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!
xx

10 comments:

  1. Oh what lovely and interesting bedfellows you have produced. There is almost a method in th randomness, is there not?
    I would very much enjoy spending time amongst your library collection :)
    Hope you recover from your cold quickly.

    xx

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  2. i am envious of James getting to see the Lewis Chessmen. I am enamoured of those little chess pieces. books are so wonderful ... i still prefer a good book in hand to something like a kindle. maybe some day i will change but for now, i still appreciate the old-fashioned way. :)

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  3. I love the gatherings you've assembled. In their secret lives, the books must have very interesting dinner parties!

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  4. The order v. chaos debate rages in our house. I am a ocmpletely random shelf-filler, whereas my husband wants order. Tough. He just needs to build up the mental map of the bookshelves that I carry around with me.
    Do you have a copy of 'The Poor had no Lawyers' in your collection? We know the author (claim to fame!).
    A copy of your scone recipe at some point would be wonderful but just at some point - I can see you have a few things to be getting on with. Hope the cold is improving.

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  5. You are fortunate to have shelves for all of your books. After nearly four years here, most of my books (mostly the fiction) are still in boxes in a closet, and some of my favorites have disappeared. But I don't have much time for reading these days. The Barefoot Gardener

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  6. Our books, after moving to our farm, mostly remain in the barn! I do love your diversity and so glad you have your friends on the shelves again. Books are so yummy!

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  7. I am sorry to hear you are caught with a bit of the sniffles.
    A lovely, lovely, eclectic collection!
    Hope you have a great week!

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  8. Thanks Becks - this cold is lingering on - everyone in the village has it, so we are all croaking at each other. maybe we should be keeping our germs to ourselves.
    Sandra and HF - i hope you can liberate your books at some point, and yes I don't really know when i will have time to read either!
    JTS - i surprised myself by quite liking the Kindle, but it could never replace books altogether.
    Christine - I imagine a few plates getting smashed!
    Linda - I don't have that book, although it waves to me everytime I go into An Lanntair. We have Who Owns Scotland? How cool that you know the author - I follow him on twitter :)
    Meggs - thank you - have a fabby week yourself. xx

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  9. Oh I'm so happy your books are free. I'm sure Hildgard von Bingen doesn't mind where she's sitting. Enjoy getting to read you books again.

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