrote about the possibilities wrapped up in all those millions of corn kernels I was following. I was planning to write about the books in even a small local library then, so I will now.

According to an informed source,* there are an estimated 6,000 books in the Gays Mills Public Library. Further estimating, if the average book was five inches by eight inches and contained 300 pages, that book, when the single-sided pages are spread out on the gym floor, say, would cover 83 square feet.  Extrapolating the numbers out, the pages of the 6,000 books, would then cover roughly 500,000 square feet, which translates into over 11 ACRES of reading material in the Gays Mills Library!

There are 29 local libraries in the Southwest Library System. A person can request books from any one of those libraries through inter-library loan. So really when you walk into any one of those libraries you could access over 300 ACRES the written word. What a wealth at a reader’s fingertips.

So my thought is there has got to be something in that 11 acres of writing locally that would appeal to everyone, let alone the 300 plus acres in southwest Wisconsin.

Too many books, too little time indeed.


* My son David Gibbs is Gays Mills Library Director