Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
The Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise

The other day I became ambitious – or crazy – and decided to take inventory of my books.

I have fewer books than I once did, but the casual observer wouldn’t realize that fact. They would think I have a problem. They’d be right.

To be fair, I have curtailed my purchase of books. I use a library, download free books and generally follow some loose rules on purchase criteria I set for myself. Too many books, too little time.

My husband and I moved several times. When the time came to pack the book boxes, he would just roll his eyes and then move to his tool cabinet. I have my own thoughts on how many screwdrivers some people seem to think are necessary, but that could be another column.

However, he was correct. I’ve donated books to libraries, charities and thrift stores. I started a spreadsheet listing all my books. I’ve been fairly diligent in keeping it up, but must admit that the past few years I’ve let that remain on my never-ending to do list.

So I sat on the floor of my office taking books from the shelves and looking at my eclectic collection. I have history, mystery, biography, war, philosophy, spirituality – just to name a few of the genres that have tickled my fancy over the years. I have books that were given as gifts.

When I go into a library or book store, I become transfixed. A similar feeling took over with my own collection. I looked at the books I used in college. I found titles that brought back memories. I found books that made me realize how much I’ve forgotten. I found books that I know I have read more than once and a pile of books that I’ve yet to read.

I found some Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and it took me back to early teenage years when I would read by flashlight under the covers when it was way past bedtime, and I didn’t want to get caught. There are times I still read into the wee hours of the morning. Luckily, I don’t have to resort to flashlight and hiding today.

I found books on Alzheimer’s that I devoured while George was ill. I found books that discuss how to die, which seems ironically timely. I found Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book “A Gift From The Sea” that was a precious gift while I was struggling with George’s illness and death. I found books on Monet and Georgia O’Keefe, reminding me of my love of art even if my intellectual grasp of art is elementary. I found some of my favorite history books, which felt like a visit with old friends. I found mystery and thrillers with recurring protagonists I love to meet from time to time. Waiting for the next installment seems to take forever.

Books and reading are gifts we give ourselves. If we allow ourselves to open our imaginations, books provide us the opportunity to learn and grow. I’m grateful for that first Dr. Seuss book so many years ago.

Pick up a book. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Jeanette Sekan is a columnist for the Cody Enterprise in Cody, Wyo. and a former resident of Ohio. The award-winning newspaper is owned by Sage Publishing Co. of Cody, Wyo. Jeanette’s columns are published in The Highland County Press, courtesy of the author and the Cody Enterprise (