reading books

Reading The Books I Collect

One of the things I do is collect books. We’re talking lots of books. Thick books, skinny books, hard cover, soft cover, really, really old books and just-published best sellers. 

Books. Lots and lots of books.

I collect them.

Note, I haven’t read them all. In fact, there are hundreds of books on my shelves I haven’t read yet. For example, I have 56 Hardy Boys and 50-something Tom Swift Jr books I haven’t read but collected because I read them when I was younger – much younger.   Did I mention Churchill’s five volume,”A History of the English Speaking Peoples” or Durant’s 10 volume “The Story of Civilization”?  Hoagland’s “1000 Years of Irish Poetry.”  Or…

You get the picture I’m sure. And I haven’t even begun to mention the gardening book collection. My 100-year old, antique books were used for background research for my award-winning “Gardening Wisdom” book but then ignored. I won’t even suggest I should read the 4-volume RHS ‘Dictionary of Gardening’  that was a standard pro-level reference before the Internet. 

I Retired Earlier This Year

I happily built stone walls, gardened and did a few other projects this past summer but then fall rolled in and winter – quite naturally for Canada-  has followed.

And Covid.  Well, there’s little need be said about this except we’re continuing to self-isolate and wait for a vaccination. As seniors, we’re in a high-risk category so we’re being particularly careful. (Update: we’re both vaccinated now)

Instead of Driving South, I Went Looking For Projects

I thought I might do some stone carving and I’ve messed about with some tools and stone getting back into the hand-eye coordination necessary to use carving tools. But you can only chew up so many big stones and spend so much time out in an unheated garage. Plus after farming and running a nursery for years, early rising seem to be a feature of my current life.  To be frank, I now prefer to drink my coffee, make some notes on the computer rather than wander outside in the dark to minus-forever temperatures so I can cut up half-frozen rocks. 

But then, in reshelving a small book, I realized I’d quoted from it but hadn’t read the entire thing.

“Wait a minute,” a small voice in the back of my head whispered. “Wait a minute.”

The Short Version Of Starting Reading Seriously

I decided I’d take a day to read the book. And I did. And then my winter project appeared in one of those flashing thoughts you need to grab on its way through your head before it disappears into the ether.

I’m going to spend some serious time reading or rereading my library.

There’s no chance I’ll get through it before next spring but what a challenge and opportunity.  I have the books. I’ve ordered extra bookshelves to get the stacks off my office floor and I’m retired.

The current plan is to write a few words, carve a little stone and read as many pages as possible.

It’s an experiment but what a joy to realize the objects of my collecting obsession will now become part of my inner life as well as decorative objects on a wall.

Damn, who thought you could read the books you collect?

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