Sunday, February 10, 2013

Things I Like A Lot #4: Books

Seems like a silly title, doesn't it, because who doesn't like books? Yet many people I know don't. It's not that they actively dislike books, but there are those who don't enjoy reading for whatever reason or those don't understand the value of literature. A lawyer once asked me what the point of studying English literature was and I nearly fell over in shock. She said she was entertained by movies but that books bored her, and that reading fake stories about fake people failed to inspire anything in her. Back then, I wanted respond that "real" people bore me 90% of the time and that without the "fake" things to aspire to, life would be incredibly dull and unsatisfying. I think that I tried to explain it more politely but the discussion didn't go anywhere. She remained unconvinced that literature was necessary. And it's not, to the degree that you need water, food and shelter. But as beings with thoughts and ideas and feelings over merely existing, it would be odd to not be able to express those things with the one vehicle we created for that express purpose: language.

Literature was my first love. After many years away from it, I came back to studying it with the firm belief that doing what I feel passionate about will lead me to a better place eventually. I also longed to be among my own kind, with fellow bookworms who feel similarly passionate about our subject matter and know the source material behind so many of the movies being produced these days. Maybe that's why I feel at home in the blogosphere in a way I don't in offline life, because expressing the self with text isn't something I share with a lot of people on a regular basis. Daily emails and text messages are businesslike, brief and to the point. But on blogs, people come alive with words to describe everything from the texture of a lipstick to the feelings stirred by a song. I discovered that many bloggers are avid readers, and our shared love of language, words and imagination forge many memorable moments that grow into solid friendships. Books are seeds planted for the future, gateway into other worlds and perspectives we would otherwise never know. The words within the pages give form to shapeless thoughts and feelings floating in our minds on a regular basis and tether them as something concrete and tangible. We write to express, and we read to learn to express and to understand.


So, I have a lot of books. I tried to count them several times, but it's way worse than trying to count how many blushers I have. It's not really about the numbers for me, however, so I don't really care how many there are.

I prefer to buy small paperbacks to fit as many possible on a shelf. For this particular shelf, I ended up double-shelfing the books per row to maximize space. For me, the value of a book is in its content for the most part, which is why I don't spend a lot of money on first release hard covers or fancy editions. I began collecting as a child, buying cheap discards from the library for $0.25. Eventually I was forced to buy certain editions for university classes, and I try not to keep duplicates unless there's a drastic difference between two editions with just as much value in both. (For example, Henry James was notorious for revisiting his earlier books and rewriting them -- badly, too, according to many critics. You need to take a look at what year that particular copy of the book was originally published to see what era of his writing you're looking at.)


I'd like to say that I'm a sort of an aspiring librarian with neatly catalogued books, but sadly, no. After moving from room to room in this house as different siblings moved in and out, I was happy to simply be able to fit all the books on some sort of shelf space, order be damned. The catalogue is in my head and I know exactly which book I have, if not its exact location on a shelf.

Paperbacks on top, oversized books and heavy anthologies on bottom.

Below are the other two bookshelves, also littered with all sorts of trinkets and things.


And this little unit is a small shelf I made in Grade 6 shop class. (This was back in the day when they taught home economics, visual arts and shop as mandatory requirements in middle school. I was horrible in home ec, fantastic in art and shop.) I remember sawing the pieces, sanding and varnishing with a lot of love and care. It's remarkably sturdy even after all these years. I'm going to keep it until one of us perishes.


As a result of my disorganization, the genres are all mixed up. But I kind of like the austere Northrop Frye rubbing elbows with sharp-witted Sarah Vowell and mellow Jane Urquhart. Classifications and taxonomies are not the end all or be all. Often they are as limiting as they are helpful. We can create subcategory after subcategory to no avail. Not all books fit in a box nice and neatly. (And perhaps those are the best kind of books.)



Mandatory Tolkien shot for my personal Counsel of Elrond. ;-)


When I had more time for leisure reading (for the last handful of years, it's been all course-related requirements), I'd pick a book or an author on a whim and pursue the series or the author or both until there was nothing more to pursue. It happened with The Three Muskateers by Alexandre Dumas. When I first picked it up, I had no idea that it was an entire series ending with The Man in the Iron Mask. But I fell in love with the characters and chased them all the way through the less exciting Twenty Years After and Louise de la Valliere. And obviously after that, I had to read The Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas could ramble on, but he wrote with a lot of relish, unlike Hugo who was denser and more philosophical. Good times were had.


