Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ruminating on books

Without fail, our movers remark on the number of book boxes they're hauling around. The ones we had this time were not accusatory (some get quite huffy), but sort of curious. "Have you read all these books?" "What do you do with all of them?" "You must have your own library."

I said that we had read most of them, leaving out the explanation of how there's a good section of reference works that we have not read cover-to-cover. Or that I have multiple editions of different texts.

It is a library of sorts, akin to what one finds in the homes of most serious students of the Humanities. Very similar to what I grew up with, although smaller than my father's collection as of yet. I just can't imagine living without books all over the house.

When I was in junior high, I made friends with a girl who was in several of the same classes and activities. In retrospect, I realized that she was the first close friend I had who did not come from an academic family--all of my other friends were children of teachers or professors. The first time I went to her house, I was struck by how decorated it was. And the lack of bookcases. I don't think there was more than one or two low bookcases in the family areas. My friend had one tall, skinny bookcase with a few books on it. It was not an issue of money--her family had much more than mine--or even intelligence, they just didn't keep books around.

We still have stacks of book boxes in half of our garage. We got the office to a point where we could bring in a couple of our bookcases and some books. And that goes a long ways towards making the room seem right. Once our painter is done in the master bedroom, I know how I want to rearrange things to fit my grandmother's old bookcase against one wall. I also can't wait to make use of the built-ins in our living room, conveniently next to my study area.

And I promised Scooter that I would find his books. We have a handful out for bedtime reading, but he's missing that moment of looking at all of his books in front of him, full of possibility, so many choices.

Off to bring in some books.


nomotherearth said...

a house just isn't home unless it's overflowing with books, i say.

Lisa b said...

I am sure he will be so excited to see his books again. I'll be thinking of you at bedtime tonight.

As for your friend, by way of explanation, which the short version is: my parents are cheap and weird. My mom is a teacher and my dad an engineer but we had very few books in our home as they did no like to 'waste' money when we could get books at the library for free.
I think they took that to a bit of an extreme and I am trying to find some balance between no books and your academic collection!

Mouse said...

My computer froze and ate my own comment!

With my friend, I seem to remember that they bought books, but once a year got rid of what they'd read (possibly donated to the library book sale, so not a bad thing to do).

The funny thing is that Trillian and I don't buy all that many books and frequently go to the library for recent releases. But we just don't get rid of our books.

Lesley said...

I buy a lot of books, mostly just for pleasure versus reference books although my kids probably have as many non-fiction books as story books.
About once a year at a girls night the 12 of us do a book swap. All different genres will overflow the tables and everyone leaves with something new.
Whatever is leftover gets donated to the public library.
I can't imagine a home without books?