PaperBackSwap Blog

Memories, Musings and Miscellany from our MoM’s

Today our featured MoM is Patty P. (Patouie) who was named Member of the Month for October 2009


Yes — it was October, when the woman with the octuplets had just been in the news. So someone nicknamed me OctoMoM.

So… who else here sat through Dick and Jane books in first grade, reading ahead to discover the thrilling denouement — will Rex run fast?… will Mother be wearing that same dress and apron? — and getting into trouble for not being on the right page? I’m sure I’m not alone.

Some of my favorite books are still children’s books — as a toddler, I felt understood by the author of The Pokey Little Puppy. The first chapter book I read to myself was called The Oregon Trail. It was five or six inches thick at the time. (It has since shrunk.) I didn’t want to come to the last page, and spent some time that summer trying unsuccessfully to design a circular book that would never end.

One of my nicknames growing up was Patty-First-Lemme-Just.

“Turn off the light now.”

“Okay, but first lemme just finish this chapter.”

Two hours later someone would think to check on me. I hadn’t noticed the end of the chapter. Really.

I decided at some point in my twenties that I could write formula romances as well as the next person, and read a whole bunch of them to get the feel of it. It was an overdose. The result was that I cringe at the word “Silhouette”. Kind of like when your mom lets you eat the whole bowl of frosting.

Having my own kids was a wonderful excuse to blend children’s books back into my chosen genres of general literature (a favorite is The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy), historical fiction (my first was Hawaii by Michener), biography (how about John Adams — or anything by David McCullough?), and general non-fiction (Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man fascinated me, or more recently “Before the Dawn : Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors“.)

I’ve started a list here of my favorite children’s literature. You can find it on my Profile. A number of members have added wonderful books to it. When the kids were young, we would rotate who got to choose the book, so we’d read “Treasure Island,” followed by “Mathilda” and “The Princess Bride.” I can still recite aloud the Edward Lear poem “The Jumblies”, and “Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod.” As the kids started to read to themselves, I told them they were only allowed to learn to read if they still let me read aloud to them. 🙂 We would read The Harry Potter books to each other, and one of our favorites was The Golden Compass. We’d always have a book in the car.

When my kids were in middle school/high school, I hated the idea of reading amazing books, maybe sharing them with family members, but then having them just sit there. So I set up a little lending library of my current favorites on a shelf near the front door. Some of the books I placed there were The Life of Pi, Water for Elephants, Angela’s Ashes, Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, 1776 by McCullough, Like Water for Chocolate, Animals in Translation. I don’t think any of the people coming and going in the house ever took me up on it and borrowed a book, but at least my family always knew where to find a winner.

I read about PaperBackSwap somewhere in 2005, and mentioned it to my daughter when she was home for college. She joined, and as I saw her packages start to arrive, I joined. Getting that first book is a little like a first kiss. Very special. I understood the concept of this site somewhere in my gut. It was that failed little lending library on my shelf, but on a grand scale. At first it was hard to mail off a book I’d really loved, but then I told myself that I was storing my favorite books in other people’s homes.

Soon I was volunteering as a tour guide, and on the data editing and book cover image teams — what an amazing group of people. And participating in Ani’s Tea Swap. (I’m drinking some Gingerbread ice tea someone sent me right now.) I’m a lifer.


If you have any nominations for Member of the Month, submit them to us here.  Your nomination will not “expire”–anyone you nominate will have a chance at getting Member of the Month if enough nominations accumulate over time. Each month the person who has the most votes accumulated when the Newsletter goes to press gets to be Member of the Month and gets a newsletter mention and a nifty MoM icon to wear on profile and forum posts with pride.  So go for it! Tell us who’s helped you in the Forums, who’s been a great swapper, who in your opinion is a credit to PBS.  We are keeping a list of all the nominated members.  Who knows–one of them might be YOU!

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