I’ve spent the last few months gradually moving into a new home, which culminated in an afternoon (that slid into the evening) of dejection over a lack of bookshelf space. I was drowning in disordered (oh no!) piles of books, letting my bibliophilia get the best of me. All the stress of moving and trying to reorganize my life and books made me feel not like a bibliophile, that lovely sounding word that means a lover of books, but a hoarder of books. I’ve tried cutting back my collection, like keeping only one small shelf worth of the favourites that I read to my son (he’s almost 23 now). But that evening I vowed to stop collecting books.
Now that the worst of the move is over and the stress has abated, I better understand how much my books are part of who I am. I love giving books as gifts and recommending books to friends, and I’ve started buying multiple copies so that I can lend them without fear of losing my only copy of a favourite. I own multiple copies of some books because different editions are, well, different. Going to thrift shops and used book stores is a favourite pastime, and oh the joy when I find a used book that I’ve been searching for! Books are meaningful because the words on the page make us think and feel myriad things, but books are also beautiful—their delicate and colourful spines on a shelf, stacked in a corner, on (or even as) a bedside table, or strategically placed as on object to admire and casually peruse.
My books are currently in a holding pattern until we build some book shelves—maybe even a ladder? In the meantime I enjoyed this TED talk by Joshua Prager: “Wisdom from great writers on every year of life.”
I have read 16 of the novels on the list, how about you? So many books, so little time . . . Take the quiz online and enjoy.
Margaret Atwood fans can join the society to learn more about her work. I studied her historical novel Alias Grace (1997) for my masters thesis. One of the aspects of her oeuvre that I find so fascinating is its diversity. http://atwoodsociety.org/