Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The truck's a comin' on Thursday

And they're takin' all our stuff.

(They do all the packing and wrapping and boxing - which is why I can still afford to blog every day. I just have to make sure it's all clean and organized. "Just" - ha!)

We're shipping almost all of our things by boat. Our container will sail the not-so-friendly seas for two weeks, and then chill out in the even-less-friendly customs port for who-knows-how-long. (Best case: two months. Worst case: six. We don't talk about that.)

Everything's pretty much ready. I have boxes stacked up in the laundry room ready to go. The couch is clean. (And I don't let anyone near it.) Dressers are emptied and clothes stacked up neatly on the floor. (Ahem.)

All that's really left to do are these:

We have hundreds. And hundreds. And I love them all.

How can I possibly choose which books to send by ship (and therefore NOT READ for who-knows-how-long) and which to take later on the plane? I can't pick too many ... not only do we have a suitcase limit, but a weight limit. And we should give preference to things like CLOTHES. (Not all THAT important, right Kristina?)

But I feel like I could no sooner choose a favorite child.

I LOVE to read. Anyone who knows me even marginally knows this. More often than not, I have a book in my hand.

And because libraries in Brazil are a joke, I've been reading the same books over and over again for five years. They have become a part of me - some a continuing appendage to my body, some an integral component of my soul.

A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog's ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins. ~Charles Lamb, Last Essays of Elia, 1833

These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice... by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart. ~Gilbert Highet

"Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are" is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread. ~Fran├žois Mauriac


What books would YOU keep with you?


Rachel said...

You have asked the wrong person . . . in our den we have shelves full of books lining the walls. Those are the books that I have read and want to keep. In my bedroom I have a bookshelf full of the books I love. I keep them close to me because they are my fallbacks . . . Harry potter, princess bride, ender's game, the hundred secret senses, I could go on. These are my comfort books, the ones I pull out when I'm sick or sad or otherwise afflicted.

Good luck choosing. It's a hard thing to do.

SO said...

I have no idea. We have a ton of books that I haven't ever read because they aren't fiction and I struggle with those books. I think that I would keep out The Wheel of Time Series, The Harry Potter Series, My Sisters Keeper and *looks around and whispers* The Twilight Series.

KC Mom said...

You probably have to be very picky about what you bring if there is a chance you won't see the rest for 6 months!
I love books and I have a ton of them but I'm really strange...I don't like to read the same book twice.

Perpetual Mommy Exhaustion said...

Aside from the obvious scriptures, I could not live without the following:
Harry Potter
Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austin
The Chosen-Chaim Potok
Little Women-Louisa May Alcott
Dave Barry
The Chronicles of Narnia- CS Lewis
Paradise Lost-Milton

Lara said...

Oh man.

Tough decision. I'm not even going to try.

Good luck with it all!

Kristina P. said...

You're so right about clothing not being a necessity. Good luck with the move.

janae said...

I hate those customs boats. Seriously. We've been through that a thousand times. It STINKS. Although I must say that I am super jealous that you have movers packing your stuff. We always had that growing up, but now I'm stuck doing it on my own. We have 13 days before the movers come and I'm not sure if my children will even recognize me by the time that day comes!

ps. I'd keep the scriptures (of course), To Draw Closer to God (Eyring), any book by Elder Holland, The Chronicles of Narnia, everything by Shannon Hale (for light reading), and Les Miserables. Hey, you asked. :)

Michelle said...

You know...there is a new thing out there called a Kindle. You can find it at amazon.com. They're pricey, but very interesting. It's very thin and about the size of a book.

My sister in law has one and she loves it! she's told me it can fit up to 1500 books...and you can buy books for as little as $3. I think she's planning on taking it on our family reunion trip this summer.

For me these are the books that I would want to take with me.
Lets see ...
The Standard Works
Jane Eyre
Any Mary Higgins Clark novel
Harry Potter
The Work and the Glory
The Hearts of the Children Series (both generations)
Maybe a few classics that I've never read for a little something different.

Jen said...

I too am a major re-reader. I have several books I've read ten times or more - and will probably read again. My favorites range from Ender's Game to Jane Eyre, and the list is too long for this comment box.

Good luck choosing. And either way you look at it, you're returning to the land of libraries, so you'll be just fine.

Mommadj5 said...

Good grief - what a tough one. The standard works are a no brainer but I would have to have the "Made Easier" series with them. I would probably go with some to make me laugh, some to make me think, some that give comfort, some to help parent or uplift and some just to escape. How much space you have depends on how many in each category - 1 or 2? (Man - do you have to include books for the kids or can you hit the library for those?) Ok- so Erma Bombeck, The Miracle of Forgiveness, The Mortal Messiah Book 2, The Work & the Glory book 4 or 5, Parenting with Love and Logic, and any old Patricia Cornwall book (not her recent ones...). I am helpless - like not having my arms - without a current book to read. Kinda like Sophie's choice - what movies will you take :-)?

janel said...

We just got your recommendation for Uncle John's bathroom reader from the library.

Kristi said...

I am the same way, I could no sooner pick a favorite child... and the thought of them sitting on a ship all by themselves? I think I would rather pack along all my books and leave the family naked....
Good luck in your decision, but I would take the ones that remind me of "home" - you know, the nostalgic childhood home that we need to escape to during rough patches. For me it is the Anne series. "Home".

