January 11, 2017 – I had to leave behind daily hot pool soaks to get motivated to write my next post. We’ve enjoyed the relaxed pace of staying put for a month at a time, first in Desert Hot Springs and now at Santee Lakes outside San Diego. The campground is part of a state recreational area with a string of 7 small lakes, long walking and biking trails, multiple playgrounds, and interesting wildlife (pelicans and coyotes and frogs, oh my!). We really only have to leave to get groceries.
Instead of writing about our latest adventures in the great outdoors, I’ve been thinking about our love for the great indoors pursuit of reading. We’ve been spending more time inside, thanks to the much-needed rain that’s been hitting Southern California, and I’ve been able to get a local library card since we’re staying for a few weeks. It’s been great to be able to borrow new books and DVDs (especially the DVDs!).
I’ve always enjoyed going to the library to write, and the kids are happy to spend time playing on the computer or gorging on picture books. Rita’s on the 5th Harry Potter book since starting the series in November, and Charlie’s reading chapter books, but they both still love the short stories and illustrations of picture books. It doesn’t make sense for us to buy and store these in the RV when they go through them so fast, so the kids take advantage of the opportunity to pull anything off the shelf that catches their eye at the library and to read as many as they can in a sitting.
I’m typing this at the Santee Public Library, a 5 minute drive from our RV park. Charlie is across from me with a pile of books, and Rita jumped in with a dozen boys in an after-school chess club. Last week they both joined an awesome hour-long kids yoga class. The library in Desert Hot Springs was small, but always busy and the staff was friendly and helpful. Another thing I’ve appreciated about becoming a regular visitor is being able to observe and to feel a part of the local community. We love libraries.
When we were traveling around more frequently we searched out independent and secondhand bookstores to browse and stock up. We found some notable shops, like Hein & Company in Jackson, CA with a second floor dedicated to all things Sherlock Holmes including detailed period rooms, a tea shop, and costumed docents. Or Eureka Books, a beautiful store with a wrap-around second story balcony, that had a nice mix of new and used books. The Bookworm in Santa Maria was in a small nondescript storefront in a strip mall, but it had an incredible selection and a friendly and knowledgeable owner.
We’ll still go to a Barnes & Noble if we’re looking for something specific, but I’ve enjoyed finding whatever might be available in a particular store, either a title I haven’t read yet by a favorite author, or something on my running list of books-to-look-for based on reviews and recommendations from friends.
Our inventory of books has slowly crept up since we moved into the RV. I started out borrowing library books on my iPad. I liked the idea, but with spotty Wifi and competing demands for the iPad between my writing and the kids’ games, I migrated back to actual books. We’re storing them in overhead cabinets in plastic bins and in a space under our bed, but there are still always a few books piled up on the dining table, on the windowsill in our room, and on the kids’ beds. I try to cull through them frequently and give away as many as we’re bringing in.
And now for what really inspired this post, a photo collection of the kids in a few of the many great bookstores and libraries we’ve visited, doing one of the things they enjoy most.