As years went on, I pursued mostly classical literature. I delved into romance, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, crime and even erotica, but few engaged me for long in those arenas. Then later, I developed a strange personal quirk: I liked reading about reading, reading about writing, and reading about books. I discovered those sort of books under the umbrella of literary criticism where traffic tended to be light, which was exactly to my liking. Similar to the theme of this blog, it appears that I like to examine why we love what we love. Why is it that we do any of this mad cap scribbling and photo-taking -- to the point that we have to share with the world (wide web) -- why we do what we do?


Touching back down to what I like: I love The Awakening by Kate Chopin.


The genius duo of Henry James and Edith Wharton keep me delighted year after year. I had a plan to read all of both of their books as well, but the plan was derailed by repetitive courses that had me re-read Daisy Miller, Portrait of a Lady, Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth multiple times. I dream of the day I can sit down for a week and wrestle with The Golden Bowl. Then I will read their biographies.


And if anyone asks me what my favourite book is, I answer with Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. In fact, I say the entire Depford Trilogy. I'm convinced that Robertson Davies died with the secret of life in his Santa Claus-esque beard. Born in small town Ontario and destined for greatness, Davies longed for intellectual stimulation beyond the restrictive life of 9-5 jobs and quiet Canadian living. Eventually he became one of the founding members of Massey College at the University of Toronto, where the main library is named after him. The quality of his writing is visibly progressive, but his biggest triumph is this trilogy, written during the middle years, filled with amazing dialogues and insights that he probably would have loved to have shared with fellow nerds. Lucky for us, he wrote them down.


Then a handful of years ago, I got into collecting signed books and attending author readings. Book lovers in Toronto need to check out Authors at Harbourfront Centre and free events hosted by the Toronto Public Library and Indigo. Great resources and opportunities are to be had all the time, and my only problem is that full-time work and part-time studies don't give me enough time to attend everything that I want. I sit in enough lectures as it is for time being. Anyway, below is Yann Martel's signature. I went to a reading and took a few books to be signed by him. When my turn came, the books slipped out of my grasp last second and landed with a thump on the desk, as if I had rudely slammed them down for him to sign. Yann looked at up me with a certain look on his face ('excuse you') and unenthusiastically asked what my name was. I should have explained, but it all happened in a split second. By the time I found the words to explain, it was too late. Does it look to anybody else as if he signed his name as "Sam"???


And below are the books that you sometimes see as backdrop to some of my makeup pics. (Usually I drop a piece of blank white sheet on the desk and take pictures there.) When I ran out of shelf space, I acquired this industrial-size desk with a large hutch and stored the extra books along the desk from end to end.


Now, have I read all the books that I own? Nope. I could probably fill one shelf with books I haven't read. Many were picked up at university library sales where I carted them away by boxes. I've stopped purchasing books for time being, in anticipation of reading all the unread books and eventually switching over to e-books. It doesn't mean that I'll give up my physical library, because I'll always have a fond attachment to these old friends who kept me company for many years. There's something satisfying about turning the paper page, listening to the sound of the flip and being able to take up a pen to highlight a particular word or phrase. But I foresee a time when space may be limited, and I am thankful for the availability of e-readers that make it possible for me to continue this love affair with writers and books across all ages and genres.

Given that I'm writing about a rather large book collection on a blog devoted to reducing beauty products, it begs to be asked: why don't I feel the same guilt about hoarding books as I obviously felt (and sometimes still do) about hoarding beauty products? No one will look at my book collection and ask in shock and distaste, "Why do you have so many books?" (Although, when I was working at the bookstore, a customer came in and used the term "crap" to indicate physical books.) But many people have looked at my train case and reeled back in horror at the makeup stash, asking, "Why?"

Because it's fun.

Because it transforms me into a better (or more functional) me.

Because it adds colour and beauty to an otherwise sometimes very dreary world.

And yet. Guilt sets in if I spend $100 for a Chanel highlighter. Would I feel the same guilt if I purchased a $100 antique book? I don't know, because I've never done it. I've been frugal with books for the most part, though a part of me fiercely desires to acquire vintage leather bounds or artistic hard copies of classics. Somehow I've managed to separate aesthetics, form and function with books. But while working at the bookstore, I realized once more that they all come together in various ways. Sometimes I wasn't able to locate certain books on the main shelves because they were being used as prop instead on a display. I had mixed feelings about that. Was it about show or content? Or both?

I think the answer is unique and individual to us all. For me, books were mostly about what was between the pages and the quality of writing within, their ability to make me think deeper or to entertain greatly. With beauty products, it's mostly about the way they make me feel on a daily basis as a part of morning and night rituals. It might call for a $100 Chanel highlighter from time to time, to feel pampered in a way that Edith Wharton heroines might like to feel. It took me a long time to reach this point, but I don't see why both can't co-exist harmoniously. They add joy and value to my life, internally and externally. They make me feel human.

