Anna’s Curse

Posted June 10th, 2012 by June O'Hara and filed in Books,, My Favorites

I’m crazy for books. Always have been. They carried me through a childhood absent of Zoloft, a marriage short on success, and more bad haircuts than I care to recall. I coped with none of these well, but here I am, still breathing. Without books to pull me through, I probably would have ended up pumping gas, sans an ability to pump gas, scraping pennies together for a bi-annual latte.

At one point, I accumulated more books than I could accommodate, forcing me to sell “Anna Karenina” back to my local used bookstore. How this pained me! Despite my torturous, if periodic, boredom, I’d battled through Anna’s interminable pages just to know, in the depths of my puny soul, that I’d done it. Because, damnit, I had. (For the record, I have no interest in the lives of Russian farmers. Nor will I ever.)

“Anna Karenina” was thick and heavy; it had presided prominently at the center of my centerpiece bookcase. It had announced, in its own quiet way, that I’d persevered through its pages to unimpeachable triumph. I wanted that book there. I needed it there. But in time, I had to choose between displaying it out of pride or letting it go, to let new life in.
I chose to let new life in.
Witness to my turmoil, my friend Arthur, an engineer, gave me a bookcase he no longer needed. On a Saturday afternoon, he hoisted it into my apartment and set it against the wall beside my bed. I was thrilled. More room for books!
I wish my tale ended there. Alas, it does not. Along with the bookcase, Arthur brought a digital camera (and tripod, of course. That’s just him) to take pictures of me for my profile. He took a few of me in the kitchen. Too blue. A few in the living room. Better, but a bit too dark. Finally we ventured into the bedroom. I propped myself up against a few pillows and smiled widely into the lens. And in these shots, all was pleasing to the eye. It seemed we’d finally found success.
Not until viewing the photos later did I notice it.
Despite my numerous and enthusiastic claims to be an avid reader in my Match profile, I was positioned before a totally bare bookcase.
A totally bare bookcase.
Of course, I knew there was a simple fix to this. Either I, or the bookcase, would be cropped out.
It didn’t matter, really. Either way, the lighting would be superb.
Before Cell Phones | Like Father, Like Daughters

33 Responses to “Anna’s Curse”

  1. totsymae1011 says:

    I must be the only writer without and e-reader and I need one because I more more books that shelves to put them on.

    • junebug65 says:

      I have issues, I know. But the feeling of actual pages in my hand…how can I let that go? If it came down to space for (substitute the particular: dishes, furniture, toilet paper…) it would be tough going. Thanks so much for your comment.

  2. Cheryl P. says:

    I share your love for books. I have given away more books that libraries have sold in their used book sales. I don’t hoard other things but books just seem to multiply around here. Hubby bought me an e-reader thinking that would help. Still I like the actuall book in my hand. I truly don’t think a house can have too many bookcases. Good luck with the I am sure your pictures look great.

    • junebug65 says:

      Cheryl, I’m curious whether you can give away books that you love. If so, you’re a better woman than I. I lend them, often don’t get them back, then scour yard sales to replace them. For me, it’s almost a sickness. And actually, I actually met a great man through Match who happens to be an editor. Thanks so much for your comment and your encouragement.

  3. Shary Hover says:

    I have a hard time getting rid of books. Every time we move, I donate a box or two and as soon as I’m settled in the new place, I find myself wishing I had at least one of the books back. Sigh.

    • junebug65 says:

      I so relate to that. Hang on to a book: where to put it now? Let it go: but I miss it! I’m just old enough to see it as a blessing rather than a curse. Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. Great post. I, too, plowed through Anna…but I liked it. I’ve never viewed a train the same way again.

    • junebug65 says:

      Thelma, I’m SO laughing right now. The train does ring bells with me. It’s just the details of Russian farming…it’s either my lack of maturity or inability to raise a plant. I’m so glad you stopped by.

  5. I, like you, have had to give coveted books away. Before I made this last move, I hauled 400 of my favorites to the local library. They were thrilled…and I was devastated. Although we currently live in a small place, I still look at wall space with a limited architectural eye and pray that my growing number of books will find solace in a shelf, or the very least, a place to shine. I would give away a Kardashian diamond for Anna and those Russian farmers! Thanks for your wonderful bog!

    • junebug65 says:

      Annie, it’s great to hear from another hard core book lover. I feel your pain about the library! My dream is to live somewhere with in-laid (if that’s the word) bookcases. I’ve just begun playing with Stumble Upon and have found magnificent pictures of book collections. Ah, to wish…..thanks so much for your comment.

