Archives for posts with tag: collecting

​Well, that explains it. 

Okay, not really. I’m not quite the poster child for modern day bibliomania. This article certainly resonated, though. 

I love books. Unabashedly. Unequivocally. Sometimes unreal-ly. 

Most of my paper paramours are fiction, after all.

Growing up in a rural area, where the school library was more like a closet, was both a blessing and a curse. Once book fever hit me as a teen, I was able to blaze through most of the available books that appealed to me in any way. I devoured the typical books about girls and their horses, romance novels, and westerns. Things slowed down a bit, once I resorted to the available classics. The Bronte sisters and Dickens will slow most readers’ roll along the lines of printed words, at least until they find their feet, so to speak. Eventually, I bought up the meager supply of paperbacks available locally, and supplemented my voracious intake with Shakespeare from my high school literature text book. A sympathetic library lady, who sporadically made piles of books magically appear through the gift of a visiting bookmobile, was my eventual hero.

Fast forward to learning that growing up did not mean abandoning books. In fact, the desire to read increased exponentially to the more broad availability of material that came to me in my travels. And wherever I  went, I found used book stores and library sales. Yes. I graduated to collecting. 
Early on, I could buy, cull, purge, buy…an endless loop of words. Eventually, I developed areas of interest and found myself reading and owning hundreds of books. I love the way they look, feel, and of course smell. Holding a brand new book for a reverent moment, then cracking it open for the first the is a distinctive pleasure, as is hefting an antique Hamlet, caressing its time worn cover, and reading its time tested words.

There was one occasion when I think I almost crossed over to the dark side of true bibliomania. Long ago, in a library far, far away there was no used book sale. There was just me, perusing the stacks, and finding a long sought after book that I desperately wanted. For a moment…a single flash of obsessive compulsive book lust overcame me and in that flash I contemplated stealing the book. I literally mean a flash. The thought crossed my mind, then, aghast, I dropped the book as if it was the Hope Diamond and I was a recovered jewel thief. A hasty exit and no other such experience, ever. But that tiny incident makes me acutely sensitive to the dangers of obsession and the way the drive for acquisition can taint the most innocent of souls. 

So, I have sympathy and empathy and any other appropriate “athy” emotion for the bibliomaniacs of yore. Especially at the moment. I’m going through my books, and trying very hard to cull and purge and donate. It’s hard. I love having my beloved books lined up on shelves, always at the reading ready, always there to remind me of some fantastic voyage into an author’s mind. I’ve finally come to realize that owning a book I didn’t really like, just to have it for my collection, isn’t what a true book lover’s collection is all about. That is about finding what you love, keeping it, and treasuring it. Much like any other relationship.

The vital key is to drop a book into the donation pile, when I know I don’t really want it for anything other than the art of possession. When a truly unwanted book even gives off the most vague of “My precious…” vibes, it’s time to drop kick it into a volcano and go watch a movie from my gigantic DVD collection…sigh.

For all that I love art glass, in jewelry and decorative objects, and even simple but beautiful beach glass, I had never heard of Roman Glass until I came across it on a shopping network today.  The ring shown was breathtaking, shimmering, opalescent…I thought it was mother of pearl.  Then I saw the words Roman Glass and started really paying attention.  Seems glass from ancient Rome was excavated in the past half century or so, and extremely creative people found ways to use it and pieces of the natural patina from it being buried for so very long to make the unique pieces that instantly set off acquisition fever.  I love the hunt for special things, whether Murano glass, coveted books, music from favorite bands, or movies starring my favorite actors, and now I have the lure of remarkable glass that was made in a bygone time by people who would never dream that long after their empire crumbled (if they ever even imagined it might crumble at all) there would be people who thought what they had made was incredibly special.  I don’t even care if it takes me some time to find just the right piece at a price that makes the bargain hunter in me happy.  The thrill of the hunt is a very major part of the collecting game.  C. S. Lewis opened my eyes to the intriguing notion that finally having something may not be as exciting as the yearning for it.  Wise man, Mr. Lewis.  His book Surprised by Joy was a delight even in its heartbreaking moments, and it still makes my life that tiny bit richer in those small ways that special authors have. The same way a once mundane piece of glass formed in time gone by will eventually become a treasure in the eye of its newest beholder.