Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Is there a bookcase in your house?

As a child, my favorite room in my grandmother's house was her library. It was a small room and most of the books were Reader's Digest condensed books, but I didn't understand what that meant at the time. To me, my grandmother was my hero and books were a treasure.

When I got married my husband was surprised at the boxes of books I brought to our newly combined household. They were in boxes because my studio apartment didn't have room for bookshelves. Once we were settled and had all of the essentials I started shopping for a piece of furniture to display and store my collection of books. They needed a proper home. I don't own first edition, signed hardbacks signed (with a few exceptions by a friend who is a successful author). Mine include complete, paperback sets of my favorite authors, as well as some by relatively unknown. To me, they are more valuable than jewelry, even if they're used or old with yellowed pages.

"Did you already read them?" he asked. "Of course," I replied. "Then why keep them?" he wondered aloud.

I don't often reread a book in its entirety but great authors write books with great sentences; paragraphs that can be read independently of the context; chapters that have meaning all by themselves. I can pick a John Irving book off the shelf and read an excerpt and come away satisfied.

Since then, my husband has become an avid reader. We have bookshelves in the house. I was delighted when I was preparing for a garage sale and asked him, "Do you still want this book or are you done with it?" Surprisingly, he responded, "I really enjoyed that one. Keep it, I might want to read it again."


J. M. Strother said...

Our house is really just a convient device for keeping the bookcases out of the weather. ;) This is no exaggeration - I believe we have a bookcase in every room, at least a small one. And then there is the Library - the only furniture in that room is the bookcases. It's a smallish room, but still, that's a lot of books.

When we got married Cyndi and I both brought about the same number of books into the union. Our tastes were similar, so we had a lot of dups. Thank God for used bookstores.

Susan Cross said...

I love hearing that. My office (what used to be the dining room) is slowing spreading with shelves starting to cover the walls beyond my office furniture. I want more books. More. Books. More. I want to come to your house, Jon.

Jai Joshi said...

It's always been my fantasy to have a room in my house that is my library. Right now I have bookshelves in my bedroom that have all my books jumbled about on them.

*Sigh* Someday.