Monday, January 28, 2013

Books of a Feather

                     "Take your Choice" by John Frederick Peto

   I love books.  Who doesn't, you might suppose, but there are those among us who do not read.
   I come from a family of writers.  My father wrote best sellers.  My mother wrote and illustrated "Jerry the Giraffe" in 1945. (The copyright page affirms "This is a wartime book produced in full compliance with government regulations for conservation of paper and other essential materials.") One brother has written several well-received scholarly books.  And then of course, I added to the pile of felled trees.
  My daughter, a voracious reader, designs books.  She could make more money if she took her skills elsewhere, but she loves finding 'her' books in stores.
   Last post I was de-cluttering the house.  If I were serious about purging, I would start with the books.  But I can't.    Books aren't 'friends', as some have claimed.  But the good ones become a part of you, echoing throughout your life.  I would never treat books as they are pictured in Peto's painting (above) but I do mark passages and turn down corners.  Some pages may sport the occasional food stain.  My father was even more vigorous with his books, sometimes tearing whole chapters from the binding (to be used as research).  Not just for the mind,  books are visceral, meant to hugged or even thrown across the room.
   My husband is a steady reader.  We used to share books.  No more.  I bought him a dreaded kindle for Christmas as his heavy computer bag was tearing at his joints.  Secretly, I hoped he'd hate it, as I know I would.  He loves it.  Bastard.
   In the late 80's I could not find a publisher for my fifth novel.  My agent called to say I had been offered a contract for an electronic book.  I laughed and said, don't be ridiculous. No one is ever going to read a whole book on a computer.

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