The Bedroom Bookshelf


Put Something In
by Shel Silverstein

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,

Sing a mumble-gumble song,

Whistle through your comb.

Do a loony-goony dance 

‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.

Shel Silverstein’s classic book A Light in the Attic was published in 1981, the year my parents gave it to me for Christmas. It sits on my bedroom bookshelf along with a dozen or more hardcover treasures.

It’s an eclectic little shelf on which Silverstein cozies up next to Frost, and Thoreau and Dickinson share space with Winnie-the-Pooh and the Kama Sutra.

Is it the soft, sun-faded colors or the gently-worn spines that draw me in? I swear I hear them whisper to me as I sleep: “come read, come read.”

But I must confess, it’s been some years since I opened the pages of the comically illustrated Thurber Carnival or Sara Midda’s colorful South of France.

I recently wrote an enewsletter article for a client about summer reading, and remembered fondly my trips to the local library during summer vacation. Did you have a summer reading program like we did? Some magical theme and creative tracking device that kept you motivated from June to September? How fun, right?

Meanwhile, I’m six months into my Goodreads Reading Challeng…and six books behind schedule, they tell me. Thinking I might need a little motivation — magical theme, creative tracking device — I decided that my summer reading project would be the bedroom bookshelf!

I’m two books in, and about to start on Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. Can’t wait!

How about you? What are you reading this summer?


• • •

©2013, Jen Payne
Poem and Illustration by Shel Silverstein.

11 thoughts on “The Bedroom Bookshelf

Add yours

  1. I’m not that intellectual, but I don’t mind. I’m reading Ironhorse. A book in the Robert B. Parker series. A western, written by Robert Knott, since Parker has passed. I’m just not deep. :-D
    I am also jumping around and about with Complete Idiot’s Guide to Photography Essentials and the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Zen Living.
    See? ;-)

  2. Hmmm. Frost, check. Dickinson, check. Winnie the Pooh and Thurber, check. The Outermost House — although hardly from childhood — check.
    I’ve got a shelf like that too —
    But on my current one, now reading Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue, and another Aunt Dimity mystery by Nancy Atherton (like switched-on popcorn, those books), and just finished a stunner of a novel by a young Englishwoman I’d never heard of before, Francesca Lee. Book: The Translation of the Bones.
    Given this heat, it’s a great time for reading in the coolth!

    1. Have to answer above in the new format, not below. Oh well, you’ll figure it out.
      Cooling effect of Translation of the Bones is from the cold chills of the ending. Maybe not summer reading. About religion, fanatic, doubting, all shades in between, and mothers and sons, and a plot that left me gobsmacked. Cold water — can relieve the heat but can take the breath away. Dunno if it’s your glass of iced tea, but the woman can write!

  3. I love Shel Silverstein. Some of my earliest reading memories are attached his books. :-)
    As for this summer’s reading, I’m working my way through the Maisie Dobbs series and I’m loving every page.

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