Piles of Books

Guest post by blogger and avid reader, Michele Arnett, http://politeravings.blogspot.com

As a stay-at-home mother who is organizationally-challenged, piles and stacks are the banes of my existence. My house is littered with piles of laundry and stacks of paperwork. I tend to tackle piles by separating them into smaller piles that then go into circulation in several different places instead of one messy pile in a central location. Some days I just sit at the kitchen table, staring at a pile of bills, hoping that my focused dislike and frustration can cause the pile to spontaneously combust.

Unfortunately, staring just makes the pile grow larger. Likewise, staring at a pile of laundry does not motivate a shirt to fold itself. Piles are lifeless, helpless entities that represent work, monotony and futility in the life of a housewife.

However, my many piles of books are the exception to this complaint. I have specific types of books piled in several different locations around the house. Like most readers, I have a stack next to my favorite chair in the family room. This the diverse group of books I’m currently reading. This stack will usually include at least one classic novel, my book club’s current selection, one or two histories on whatever time period I’m interested in at the moment, a cooking or gardening reference book, and some magazines.

The living room contains the family computers. I usually have a stack of more magazines and catalogs in there, which allows for light reading while monitoring what my kids are doing online.

There’s a stack of antique reference books on my entry table, elevating a lamp so that it reaches the proper height as dictated by decorating experts on HGTV. The stack looks like it’s just for show, but it’s not.  Anytime I’m on Ebay or Craigslist, surveying locally-available antique furniture, I need to have those guides close at hand. It’s a pretty stack of costly reference books, but I use them all the time.

I have a little reading nook in my bedroom – two chairs with a table and lamp in between. We created it for those mythical lazy weekend mornings when we want to stay upstairs in the quiet with our books and coffee. My book stack in this location usually contains titles that hint at future plans or dreams. Right now, travel is on my mind, and the pile reflects that preoccupation.

(No reading nook would be complete without hand lotion and some nail polish, not to mention the obligatory pile of single socks in search of a partner.)

I rarely have the luxury of going to bed early enough to do any bedtime reading. Of course, if I’m in the throes of a thrilling book that I can’t put down, I carry it everywhere, including up to bed. But my bedside table stack is actually comprised of books that help me slow down my brain activity, or, if sleeplessness is an issue, a title that is sure to lull me into a detached state of mind. To aid in relaxation or combat insomnia, these books have been helpful:

On any given day, I have a stack of correspondence I have to answer. I have piles of bills, ironing and mending that get bigger by the day. I can’t escape those piles and the work they represent. But I can avoid them, if only temporarily, by sitting down next to one of my many piles of books, and choosing to escape into the enchantment that is words on paper.

*Note* The above guest post is from BWB fan, book-lover and blogger, Michele Arnett. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Better World Books (as our lawyers make sure we say). We love having guest bloggers and invite you to email 11@betterworldbooks.com if you are interested in covering a book or topic on the BWB Blog. Thank you, Michele, for sharing the insights of your book piles with us!

Tell us about your book piles!


  1. Jan Butler says:

    As usual you have been able to take a mundane subject and make it a good little read, provoking my own thoughts of the “piles” in my home. Mine, of course, are piles of fabric. Can’t wait to read your next “subject”….

  2. I loved that comment about no reading nook being complete without hand lotion & nail polish. so true! 🙂

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