Monday, May 16, 2011
The Secret Life of Books.
Not much to report this week. The weather has not been great, so we only got one morning at the peats, and various other matters kept us away from the croft. James had a big day out with the Croileagan to see the Lewis Chessmen, do some artful stuff at An Lanntair, and go out for lunch, then he had a birthday party the next day. John is involved in a tractor renovation project with a voluntary group, and I have had a bit of a cold. The blogging muse has been a bit lost somewhere in all that too, hence the short break.
Still - no lolling around. Our "stuff" arrived from the mainland yesterday - the contents of our storage unit, that we have lived quite happily without for several weeks, were delivered. Our tidy, comfortable but small home was soon completely cluttered with boxes, cartons and baskets. You may recall that it was mainly boxes of books, but I was quite surprised by the sheer number of candle sticks and holders I seem to have collected! Anyway, we have almost found a place for everything, and any homeless items are now - well - in the loft - where else? Isn't that the way of things? We move stuff from one attic to another. Sigh...
And so to those books. It was great to fill up all those empty bookshelves, and cover the wall with colour. I am not one for deliberate placement - colour, subject, letter of the alphabet sort of coding. Nope! They just go up as they come. It does mean that it can take a while to find the book you are looking for - usually you find two or three other ones along the way - often on a completely different subject. This haphazard system does throw up some interesting combinations too. As I sat back and contemplated my now full bookshelves I noticed some pretty unlikely bedfellows.
I am sure Tom Nairn would enjoy being beside Keir Hardie and Noam Chomsky, while Kazanstzakis could have a good old discussion with his older compatriot Homer. However, on another shelf, the younger Greek author might have a harder time from the Rev. Horne and The Coventanters.
I do feel a bit sorry for Hildegarde of Bingen - sandwiched as she is between Warren Buffet, and the neuroscientist Dr V. S. Ramachandran,who writes here about Phantoms in the Brain, but I am quite sure she will be able to hold her own.
"What are people for?", wonders Wendell Berry. He may find some answers in the dictionary of Philosophy, but I wonder how he is faring with Gillespie Strang, that grasping, manipulative archetype of destructive capitalism on the other side of him. Hopefully he in turn has been influenced by the Ten Poems to Change your life.
Two volumes of Schopenhauer - The World as Will and Idea (a fabulous charity shop find of my husband) are separated by a number of slim paperbacks, which include A Start in Smallholding, The Eclipse of Scottish Culture, Poultry and waterfowl problems, Essentials of Latin grammar, issue 189 of the now defunct Gaelic magazine Gairm, and The Tibetan Art of Living. A fair number of different ideas there I would think.
And, finally the very intellectual and serious grouping of Confucius, Rousseau and Frankl is hopefully enlivened by Miss Lillian Beckwith, and her patronising, yet delightful stories of Morag, Erchie et al. Yes - a Hebridean Idyll - that's what they all need!