Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Book Lover or Book Burner? Which Are You?

Wait, don't answer that yet! The "book burner" part has a story. If you really are a book burner, if you really do make bonfires with books, then I'm not talking to you. My "live and let live" attitude gets a little cranky at the thought of people who toss matches and kerosene midst a bunch of Harry Potter books (or whatever other books you deem socially unacceptable).
So, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Are you a book lover, or are you a "book burner"? Seems in my former life (seriously, it seems like a lifetime ago because it was before I had children), I had a no-nonsense mother-in-law who simply did not like a bunch of books cluttering up her house. She is a sweet woman, and she still gives me hugs when she sees me, even though I'm not her daughter-in-law anymore. However, she and I were never gonna see eye-to-eye on the value of books, or rather the value of hoarding books, so I always tried to avoid the subject with her. Sorry, Dorothy, but those "uh-huhs" and nods from me when you were complaining about all of Doc's books? Those were my attempt to keep you on his trail and off of mine :)
Well, despite his wife's passion for getting rid of clutter in the form of piles of half-read novels and dog-eared favorites, Doc seemed equally determined to fill his house with the written word. He was a very smart man, that accidental book collector. I can close my eyes and still see the view as you rounded the corner of the kitchen at their house. Looking through the big kitchen windows, you might see a dog or cat or two, a few comfy old chairs, and (if it were the weekend) a man with a pipe reading a book. Glasses sliding down his nose, bits of stray pipe tobacco caught on his sweater vest, and a big fat book in his lap-- that was Doc when he wasn't being doctor(one of the best pediatricians ever) or concocting something strange in the kitchen(which might or might not have evolved from an actual recipe, and which might or might not actually taste delicious).
It seemed to me that Doc bought books every place he went. I was equally convinced that Dorothy complained about each and every new tome, too. Now, you must remember, this was many years ago, and time has that funny way of letting us mold our memories, so don't shoot me if I get details wrong, 'kay? I'll tell you, though, I loved the idea of having all those books scattered throughout the house. You could go into the tv den and pick and choose from a haphazard stack of books by the chairs. Want a Larry McMurtry western? How about yet another Civil War history of battles you vaguely remember from American history? Feel like cooking? One of the cookbooks from the kitchen might have grown legs and walked into the den. There were books lining shelves upstairs. There were books in the real living room. There were books in the kitchen.
For a book lover, also often known as book hoarders because we can't bear to get rid of a book we've bought, there is nothing closer to nirvana than free access to books with no "due by" date than a home filled with books that are generously loaned. I borrowed many a book, and I often had no problem figuring out a gift for Doc. That vintage set of Charles Dickens books in an antique shop somewhere in Pennsylvania? Bingo. Perfect Christmas present (and I wish I could remember the name of the antique store because they deserve praise for taking an order from a stranger over the phone and shipping all those books-- this was long before online shopping made everything easily accessible).
Well, there came a day when Doc and Dorothy decided a much smaller house would be better for them. Two story houses with dormers and basement are nearly perfect for raising eight children, but aren't really necessary once all the children are grown. Luck would have it that the smaller house had a huge den with bookshelves all along the length of the outside wall. Ah, book lovers' paradise :) Here's where the squabble over books took center stage once more.
Once again, I remind you that I was not a fly on the wall and my memory for detail is sometimes flawed. Now, to finish the story. It seems even those immense bookshelves were not going to hold all of the books from the two story house. Oh, how cruel, the thought of having to weed out some of your treasure. Oh, how delightful, having a bonafide reason to clear out clutter. Legend has it that Doc left the room, clenching his pipe between his teeth and muttering something about his wife being "a book burner!"
So, tell me, which are you? Book hoarder? or "Book Burner"? I promise I won't hold it against you if you say "book burner/clutter reducer". . .as long as you don't try to talk me into weeding out some of the books I haven't read in the last year or two :)



17 comments:

Ramblings of a lunatic mom and lampworker said...

Guess where I was late this afternoon. In my favourite book store having a TOUGH time deciding. I could have walked out with a pile of books and I mean a SERIOUS pile of books. LOL I was taking every advantage of discount vouchers etc to help my shopping along. Eek!! But I behaved myself and walked out with 2 books for me and 1 each for the boys. Each christmas I'm going to get them a book each in hopes of passing on the joys of reading.

For me I got a Clive Cussler, Dirk Pitt novel as well as one about Thyroid issues. For the boys I got Josh one that was written locally - something about a cow. It is called 'The Long Trousers' by Maryanne Bester and for Brad I bought 'Brisinger' by Christopher Paolini which his dad and I will take turns reading to them before bedtime.

So I'd say I'm a book lover and hoarder. And I love the smell of books!!

Hugs

angelinabeadalina said...

