Having read the post on Ruminations regarding the 15 things meme, I thought it was worth doing myself. It was fun to write and mostly came out in a single stream of consciousness last night. It puts in print, some of the things that are in my head regarding my relationship with my books over time: some historical, some current.
- I loved Dr Suess as a child, not just the rhymes but the pictures of odd things and escher like stairways and arches and such. My sister also loved Dr Suess and there are already arguments over who will get which. Though it seems our mother, showing foresight, has put my name in some and my sister’s name in others.
- As a child I had bad teeth, and required many fillings. The dentist was on the first floor in Burwood, overlooking Burwood Rd; across the road was a bookshop, The Bookworm I think. After each filling, mum would buy me one or two of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series; a painful filling garnering two books as reward or perhaps compensation. I think I eventually acquired all 21 in this manner.
- As a child I wanted to own a children’s bookshop, then shut it down so that I could work my way through all the books, selfish bugger was I.
- I got a merit certificate in 6th class for library participation – simply because I’d borrowed the most books.
- One of my favourite books as a young lad, was “Palio: The Wildest Horse Race in the World“, about a horse race in Italy with various competing contradas, each named after an animal. When flicking through it a few years ago with my then partner, it opened to a page with the emblem of the Contrada of the Snail. I’d never considered that as a possible inspiration for the nickname I chose. She managed to procure, with much difficulty, a pennant from said contrada (as the book was based on real events), and it now hangs on my wall in the main room – a family crest of sorts.
- From my late teens, I bought lots of paperback SF, raiding the secondhand bookstores in Sydney, Ashwood’s especially. I read a lot of Asimov, Simak and other Golden Age writers.
- Growing up, I bought and read lots of series: Enid Blyton (Famous Five, Secret Seven, * of Adventure), The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew (these two series read very similarly and were badly formulaic – written I suspect, by the same consortium of writers under the nom-de-plumes of Franklin W Dixon and Carolyn Keene), Biggles, Trixie Belden (these were 95c each, eventually increasing to $1.25 per book).
- I like nice books. I have lots of paperbacks many dog eared (often by me), but at some point I decided I liked hardcovers, probably early in the early Pratchett days as I couldn’t wait for the paperback to come out. These days, for books I like, I seek out special editions, or leather bound copies. I’m not necessarily interested in first editions but I do like the feel of a nice book in the hand while reading. All books are for reading, regardless of cost. I buy books I want to read.
- I like odd books: esoteric, out there, generally unusual; especially if there are interesting pictures. One of my favourites of such is the Codex Seraphinianus. My former partner bought me a lovely copy of The Voynich Transcript and translated the french essay that introduced it. Both items are treasured and lie together in the bookcase beside my bed.
- In non fiction, I have a continuing interest in the History and Philosophy of Science which was my favourite major at uni. I have been slowly buying up all the books I used to photocopy.
- I like words and dictionaries. I follow a few linguistic blogs and have a small collection of dictionaries…which seems to be increasing. As a corollary, I also collect reference books. The librarian in me likes having a good ready reference shelf beside the computer.
- I like reading online too and back in the mid 90s on an old version of my website (annotated collection of links and other bits), I had htmlised Gutenberg’s version of HG Wells’ The Time Machine, along with some poetry.
- I have managed to cull, or weed, a few hundred books from my collection…which took everyone by surprise. I then replaced them with a few hundred books of dad’s, that I chose out of the 3,000 or so that he left behind. They are intermingled on the shelves with my own.
- For the first time in over a decade, all my books are in one place and on shelves, all visible. When I moved out of home, I left lots of books behind. Over the years I slowly packed my books and moved them out. For several years, they resided in boxes under my bed…and beside my bed. Even back when I lived in the parental home, to maximise space I would double stack the shelves ie one row in front of another so you had to move books in front to see what was behind. Now all titles are easily viewable.
- At a rough estimate, I currently have around 2,000 books. I plan to eventually add them all to my LibraryThing account which I hope, will make it easier to keep track of what I have.
I’d better stop there before I get carried away.
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