Monday, December 28, 2009


Next to our bed, on my side, the right, sits a small bright red Radio Flyer wagon, about two feet in length and about nine inches wide. This wagon has been my bedside companion for many years and has, in fact, accompanied me on several moves. It has been a daily, and nightly, source of comfort, pleasure, and satisfaction. For this wagon is piled high, to overflowing, with stacks of books.

The wagon was a gift from PYZ many Christmases ago, expressly identified as a “wagon for your books.” As intended, it would keep my bedside piles of books in one place, easily transportable, easy to move for cleaning and dusting, and off the floor and night tables. As it turns out, there continue to be books piled in other places but the bookwagon has become a very personal space, one that has accumulated books that are important to me, ones which I choose to be next to every night It has also turned out that the wheeled horizontal “shelf” does allow cleaning and straightening to take place more easily.

What books are eligible for the bookwagon? I have been thinking about this and I cannot say. It may be that these are books that command or demand my attention, now or later, and that through some mysterious process of selection, have made their way to this honored place. There are books I intend to read soon. There are books I want to read but have not for months and might never get to. Certainly the wagon contains books that are very much the kind of books I can envision myself reading late into the night but not all of them fit this description. There are also books I have read, and enjoyed. Why do they keep their place in this pile? I am unlikely to re-read them soon. Perhaps they provide satisfaction, reminding me of how much I enjoyed them, and suggesting stories, characters and information that I enjoy spinning in my head. Not every book makes it to the wagon, or stays in the wagon. Some wonderful books are on shelves, in the living room, in my backpack, or in suitcases to accompany me on trips.

My bookwagon has books of all types. There is fiction, contemporary and classic. Historical fiction, contemporary thrillers, graphic novels are all represented. Nonfiction lives in the wagon as well and includes histories, essays, and poetry. The wagon has hardcovers and paperbacks, brand new books and used books, some many decades old. There is no recognizable system, no defined discipline to this collection.

The books change, over time. Some are shelved, some are shared or given away. Some are eventually boxed up. The wagon is like a pond – it seems the same from day-to-day but the water is never exactly the same.

All of this writing, and reading, come together in my wagon and mean something. Perhaps this wagon of books provides me with a kind of personal literary map to help me locate, measure, and navigate my reading journey. Perhaps it is an album of books considered, books read, and even books forgotten. Perhaps it is daily reminder that the tangibility of books – ink on paper, bound, with covers to suggest what awaits the reader – provides a sensory pleasure that is important to me. I can say that I cannot always remember what is in the wagon but that once I see a book I can almost always clearly recall its purchase or acquisition. I have recorded the provenance in my head.

For these and many other reasons, I have chosen this wagon to provide the title for a blog that will share my reading travels with you, the reader. My selection of books, authors, and ideas will be at least as eclectic as the volumes in my bookwagon, certainly as disorganized, perhaps as interesting. I hope my random observations will provide an opportunity to share my interests with others, and engage you in conversation.

I am, in a way, taking my bookwagon on the road.


  1. I want a book wagon but the only radio flyer is full of garden dirt and rocks.(we have no wheelbarrel)Taking your wagon on the road is brilliant as is your blog. Looking forward to more as it will be about all the reading I will do. Sorry that my last name happens to be Zuroski for your blog,but I'm glad it is!

  2. Hey Greg,

    It's Rygen, Chris just showed me your blog. It was a pleasure to read what I have so far!You truly have a great and entertaining style! I hope to read much more of your work, likewise I hope this can serve you as an encouragement for continue blogging!

  3. I want a bookwagon, too...can you show us a picture of yours?