If I could recommend a good book to you this fall, it would be "Ifferisms," the latest delightful quotation anthology by North Raleigh psychologist-turned-writer Mardy Grothe.
Grothe, 67, enjoys an inspiring second career as an anthologist, and I admire him for it.
Mardy and I share a love of aphorisms, those pithy sayings that impart wisdom, insight or humor, a la "A penny saved is a penny earned."
His latest nifty volume, the fifth in a series, is "Ifferisms: An anthology of aphorisms that begin with the word if."
You know, "If at first you do not succeed, try, try again."
Or, "If anything can go wrong, it will." (Especially, I've learned, on deadline.)
If I may say so, "Ifferisms" is well worth your $16 for its 2,000 amusing, entertaining and thought-provoking quips.
Meanwhile, friends, let me tell you a bit about Grothe, pronounced "GROW-thee."
Before the North Dakota native went on to get a Ph.D. in psychology -- then worked as a therapist, leadership consultant, and public speaker -- he collected quotations, starting at the searching age of 16.
"The one constant in my life has been collecting quotes," Grothe told me recently.
He wrote them on index cards, then tacked them to his wall. He compiled and bundled them with rubber bands and filed them in folders. He put them on floppy disks, then hard drives and CDs.
Finally, 10 years ago, he put some of them in a book. It sold well enough to do another, then another and another.
Now he's a full-time writer, working from a splendid home office near Falls Lake, where he lives with his beloved wife Katherine Robinson.
"I never knew I would turn my hobby into a new career," he told me. "I feel like I've died and gone to heaven. This is what I love to do more than anything else in the world."
Grothe's genius lies in organizing his collection of thousands of quotations by literary type -- metaphors, for example. Comebacks. Oxymorons.
"Every time I do a book, I learn things," he said. He has 10 more books planned.
"I'll probably die before I finish them all," he said bluntly. "But what a way to think about the rest of my life!"
Grothe says he tries to live life according to his favorite philosophical aphorisms.
If only we all did. But, hey - if you can't join him, read him.