Friday, February 6, 2015

The Accidental Collector - Bookish

A completely intentional if slightly out of control collection

We have eclectic tastes

Some of my earliest and best memories are of my mother reading to me. I could listen to her read for hours, she had one of those soothing voices that made me feel cozy and safe as she read.  A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter were regular bed time reading, among many other wonderful books.  So I imagine that is where it all began, my love of books.

I learned to read at an early age. I remember at the ages of 5 and 6 while living in Hawaii we had a book mobile that would come down our street once every two weeks. I would get so excited that I would wait outside impatiently holding the pile of books from it's last visit until I saw it come down the block. As I would greedily grab up new books from the mobile library, my mother would tease me saying, "Leave some books for the rest of the kids!"

I was one of those kids that would stick my nose into a book and inhale the heady scent of the printed pages and sigh out loud with contentment. As I got older and we moved to rural Oregon, much of my free time was spent up a tree, under a tree, or in my room reading books. Once I surprised my father by nearly dropping a book on his head from my perch up in a tree. He just started to laugh and said, "Girl, if you ran out of library books you'd read the darn phone book cover to cover wouldn't you!" 

When I was 16 I was reading Miller, Nin, Cortazar, Durrell, Camus, etc. and dreaming of being a writer in Paris. I spent hours in funky, musty, labyrinthine used bookstores looking for gems on the shelves. I could count on books to make me feel less lonely, to travel to far away places, to have adventures and to spark my imagination. Books were my constant companions. They are part of my tribe.

This faded old photo above is from an historic log cabin on the edge of a cliff overlooking the pacific ocean. The cabin belonged to a friend of my father back in the day. That couch is where I spent hours and hours reading some of my favorite books. This is where I read To Kill a Mockingbird, The Invisible Man (Ellison)... and oh I could go on and on.

I have had to purge my collection of books from time to time due to moves or other life circumstances, but I always re-build.

In 1999, on a day off from work, I went to my local book store and saw a book I could not imagine living without. I knew I had $40. in my wallet; for me that equaled two weeks worth of groceries. The book cost $34.95. I bought the book, a bottle of cheap wine and stayed up to the wee hours reading. I lived on one meal a day of rice and beans for those two weeks. Ah, for the love of books! "Man can not live on bread alone." 

Oh my, I have rambled on. I could write a book about my love of books.

Now my collection merges with The Engineer's and Pony Girl's, it keeps growing. The only downside to this is that we have run out of bookshelves. Something must be done, really.

Just yesterday, additions to the collection arrived in the post. Oh happy mail!

Many thanks to Annie for the plant dye book recommendations!

I need to get back to reading more, so tell me, what are your favorite books? 


Patty Radish said...

I for one would love to hear more stories about your love of books! Give writing a book about it more thought!

Flaming Nora said...

Oh the book related yarns we could tell each other. Xx

Susan Baxter said...

Oh, where do I start? How about Snow Falling on Cedars by David Gutterson? Love it :0) Your book photo's make me want to go thrifting after work, such lovelies!

Jo said...

The books I keep are those by my favourite authors Alex Miller, John Irving, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A.S Byatt and many more. I started collecting the books I had as a child but had to purge them due to regular moves. I also love art, craft and design books - I also love books about books and people relationships with books and reading, such as yours.

Anonymous said...

I like that as soon as you have a purge you acquire new books! So like me. My favourite book is the one I am currently reading, whatever it is, it reflects where I am in my life! Lovely post and what a gorgeous place you had to read as a child. My favourite childhood reading place was where I went with my best friend... The castle!

Annie Cholewa said...

You are most welcome ... enjoy!

But be warned, once the dyeing bug bites it doesn't let go ;o)

susan said...

Umm, Cloudstreet, The Mill on the Floss, The Cazalet Chronicles, The Little White Horse, all of Narnia, Tolkein and on and on and on......
Our library has closed for 2 mths for refurb and I have 23 to hopefully keep me going.
My father did not like me reading and nor does my husband who insists on 'chatting' when I am reading when he's around (how rude).
I lost the ability to read (or remember if I had read) for three years during the menopause/depression, happily I'm 'back in the room' and catching up. And yes looking for a new/secondhand bookshelf because I have run out of room for my vintage children's and penguin classics collection.
Susan x