Sunday, September 9, 2012

Books...and books...

I've just read Harvestbird's What are we to do with all these books? 

It made me think, especially, of the books I inherited from my grandfather, from my godmother (and through her from Eileen Fairbairn), from my mother...

Of my childhood books which have so shaped who I am. Of my dad who, when I was very small, would sit in the children's library and read the books before choosing which ones to bring home.

Of the treasured books my mother would give me each birthday and Christmas - until she was too frail to shop.

Of all the gifted books, chosen with care and love.

Of Deb's Christmas book tree - the photos of which are buried in facebook history but which I would love to share here.

Of Sally's book 'sculptures'.

It also reminded me that, in Rijswijk and on the flight home, I read Middlemarch on my kindle. Significant for several reasons. I had never read Middlemarch - and surely a first reading of this classic should be a paper and ink experience? Did the kindle in any way impoverish the reading? It seems not. Unlike so many novels that fade rapidly, despite being enjoyed in the reading process, the characters in Middlemarch and their stories remain clear and present. What a book!  

And (quietly), on Kindle it was free...

Deb's wonderful Christmas tree


  1. Lovely post---and I hate to admit it, but I'm beginning to come around to the concept of technology as it applies to books. Enough booklovers have told me it doesn't diminish the experience to read on an electronic device, that I'm willing to give it a try at least. I certainly use technology in all other areas of my life. Why not reading? But i will still refuse to buy a book from Amazon, rather to support my local indies.

    All things considered, this is a post to make one think. As was the article at the other end of the link. Thank you for that. Loved the long poem one of her (his?) readers added in the comment section about the problem of the books.

    I'll send you the photo of the Christmas tree of books, electronically of course.

    Now you've made me want to read Middlemarch but there's the problem of this big stack of books by my chair that I'm already not getting to!

    Glad to see a post from the head of the harbour again! The comfort of routine :-)

  2. Deb, thank you for the photo. Would I be able to add it to this post (suitably acknowledged of course)? I have a friend, Sally, who, is a book collector and does very interesting things, artistically, with books. I think she would really enjoy it :-)

    I think I didn't quite select the right link. I meant to give a connection with the poem 'What are we to do with all these books?' only. Coincidentally I saw 'Harvestbird', the author of the poem, yesterday, with her partner and two little daughters (and seven Norwich terriers) in their new home :-)

  3. Wow ! Does make you think. I know one book can change your life .. so how many deviations have occurred from the digestion of all of those books ?? If knowledge is power then you two are a force to be reckoned with ! ;o}<

  4. Good to see you back (online)!
    I sympathise all round- we have 'too many books' (more correctly phrased- too few bookshelves and too few rooms :)) and will need to do some weeding. There are quite a number I won't miss at all- passing academic fads of my Dad's, which he was happy to unload on us, for example!) but many choices will be hard.
    On the other hand, I bought my partner a sony e-reader for her birthday, and she's had nothing but grief. The 'sony store' for NZ doesn't exist. She hasn't found any other decent source. You can get some e-books via the local library, but instead of becoming overdue, they disappear before you've finished, and won't come back.
    I might have to take it over. I've always wanted to read Middlemarch, and I'm sure I can find a free digital edition of that!

  5. Hi PG. Have missed your pithy comments as I transitioned from one blog to another. Good to hear you again :-) (Tho I wouldn't lay claim to much knowledge [I forget most stuff] and certainly not to any power!!).

    And Rob, I am always surprised and delighted when you pop up with a comment. I'm sorry about your experience with the Sony reader. I heard something on the radio today suggesting that basic e readers are going to become very cheap indeed - so maybe a kindle might be worth considering. Apparently all the classics are free - which is great but sad too because it must sound the death knell for hard copies?

  6. Oh no .. I hadn't been drinking .. I wasn't Pithed ! ;o))<

  7. This reminds me of a story my mother used to tell about a hoity toity lady customer who came into the grocery store where my mother worked as a teenager. The customer, full of self importance, asked if the radishes were pithy. My mother, assisting at the counter didn't know how to respond, but her good natured boss, who was working the cash register quickly answered, "I don't think tho."
    My mother apparently had to duck under the counter in gales of laughter. And I still laugh to remember her mimic her boss in the telling of the story.

  8. p.s. the tree looks beautiful on your blog! :-)