This post is about books. There are books in every room of this house, reference books, popular fiction, BBBBs (Big Boring Bedtime Books), books I've read but have special meaning to me. I admit I am getting rid of the Bear's massive stash of books, but he never threw away a book. Never. Back to the 1960's. And he bought and read books like you or I eat popcorn. There were a lot of books we both loved and those of course are kept, but I don't need a 1960's copy of Airport nor many of his other old leftovers. I've kept a select few of his Civil War books (the 3 volume Shelby Foote opus), bird books, and so on. Enough to fill many bookcases but not falling out onto the floor or stacking up in the corners.
I finished two books recently I haven't reported on. Sheri Tepper's The Gate to Women's Country was terrific. I had read another novel by her, Grass, and was impressed so bought more. She writes what I have to describe as feminist science fiction and that is how she is labeled. The Gate to Women's Country has a surprise ending, one that you begin to guess at in the last third of the book but the final revelation is more than I was anticipating. Written so it's a page turner that you are reluctant to put down, I can recommend it highly. I have just gone out and bought several of her other books.
On the topic of buying books, I also recommend Better World Books, especially for used books. They have a huge stock, charge reasonable shipping to overseas addresses and their profits go to charity, supporting literacy and libraries. They are cheerful, personal and great to deal with. I found them through Amazon, but now go directly to them.
The other book I read was The Olive Harvest by Carol Drinkwater, which was a loan from a good friend. It was obvious that I should have read the preceding books first, but it was easy enough to figure out who was who. It was a page turner too, but, despite the glowing reviews, I wished she had a better editor. The prose needed a blue pencil to chop out cliches, overused terminology, too many trips to the thesaurus, etc. But it is a sensitive story I could relate to, of a woman trying to keep her Provencal olive farm afloat when her husband leaves her to pursue demands of his career. I wanted to tell her that people who sustain head injuries are not right for a long time afterwards, but apparently the French just told her to let him rest, which of course he refused to do. At any rate, everything turns out well in the end, even if I couldn't figure out where the money was coming from. The earlier books, no doubt.
Two books of the many I went to for help in dealing with my overwhelming grief on losing my dearest Bear were of real use. I read a lot of "widow books" which really didn't help me. They were full of things about how to handle children, when to start dating (!), and very short on the grief aspect. The two good ones are Understanding Grief by Alan Wolfelt and How to go on Living when Someone you Love Dies by Therese Rando. They are specifically targeted at grief, not about financial arrangements or other tangential issues. Yes, the only real "cure" for grief is time, but understanding why you are tearing your hair out in the middle of the night I found reassuring. I still grieve every day and I expect I will for a long long time. I still wake up expecting him to be here, I wait for him to come home, I just cannot get my head around the concept that my wonderful, comforting, aggravating, messy husband can possibly be dead. His ashes are right where I see them every day, but I still cannot understand how he could have died. Does this make sense? It's like one part of me just can't understand how I got to this place. The books analyze the various aspects of a relationship and the changes that happen and get you to think about specifics instead of just crying (which I still do). My body is still dealing with the stress of the event and I haven't been able to work a full 15 hour week for a while, being in pain, or not sleeping or some other hindrance to functionality. I also cannot keep up with household tasks on my own. There is just too much to do and I can't do it all. When the garden shuts down, I hope to catch my breath.