Monday, January 07, 2008

the tacit pleasure of the book

i spent the day today arranging books on the shelves upstairs...i really love working with books, it feels so wholesome and good. i love handling them, remembering them, and just gazing at them there on the shelf. they just make me feel very good somehow. many of them conjure up memories...of classes where i had to read them, of airports where i bought them and sat and read them for hours, of holidays where i carried them around in a backpack, of libraries where i made notes in the margins, of helping my father-in-law with his translations of his work on technolution (a field of study he invented and was the first professor of at lund university), of bookstores i wandered as i lovingly selected them. i love paging through and looking at what i've written in the margins or underlined or where i've put a little sticky note to mark a passage. it's like a flash of insight into who i was at the moment of previous reading. i surely wouldn't be that same reader if i reread the book today...i would underline new passages, as surely new things would speak to me. i even feel that way reading recipe books...i look at the recipes i marked in the past...totally dependent upon the mood of that day and very often i mark a whole new set of recipes as i go through. it's rather fascinating to think we can be one reader one day and another one the next.


Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

This is why I have a hard time getting rid of books: they're part of who I was at the time, and so many memories are tucked inside each one, whether it's a smell or marginalia, or a bookmark, they're like little pieces of me.

julochka said...

i still have a bunch of boxes of books in my parents' basement. i always try to take a suitcase of them home with me whenever i'm there. when i look through the boxes to select the ones to take, i feel like i'm running into old friends and i often wonder how i've lived without them!

when my father-in-law died, we inherited many of his books. i'll have to write a posting about's very special to have his notes and marginalia..the small pieces of him here on our shelves.

books are cool...