What better place to spend the afternoon, huh? I like action/solve the mystery/wild ride novels, too. Of course, that's not the only kind I like, so I have to limit myself at bookstores, too. That used to not be so bad, but now I have to limit the kiddos, too. I just know the clerks in bookstores must hate me...I'll carry around a huge stack and slowly weed out one or two until I get down to my limit.

Sweetwater Designs said...

oh yes..book lover here, though for some odd reason I've stopped reading lately. I did get into the twilight series a week or two ago thanks to my daughter. I have two small bulging bookshelves, one of them with a stack of tall oversized books on the floor. I would love a wall sized book shelf unit. I can never get rid of a book. I have most of my Nancy Drew mysteries from my childhood..

angelinabeadalina said...

Ah, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys! It won't be long until James and Kate can get into those. . .I loved solving mysteries with Nancy! That's cool that you still have some of yours, Deborah.

rosebud101 said...

I love books! However, I am trying to make my piles and piles of books much more reasonable. Am I both then? I don't believe in book burning, but I really think I need to clean my house. One bag of books just went to some children in Africa. I hope they enjoy them.

angelinabeadalina said...

Mallory, that's a terrific solution-- pass them on to children who can use them! I think you get a big pat on the back for doing that :)

Kim said...

I think you and I have a lot in common Ang; you are procrastinator, I am a procrastinator...and I love to read, and if I buy the books or they are given to me, I keep all of them. Usually I will read them again...and again and again if they are good. Occasionally I will give a few away, but not often. Yep, I'm a book lover! :)

angelinabeadalina said...

Hey, Kim, that's cool! I like to reread certain books every few years, too. It's been awhile since I read Lord of the Rings, for instance, and now I'm looking forward to reading it again but with the kiddos this time.

Deb said...

Book lover here! Most definately - lol. I already loved to read when my Dad bought into a business that later became being one of the two main book distributors in NZ.

I've passed on the magic too - my kids all love books as well.

I my last home I had floor to celing shelves in the large study there - as well as a tall bookshelf in the lounge, sadly when we moved here I had to minimise. I still have the tall shelves & a coupe of cartons of books though.

I have reference books, gardening books, design books & novels. It was the novels that got sold. Some I keep, the series & such Harry Potter, LOTR - but having discovered over the years that I never re-read a book again I decided to sell the novels & buy more reading matter with the proceeds. It helps that I really look after my books - so they don't look read at all, it's not a conscious thing though.

That said I am also completely intolerant of people that mistreat books, pens marks, folded corners & books left open face down etc - & I don't know why. Guess I was just brought up to value books....now if I still had space for a personal library, then things might be somewhat different ;o)

Ellen said...

I love, love, love to read. I always have a book going. I don't buy books, however. I simply don't have room for them. I don't need to own books to love them.
I love my library. Everyone there knows me and it feels like a second home.

Laurie said...

Book lover!!!! And sometimes book hoarder, though I mostly donate my old ones to the library, the school, or the shelter library where I volunteer. I don't buy many anymore, just trade friends or check them out. But sometimes I can't resist.

angelinabeadalina said...

Deb, I am drooling with envy at the thought of warehouses full of books...and it wouldn't even matter if they were dry, boring textbooks because I even love those.

Your collection of books sounds like a fun and useful one. It's great to have all those resources in your own home.

I have to admit that I leave my own books (not library books) face down when I can't find a bookmark, and I have sometimes written notes in reference books (my own, again, not a library book). I think my worst offense would be that I let my children play with books when they were babies...I wanted them to know they could always "read" a book and that books were delightful. I'm not sure I'd do it that way if I had it to do over again. I just hated those baby-fied soft fabric books and couldn't wait to give James and Kate "real" books with writing and pictures.

angelinabeadalina said...

The library is a great place, Ellen! I use it more nowadays. Even though ours is small and many of the books are outdated, I can usually find a stack of interesting books to bring home!

angelinabeadalina said...

Laurie, it's hard to resist buying one every once in a while, isn't it? It's great that you have friends who share the same reading tastes and can trade books. Donating old ones is a nice way to take care of the clutter problem, too.

Maggie said...

Book Hoarder here. Just came back from the Frantz weekend with not only glass, but seven or so books that one of my glass friends brought to share. Would have taken her whole box if it had fit in my suitcase.

I have both the Harry Potter series American and English editions. Still need to get to the English copies as I want to read the series in the language it was written.

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

Two book lovers in this house... sometimes I buy paper backs because I can't find one I want to re-read... the stacks here are so disorganized... no way I'd ever burn a book... even a bad one...

angelinabeadalina said...

Ah, Maggie, what a nice weekend! Glass + books + friends!

Elaine, I don't know where we'd find room if we both loved hoarding books! (and I totally agree about the real book burning-- even a bad book that I personally detest wouldn't get put on the burn pile)

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