A short aside on books as a part of our lives

Well, where to start? How do we cherish them? How do we interact with them? I started this blog on the resting place of books and will continue on that thread, but what about how they affect us and what we do about it? Most do something Like Philip Murray in the adventures of a book collector – a delightful read and an envious journey. We look for better copies, a first edition, a true first edition, a signed true first edition, we mind them, cherish them, read them (perhaps with white gloves on) and hide them away or show them off. We research the author, we look for similar books and authors.

I love doing all of this within my budget. Rarely purchase without a list as I can never clearly remember what it is I need versus what it is I have. There are other ways though.

I do like old travel books. I found an intact copy of Baedeckers Central Italy some years ago. It was the 1904 edition. Have to say, the content was wonderful and far more detailed than is on the market today. The history and maps were perfect and as accurate as when printed. The only difference I could find was – the distance between Florence and Siena was a lovely 10 hour carriage ride back then. Here is the thing. The lady who owned it signed it. So did the man she met in the Central hotel in Siena. So just over 100 years later my family and I went to Italy (I need no excuses) and stayed in Pisa and Siena. A small part of the visit was a jaunt into the Central hotel (felt like I was dressed like a hobo when I saw the guests there, but no going back at that point) where I asked for the Manager. He was the quintessential hotel manager – reserved, impeccably dressed, calm and in control. I explained about the book and asked him to sign it, which he gladly did. We spent the next hour talking. He was intrigued with the book and its detail and pointed out that the hotel had in fact been rebuilt (shut due to excessive expolding in 1944). Great part of a great holiday.

I first encountered Tolkien aged 15. Hooked. Another family holiday quite a few years ago (no I do not drag them about on book related holidays! If you have a wide set of bookish interests – these things come up now and again) to Oxford and the Cotswolds (go to Chipping Camden). In Headington is a house where Tolkien lived. On the road outside the house (just down a wee bit) is a large beech tree. The beech mast was down, so I took some seeds. Now I have two trees growing near my house. Thats it. You need to read Tolkien to get that one.

Two good examples, I think.

It costs nothing to do these things, but its enjoyable. It does not enhance the value of a book collection to anyone but the owner, but who else should matter? Have to say, give Philip Murrays book a read – I like his style of approach to books.


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Filed under Books and their home.

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