Friday notes

Just a note to say my dad is being released home next week. This is good news, of course, although there is a long road ahead for him, my mom, and my whole family.

Breathing hopeful breaths and staying positive. Thanks again to everyone who sent their good wishes!


Thoughts for Thursday - What your books say about you ... and a link

Following up on yesterday's post...what does your big pile of books say about you? Pay attention to not only how they are ordered or displayed, but how many do you have? What are the titles? Which titles do you read and which do you buy (maybe guiltily) with the best of intentions but somehow never manage to crack open?

These are the questions that can reveal what your books have to say about you.

I took a brief look around, and this is what I discovered: My books, once arranged by broad subject (nonfiction, history, biography, writing and reference, fiction, short stories) are a bit more in disarray since I moved five years ago. I never quite recovered! I didn't really think about that until now. Five years, and I only moved from the bottom floor to the top floor, but I just haven't regained my footing - guess I need to devote a few solid vacation days to serious household organization.

Judging from the sheer number and how much space I devote to them, my books say that reading is very important to me. Not only "reading" in general, but literature in particular: My fiction titles include many classics, a wide breadth of short stories, great geographical representations from Russia and Spain to America and England, and a smattering of contemporary fiction of generally the highest caliber. Combined with my series of "how-to-write" books, I'd say this makes me a writer, dammit.

I also am a person very interested in current events and history. I may be reincarnated from Tudor England or Revolutionary Russia. I dip in and out of the spiritual realm (particulary Buddhism) and have shunted the few relationship books (even a Dr. Phil book, heaven help me) into the darkest recesses of my closets. (I don't think I like what my books have to say about me in THAT regard.)

Generally, I like what my books have to say about me. I'm endlessly curious and a perpetual student. And that's okay in my book.

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Your books and what they may say about you

Borrowing a page from Dorothy W., I read this article debating the etiquette of having unread books on your shelves.

The author cites Ezra Klein from the American Prospect as saying:

"Bookshelves are not for displaying books you’ve read. Those books go in your office, or near your bed, or on your Facebook profile. Rather, the books on your shelves are there to convey the type of person you would like to be."

Now, I think it's a bit pompous to purposely dislay books you've read in your office (uh, don't have much room in a cubicle for THAT) or bedstand (isn't that where you keep books you are reading?) -- and I don't much care for boasting via Facebook or on a blog as much as I do recording it for yourself and for the possible reading pleasure of other bookworms.

But I do like the idea that books on your shelves convey the type of person you would like to be. Take a look at your own stacks tonight -- what kind of person do you want to be? I will do the same and report tomorrow.

Oh, and here's a takeaway from that article for you, a quote from Francis Bacon, which beautifully encapsulates my feelings about owning and hording hundreds of books:

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”


Brideshead Revisted (and Library Revisited)

Heading into a very busy time at work -- and before I do, wanted to mention that I finished Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. The only other Waugh book I've read was The Loved One (very long ago), but this book seemed intimidating to me, and I thought it would be a good choice for My Year of Reading Dangerously. I really enjoyed it! I want to post some passages later this week, but for now, I will say the descriptions, characterizations, plot, theme -- all subtle, beautifully observed, and complex. The second book fell apart a little for me: Seemed too hurried and unbelievable, and didn't hold up as well against the first book which was stunning.

About the library book snafu: Well, although I turned the books in, they don't have a record of them! So, I still can't get my library card. I must admit, I feel like I deserve this one! I am supposed to call the Library Supervisors. I feel like I'm being sent to the prinicpal's office! (Bloglily, you indeed have all my sympathies!)

Now, off to big-time web updates...Cheerio!