  6. Jennifer O. says:

    totsy, nope–i don’t have one either.

    i don’t know…a man with a penchant for reality tv doesn’t seem desirable to me. I think I’d consider getting cropped out instead.

    Love Anna Karenina. Irina Reyn wrote a novel called What Happened to Anna K about a Russian American immigrant. Sort of reworking the old into the new and it was quite good.

    • junebug65 says:

      Jennifer, LOL, you’d rather be cropped out. And oddly, I might actually be interested in What Happened to Anna K. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Jennifer O. says:

        This looks like a blog I can really get into. LOVE the Blog Title and description.

        Anna K was a wonderful read, but there were some who claimed Tolstoy was turning in his grave. Considering Jane Austen is still in her coffin after the zombie reworkings, I think we’ll be just fine. :)

        • junebug65 says:

          Thank you so much for your compliments. I do wonder if I read Anna again (I read it years back) if I would appreciate it more. But that would compromise the post. And you make a good point about Jane.

  7. Jennifer O. says:

    Incidentally, I forgot to mention I loved Anna so much, I named my youngest daughter after her. And I have an Emma too, after the other great novel.

    Not that I want them to be anything like those heroines; it’s more of a cautionary tale and a nod to the literary greats.

  8. Bella says:

    June, I loved this post. One, because I can relate to feeling actual physical pain if I have to give away books, and two because I could just imagine the photo in front of the empty bookcase! How fantastic! It made for quite the evening giggle! When I last moved here, I had to leave most of my books behind. I had tears in my eyes as I closed the crates that would store them back at my old family home. They’re like old friends who have seen you at your worst and still love you.

  9. I cannot bring myself to get rid of books. I have little time to read and yet I keep accumulating books. I have stacks all over as there’s not enough room in my bookcases. Yikes. How’s it going with

    • junebug65 says:

      I relate, Monica. So little time to read, but books everywhere! I’d like to say they spawn when I turn my back, but it’s me. I keep bringing them home. I can’t seem to help myself. As for Match, I haven’t done it in awhile. I hope you’re enjoying your holiday.

  10. Julie Farrar says:

    I’m finally admitting that I can’t own every book I want to read unless I buy a second house. I find the e-reader a good alternative because I can put on it novels and other books I don’t mark in the margins much. But you will never find an empty bookcase in my house. My daughter just emptied hers (heading off on her own). I think I know exactly where it will go and what I will put on it.

  11. June O'Hara says:

    I understand, Julie. And it’s not just having the books. I have them placed a certain way, according to many factors. I cherish them in a way that’s not quite normal. I like that you already know what you’re putting on your new shelves already. Sounds like me.

  12. J. Bear Savo says:

    Years ago I got rid of all the books I had read. I kept only my reference material, my Shakespeare anthology, my Doyle anthology, and my Harry Potter set. Everything else got chucked. Now there’s Kindle. No need for shelves.

  13. June O'Hara says:

    Wow, J. Bear. I guess I’m nuts, but I can’t even comprehend that. Even if I broke down and did the Kindle thing (God help me), I could never part with the books I already have.

  14. Have him just photoshop a bunch of books in. Alas, I had to rid myself of 40 years worth of books when I downsized. I kept just my faves and now I have a Nook. It’s not the same, but I probably buy and read more books now just because it’s so convenient. Good luck on the thing. I expect it will be an excellent source for blog fodder.

    • June O'Hara says:

      Jane, thankfully this was some time ago. And God knows, maybe eventually I’ll even go the Kindle/Nook route. I wonder how hard it was for you to part with the 40 years worth of books.

  15. You’ll probably meet a great guy who shares you passion for books!!

  16. June O'Hara says:

    Actually, Lisa, this is an old post and I’ve been dating an editor for some time. Like I always say, it’s my greatest blessing and curse. :)

  17. Lauren says:

    I thought he was going to Photoshop the books into the shelf. So, did you or the bookshelf get posted at your profile on

    Really smooth writing.

  18. June O'Hara says:

    Lauren, can you just see the picture with me cropped out? The thought always makes me giggle a little.

    How are you doing?

  19. Annie says:

    Love this piece. I caught new things reading this time through. Since I’m attempting to learn Photoshop I could have offered to throw in a few books into that empty shelf! Oh, and I noticed last comment I left I thanked you for your wonderful bog. Lovely!

  20. June O'Hara says:

    Thanks Annie! About Photoshop, good for you. I bet that’s cool. It’s on my list of things to learn by 2019. Thanks for such a nice comment.

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