Deb said...

I'm sorry, I can't help you! I would forego clothing to bring my books. At minimum, I would need the Twilight series, the Harry Potter series, several Stephen King, The Miracle of Forgiveness, The Glass Castle, Angela's Ashes, Pride & Prejudice...

Have you considered investing in a Kindle and loading it up?

Tobi said...

I would have to bring a separate suitcase for books and then I would ship the rest of my books to a HIGHLY TRUSTED FRIEND in the states. Books are too precious to mess around with. Now as for my list...

Fablehaven Series- Brandon Mull
Little Women
Waiting Wives - Donna Moreau
All of Jane Austen
Harry Potter Series
Twilight Series
The Girl Who Could Fly - Forester

And many more...but that will do to start.

InkMom said...


The Secret Life of Bees
The Book Thief
Jane Eyre
100 Years of Solitude
Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Outlander Series
The Shadow of the Wind
The Joy of Cooking
From Dawn to Decadence
The Art of Simple Food
Harry Potter
The Red Tent

That's for the first suitcase.

Whitney R said...

I would suggest the 10 that it's been the longest since you've read. That should hold you over until you can get to a library and wait on your other books. Maybe??

Melonie said...

When we moved to Okinawa I was in almost the same situation - except we get one express shipment that took less than a month, then the rest came over in containers on the ship.

In my suitcase I packed MaryJane's Lifebook; Homemade; Alas, Babylon; and a whole bunch of magazines I had saved up when my subscriptions arrived during the month of pack out. Ultimately I read none of them except the magazines; we had too many things to take care of before leaving and upon arrival. My idea of sitting on the 14 hour flight reading was blown out of the water by my kids and the creepy guy who wouldn't shut up but got mad at my daughter (who also wouldn't shut up). My idea of sitting in Lodging and reading until we got a house was knocked down by heat exhaustion and the lure of cable (which we didn't have in California). One of the first things we do when we arrive somewhere is check out the library - no pun intended - so the books I brought with me that I'd already read got put aside in favor of magazines about the area that I picked up free on the bases and maps trying to figure out where I was and what time it was. ;-) Magazines worked better for me in my jetlag induced stupor + learning laws and routes and that whole driving on the left side thing that first few weeks.

Since you're headed back to the States, however, you'll be ahead of me. haha I would say put a few really good ones in your carry-on and then just have an excuse to hit the library in your new town running. Anything you truly truly can't live without (or that is irreplacable if damaged in transit) I would ship to a friend or your husband's new workplace by UPS. (I'd say USPS since they have Media Mail rates that are super cheap, but they aren't known for getting things there quickly or in one place, and I don't know if the Brazilian PO has something similar rate wise?)

DeNae said...

Actually, I know this is going to sound awful of me, but I advise you to get rid of any books that you could easily replace in the states. Then pay to ship the rest by air. We have friends who moved from Brazil, and their belongings basically sat on a dock for two months. By the time they received their stuff, it was pretty moldy and mildewy, and they ended up throwing away scores of books anyway. (I'll wait until your furniture is all safely delivered before I tell you how the rest of that story goes...)

I'm sorry to be such an Eeyore; I love books so much, but I also may be one of the few of your readers who has some experience with this, and you could be looking at a mess on 'the other side' if you try to store and ship your books via slow boat to Arizona.

Good luck, chiquita! That moving day is long, so pace yourself!

DeNae said...

Ick. That comment was so pedantic and obnoxious. Do whatever you think is best; pay no attention to crazy lady behind the curtain...

Melanie J said...

I think these are some of the seriously coolest quotes about books/reading I've ever come across. Good work!

I'm a book fiend, but I'd still go back to the classics. I'd take To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, Huckleberry Finn, Anne of Green Gables and the Book of Mormon.

Melanie J said...

Oh, and The Book Thief.

Christine Gram said...

I'd ship them all. The wonderful part of this is the overwhellming joy when you unpack them in a few months. The closest thing to Christmas for an adult.

Stepper the Mighty said...

oh my goodness - what an agonizing question!

I would have to have Ender's Game - that's one I've re-read a bunch of times and never get sick of (nevermind the relation to the author).

I would need The Little Prince - reminders about the dangers of Baobabs are always pertinent.

I'd take a few selections from my favorite YA authors.

of course the BOM, which is like reading a new book each time you peel back a layer.

No. this is too hard. I'd take them all.

Especially after DeNae's comment! For a book to meet such a tragic end!

There was this one time when I was driving my trusty steed Paco (the grey Nissan truck) out of the canyon with my friend in the passenger seat. We drove past a deer that had been the sorry victim of a drive-by-run-overing, and my friend exclaimed how sad it was. I shrugged and said, "meh". But not two minutes later, there was a hardback book in the middle of the road, pages fanning in the wind the cars caused as they whizzed past and over it. I cried out in dismay and genuinely thought about turning around and trying to "save" it.

My friend still laughs about how I didn't care about Bambi, but a HARDCOVER BOOK of UNKNOWN SUBJECT MATTER! hoo, boy!

Natasha said...

ONE book? That's like asking me to pick one favourite song.

I guess I'd have to pick a mini-book that is a compilation of C.S. Lewis's best quotes from his books, organized by category.

I also love Little Women and Anna Karenina and a collection of short stories by Tolstoy that includes Family Happiness. And my humour books. Those are kind of a necessity.