Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Books as disposables. Nothing could be sadder.
In our minimalist age people are not collecting books like they once did. It’s a trend I’m mourning. Books are such treasures. When I did research on the life of Pilgrim’s Progress author, John Bunyan, a poor tinker by trade, I was amazed to find that he owned a small shelf of books. Volumes in those days were very expensive compared to our books of today and yet he had several, including Foxes’ Book of Martyrs which his wife brought into their marriage. Poor as can be, but they treasured books.
I’ve been actively collecting fine books for more than forty-five years. Yep. Books as collectibles. Nothing pleases me more than my collection of books. I always longed to have a large room dedicated to books– a personal library– but as the years have gone on my books are in several rooms as you can see from the photos below.
I used to run an ad in our denominational magazine seeking books to buy. I found that retiring pastors have some of the most wonderful books and often no one who wants them. I obtained real treasures. Some had notes in the margins that are every bit as insightful as the text itself.
But in our day of minimalism we can’t help but ask the question, is collecting books just a different version of hoarding? I don’t think so. Here’s why building your own library is important:
- It is a reflection of you. I love to walk into a book collector’s home and browse their stacks. I come to know them without a word shared.
- Your books become old friends and you can revisit them throughout your life. My mother used to say that the best thing about her forgetfulness was that all her old books were new again. She could remember the characters but she never exactly remembered the plot and she could enjoy them as if they were new all over again.
- Books do not take up much space. There’s a whole world packed in about two inches of shelf space.
- I’ve tried to convince my husband, Keith, that, if nothing else, books are superb insulation. If you could cover each wall with books (and store boxes of them in the attic) you would cut your heating bill significantly. We’re getting close. 🙂
- When the time comes to downsize the volumes from your library make exquisite gifts.
Your turn: Tell us about the books you treasure. Do you collect special books? Does it ever make you feel guilty? What are your favorites?