Books, books, books
I have been thinking a lot about books lately. Since we are going to move. Standing and looking at all the books that we have. Wondering how I am going to decide what to move and what not to move. What to donate. Where to donate.
And then I came across this passage in the book I was reading, The Old Patagonian Express by Paul Theroux. He was visiting in Buenos Aries and was describing the library of the Argentine author, Jorge Luis Borges.
The books were a mixed lot. One corner was mostly Everyman editions, the classics in English translation-Homer, Dante, Virgil. There were shelves of poetry in no particular order-Tennyson and E. E. Cummings, Bryon, Poe, Wordsworth, Hardy. There were reference books, Harvey’s English Literature, The Oxford Book of Quotations, various dictionaries-including Doctor Johnson’s-and an old leather bound encyclopaedia. They were not fine editions; the spines were worn, the cloth faded; but they had the look of having been read. They were well-thumbed, they sprouted paper page-markers. Reading alters the appearance of a book. Once it has been read, it never looks the same again, and people leave their individual imprint on a book they have read. One of the pleasures of reading is seeing this alteration on the pages, and the way, by reading it, you have made the book yours.
And I remembered the PG Wodehouse books that I had bought for 1 Euro each.
Now these are books! Theroux described them well. All but the orange one are part of a series of “Books for Laughter-Lovers by PG Wodehouse” produced by Methuen & Company in the 1930s. (An Everyman edition?) All have been well read and one I had to tie together with string. I have read and laughed over them and discovered in one of them…
A clipping from a London paper announcing Wodehouse’s death. And I have wondered who owned the books and how many others have read them and how many times they have changed hands. Would I be wondering these things if I had a Nook or a Kindle?
And I have discovered the PG Wodehouse Society in Great Britain. I have written to them offering the books and clipping if someone will just pay the postage to have them sent. We’ll see what happens.
The author, that Theroux writes about, had gone blind and yet he kept his books and would demand to visitors, ‘Sit down and read to me!’ Today, would a blind person have a Kindle? Or would they have an IPAD loaded with dozens of audio books. Is there an IPAD made for the blind that gives verbal clues when you run your fingers over each symbol?
Maybe when we move and have a more reliable internet connection I will consider a Nook or a Kindle. I have figured out that I could keep one in a case with a leash on it. Attaching it to my arm at night when I read in bed so it would not go tumbling out on to the hard stone floor.
Until then… books, books, books..what to move…what to donate…?
P. S. Since I have written this I have received another book in the mail. A few weeks ago I received through this blog an email asking if I would consider reviewing a book and writing about it on my blog. Well, just the flattery of being asked for my opinion was enough, added to that, the publicist offered to mail the book to me…what could I say. Sure! So now, in addition to packing I have a book to read and review, and oh yeah then I will need to pack and move it.
So look for an upcoming review of The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner. Probably not until towards the end of September.
P.P.S. And since writing this I have heard from the PG Wodehouse Society in England. The high cost of postage would probably not make it worth while to mail these books to England. Although the one on top with the dust jacket might be worth about 40 Pounds (that’s $60 USD!!!!). I have decided to move them. When our friends Howard and Margaret visit again in November (why this insist on staying with George and Jules I’ll never understand) they are driving. Perhaps they will consider taking them back and selling them and we could split the earnings.