I am moving bookshelves of books, boxes of books, finding random books stacked 2-3 together in smaller, less appropriate places. Back when I went to church, a very erudite minister told me that I am one of those people who believe in Salvation by Bibliography. In other words, having (and displaying) the books on philosophy and theology is as good as actually reading them, so I have books everywhere. I also have a husband who refuses to get rid of any books; they are his journal of his lifetime that he views, poignantly, with head tilted, whenever we move and he has to box them up again.
One of the greatest Readers I have known was a Jesuit priest (if you’ve never known one, they have incredible libraries), who would loan you a book for 24 hours. He had stuff that was not published in the US yet, plays direct from the London stage, books from around the world (way back in the 70s). You could borrow one when you were ready to go home, sit down and read it, then get it back to him. Very protective, very smart. I tend not to lend, unless I have a spare copy or am willing to get another one. Well, that’s not true, I have given the PERFECT book to someone right when they needed it, then looked for it the next time not remembering I had gifted it out.
I’m betting that there are several of you out there like me, a person whose book buying outpaces my book reading. So I have a question: What is the best book you haven’t read? Do you, like me, have a lot of books you have purchased because they sounded like such a great idea, but haven’t had the chance to read yet? The advent of online book ordering has exponentially increased my library.
A reference in an article, an author I like, blink!, it’s on the way. By the time it gets here, it goes to the bedside shelf with the others, and ultimately after several dustings to the bedroom shelves. Sometimes they do get read, don’t get me wrong, but with 6-7 bedside books, sometimes they don’t make it past a few chapters before a newer more seductive title replaces them too soon. My own challenge is to find six, one for every other month this year, that I really do want to read and not end up with a totally unbroken spine at my estate sale.
Either way, I’m interested. Let me know what is the ONE best book you haven’t read, or if you are going to do the SIX book list, I’d be happy to hear one or all from that list. And do you keep a log, or catalog your books in some way? I’ve started thinking I should. It takes a lot longer to read a book than to view a bird, but birdwatchers are diligent about recording the birds they’ve seen in their lifetimes, and readers tend to just move on to the next one without much documentation. Or is that just me?
It’s a bit like when someone comes over to your house and you go to the kitchen to cook or make a drink while they look at your bookshelf and come to some conclusions about the person who owns those books. Except we are being honest with each other that we just bought them, we haven’t read them. I have always loved figuring someone out by what books they read, how about what books they buy? I think it still says something.