Collecting paper book editions

Although I have over 1,700 eBooks in my library, I am slowly accumulating paper editions of books that I have read in excess of 10 times each, figuring that at some point we may not have access to digital editions, but I will still want to continue rereading them. For example, if B&N were to fold, I might lose access to all of the books that I have bought from them for more than a decade. (Fiction-Wise and Peanut Press made it easy to download PDFs of the non-DRM documents;. B&N won’t let me touch the files that I obtained through them; I have since switched vendors to buy non-DRM files.)

My major problems with paper&ink books is that I have some sensitivity to paper and ink. I still have rough patches on the sides of my hands where books rested during my reading, or where my hand rests as I write a letter or an entry in a paper journal. Buying them far enough ahead, though, they have an opportunity to outgas, dispersing the fumes over time.

My latest acquisitions are a trade paperback 1st printing from Kensington of The Glass Butterfly, by Louise Marley and four books (to date) of the Elemental Blessings series by Sharon Shinn. I bought  the last two books as hardcovers through B&N and the first two in paperback, only to discover that I could get hold of hardcover editions by way of independent booksellers. I am waiting for the delivery of those books on Friday and Monday.

I do, of course, have eBook editions of these five books, so that the paper copies will last longer. I also got an eBook edition of Summers at Castle Auburn, by Sharon Shinn. I know that I have a paper copy around here somewhere, but most of my books are in boxes in the basement, not having been reshelved after we had water seepage—which problem has been dealt with by means of resloping the yard and replacing the eaves and gutters.

Other series/books/authors I double-buy for would be L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (as each new book comes available for pre-order) and the Summoning series by Robin D. Owens, which I just finished reading in eBook format, the paper copies that I started with being on the verge of becoming … delicate. I don’t recall Luna putting out hardcover editions.

I have ordered some books through independent booksellers that I remember from childhood (Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp, and Van Loon’s Lives, for example) and my teens (Odyssey: A Modern Sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis),

There are other books that I cherish, but which are so embedded in my mind that I no longer need a physical or digital copy to enjoy them again.



It’s April : National Poetry Month #NaPoWriMo

… and I have begun the NaPoWriMo challenge, posting most of my #poemaday pieces, rough drafts and all, at my Quiet Spaces journal. One recent day, I did not post one poem because, although I like it, it is still a rough draft; not everything comes off my pen ready to publish. I missed yesterday totally. Poems ran through my mind, but none of them fit the offered prompts. I will try again today.

In the meantime, inspired by the WP #dailypost photo challenge, I did write a poem to go with my #awakening photo, which was of breakfast, one day last week.

waking too early
to the familiar smells…
my favorite breakfast

I am having much trouble writing, I think. Some topics seem too intimate to share with the world at large, even on this blog, which receives no traffic whatsoever. Exaggeration! For as often as I make a blog entry here, that’s not surprising, is it?

I suppose that I should start a new post, talking of recent book purchases. But not right now. My dog has vanished from the front room, and I must discover what he has discovered.  🤔


His Ready Smile

The first anniversary of my father’s death is two weeks from today (Monday), and I realize that he and I spoke only briefly after I left home. Almost always about books, and if not what we were reading, stories about who he’d run into and what they were doing, leading into memories of people, places, and events.

Dad left so many papers and photographs. I got a nagging feeling for a while, that I should have kept and read at least some of them. He was very important to me in my youngest years. He gave me the gifts of literature and knowledge and the freedom to pursue them without hindrance. Once I had learned how to read, he treated me as an adult, when it came to choices in books, magazines, and interests in general.

It is odd that I do not care—really, I do not!—what he may have written to me. Thoughts that he might have left behind. He would have mentioned having left a note. Instead, he would offer books to me from his library during those last years and months. When he had something that he wanted to say to me, he said it. Nothing was left unsaid.

We had a deep bond in  several ways aside from books and discussion. Our care for his wife, my mother. He would almost always, once he’d greeted me on the phone or at the beginning of a visit, he would hand the phone to Mother or wander off into another room to give her plenty of room to visit…without competition?

Left to his own devices, Father could talk for hours, always saying something. He and I had our moments—fond memories—but Mother’s needs came first for both of us. She needed to be cherished. She needed to be the center of creation. Dad was always there for her. Well, sometimes he had to get out of the house to take his walks and have coffee with old friends and new, but otherwise, he was always available for her. They traveled a lot. Enjoyed one another’s company. Never mind the complaining from either one.

He died 103 days after she did. Unexplained (?) death. No apparent cause other than not taking in another breath. I think that the last words that we said to each other were “I love you”…”I love you, too” as we hugged. It did not occur to me that he would die before I could see him again.

There was nothing left unsaid. If I were to see him again? In a dream, perhaps? It would be “I love you, too. We’re still good.”

His Ready Smile


The new year’s plans

My plans for this year’s writing and blogging have not yet gotten off the ground. I had hoped to follow the Finding Water progression as a basis for getting back on track. Organized. Instead, I find that I am more in need of unstructured time and non-ordered thinking.

I have been spending more time playing with the dogs, taking naps, being less compulsive about my eating habits (not necessarily a good thing, but good for short-term unwinding), and starting once again with relearning piano warm-up routines: mainly multi-octave scales and arpeggios. 

I am reading fewer books, right now. Rereading old favorites, mainly. (Sharon Shinn, L.E. Modesitt, Jude Deveraux, and Francis Fukuyama, and a few other, scattered series.) I am reading more articles in The New York Times  and at I find myself reading fewer pieces and more slowly, rather than speed reading. Discovering what it’s like to have forgotten the beginning of an article by the time I’ve gotten to the end of it. Remembering why I’ve stuck all these years to speed reading. The unified whole. 

I was pleased, this past week, to discover a note on one of my other blogs from a favorite former client. I hope that there will be continued contact. I feel that I am not particularly good at that, but I would like to be. I must consider how follow up on this and other habits that I wish to develop.

The time is now well past midnight, and I must sleep. My alarm is set for nine o’clock in the morning. I will not sleep that long at a stretch.

Two dogs in the front sitting room, howling at the top of their lungs
The Scampers

They are, however, good company.


New Year’s Eve

It looks as though I will be starting the new year on the sick list. Al and I both came down with serious colds.  Although Al’s is a head cold, which is bowing to zinc  lozenges, mine went to my chest, of course. Finally the tightness is beginning to lift, thanks to rest, lots of tea and sleep (and dark chocolate), and one dose too many of the Albuterol via nebulizer. Racing pulse like I’ve never seen happen before! Al and I have decided to buy vitamin C tablets (that are not past the expiration date) to see if that will help things along.

I have been too tired to write for a week. Too tired to think. I have been reading my way (again) through L. E. Modesitt Jr.’s Imager novels, which has been a nice distraction. Started out with The Octagonal Raven (science fiction) and moved on from there.

While the dogs were eating, first thing this morning, I took some more photographs of frost on the windows. I am adding my favorite: Ocean Waves & Mountains.

frost pattern(s) on the kitchen window during a cold snap
Ocean Waves and Mountains: A Frost Impression

Just thinking

I had been thinking about my latest visit to my doctor and the RN diabetes educator, a few days ago, and recalling the pleasure of their company as we work together to plan out ways of modifying my activities and interventions to optimize my health while under treatment for T2 diabetes. They really are fun to work with. Outside of my own family, there are very few who take the time to visit, interact, laugh, smile, and share an occasional hug. To discuss real matters. Thinking!

I also am happy that I can learn so much about what to do and how to do what’s needful. Glad that I am making my own decisions, thanks to my own research and the guidance of medical staff. Their willingness to take time to discuss alternatives and offer honest opinions while helping me to carry out my health care plans to fit my life.

It might sound odd, but this past year has been a lot of fun. In the midst of all the family deaths during the past fourteen months or so, spending these twelve months working at improving my health and maintaining my joy in life has been a blessing and a welcome activity. The hours that I have been able to spend, also, during the summer and fall, with the bereavement counselors, have turned this time to exploration of additional facets of my life that have profited me and my family.

This week, I went back to reading Fukuyama’s Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy, with particular attention paid to chapters 30 through 36. The first volume, The Origins of Political Order, helped me to make sense of what I saw happening in the larger world surrounding me as things played out. This second volume is helping me to firm up my convictions about how I would live during this time. What decisions I would wish to make. Who I can be, and who I can’t.

I was going to say, “Earlier today…”, but that time has passed. Yesterday evening, six or seven hours ago, I found myself writing a sketch for a poem, which I shall not write as is, but I want to follow the ideas farther…I will share the sketch here.

I reach…
not to live
this life forever
but for immortality

I would not cling
as though the end
were just
a cliff
off which I’d slipped
and then could
claw my way back
into life again

[breathing hard
fingers bloody]

there is a proper end
as were beginnings

what are minutes…seconds more
when stacked beside eternity eternal life

[sketch]. Copyright © 2017-12-22, by Lizl Bennefeld.

I think, also, about an article (at that a friend/Friend posted on his FB page, last night, the article describing the unhappiness that must devolve among Americans at their declining quality of life and their slipping steadily into poverty of various types. Miserable and not recognizing that their lives are growing shorter and their quality of life is vanishing. And further, that those in Europe, whose standards of living and life expectancy are so much beyond those of those in the United States, do not recognize or appreciate how well off they are in comparison.

I think that these are odd, broad generalizations. There are, I am sure, many of us who dropped out of the “rat race” decades ago to continue enjoying what of life that really matters. Taking time to nourish self. To smile and exchange a word or two with friends and strangers. To laugh and to appreciate the small beauties around us. Surely not so many are so harried by life that they cannot or will not see the realities of the people around them.

Life is not perfect, and most of life is beyond our control. This always has been true, and it’s not likely to change. But we continue to do what seems right to us and do what should be done. Continue to be who we have determined to be in the face of whatever comes to pass.

Speaking of beyond control, I am not going to be up for grocery shopping in advance of the holiday if I do not get to sleep. Having too much fun thinking? 😊