May I never stop exploring new books nor stop exploring new lipsticks. I don't have to always buy them, but I will never stop looking. :-)

58 comments:

  1. wow~ you are a real book worm! ^_^


    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Liz,

    What a great entry! I used to be quite a bookworm in grade school, but sadly that habit has dropped off since then. I love how books can transport me to another world--- however I don't indulge too often because I know once I start, I don't have the self control to stop, which leads to a lot of sleepy mornings :-P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, it can be hard to pick up a book when life is busy and a thousand things require your attention. I'm always mournful of the fact that I can't do enough leisure reading with my current schedule!

      Delete
  3. This is such a lovely post, Liz. I used to read voraciously (in my childhood years, I would regularly read 200+ a year, though most of those have been lost to the sands of time), but I rarely have time for it anymore. I spend hours a day reading for class, but it's not "fun" reading––it's hard to get too excited about linguistics articles. I also find that I'm absolutely atrocious at being able to stop reading or separate myself from my book (physically or emotionally, ha), and unfortunately my life doesn't really allow me the luxury of ignoring my duties and falling down the rabbit hole too often. But I have an iPad with a Kindle app, so I always have a book in rotation that I read before bed; I alternate between English and German books (the latter just Harry Potter, because my vocabulary is sorely lacking), and I'm on HP 3 right now, but I recently read Dune and Jonathan Strange at the recommendation of the boy. I need to read more Edith Wharton!

    Thank you for sharing your love for books :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We used to have reading drives as fundraisers for MS and all sorts of things as kids in school, and people used to accuse me of lying for saying I had read 100 books within a few months. It really wasn't that difficult if you were a speedy reader borrowing 30 books every week. I'm not surprised you were that kid, Amy!

      I had a hard time reading long texts and non-fiction later on because I was so saturated in fiction, but university corrected that later on. :) I'm impressed that you can read in German! I took a few courses in high school but never became proficient enough to read books. And that was years ago of course. Dune is on the long list of things I need to read at some point. I think a boy recommended that to me a long time ago as well. :)

      Delete
  4. I spot many literature classics there *pumps fist up in the air*!!
    i studied literature in high school (mostly willy shakespeare), even though I like studying it, i found most of the classics a bit difficult for me to read / comprehend without a guide from teachers LOL

    that said, the lit lessons had led me to expand my taste into the cinema instead ;) now i like reading non-fiction books. It's always intriguing and interesting to know what others are reading!!

    I miss the days of curling up with good books and forgetting about everything including eating, that's what a good book do to booklovers :) in primary school i read like 2-3 books each week and nowadays just hardly can find the time for some quality reading. This post is kind of a beckoning LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so cute, Jenni. :D

      Classics are from a different era and require cultural understanding. If Shakespeare suddenly appeared now, he'd definitely need some guides to access today's culture in a meaningful way!

      I try to expand with non-fiction but it's touch and go. I love fiction best and it's always been that way. :) Would love to know what you pick up when you do go back to reading regularly!

      Delete
  5. You are a great inspiration to me Liz. I seem to have lost my way somewhere, moving away from all the novels I read and enjoyed during my early student years to cold, hard factual texts and tomes. I must go and revisit the growing stack of wonderful literature on my side of the bed. F.Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night is calling me. I want to let myself get lost in the world of literary fantasy again...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It happens when you are busy with family and job and life in general. I mourn the fact that I can't do enough leisure reading with the current schedule. I hope you find the time to pick up that Fitzgerald again, Vita. :)

      Delete
  6. Thank you for this post; it was a wonderful way to begin a dreary Monday morning. I have always loved to read, and devour almost everything. I'm a huge fan of nonfiction, especially popular science and technology (I am reading Sacks' Migraine right now), but fiction will always be my first love. When I worked at the large bookstore that rhymes with Schmapters, I used my employee discount to the fullest extent and I still have books purchased (or received for free) that sit unread, waiting for a rainy day. I also got a Kobo for Christmas and I love it. For me, the real selling point of an e-reader is the huge number of free classics available. I just finished Madame Bovary and I started G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Knew Too Much on the bus this morning. Books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great, Sarah! I'd love to be able to read about science and tech (I do a bit of snooping in the tech corner but most of it are beyond my understanding)! LOL @ Schmapters. I used to buy there quite often when I wasn't at school and only had a 9-5 job to occupy the time, but now it's mostly picking up from campus book sales or second-hand shops like BMV. Which Kobo do you have? I should have gotten the mini during the Xmas sale but alas. Madame Bovary is on the list of books I need to read at some point!

      Delete
    2. I have the Touch. I didn't find the Mini to be much bigger than my phone screen, and because I'm a fast reader I would have had to change pages more frequently than I'd like.

      If you're interested in tech reading, I highly recommend two books in particular: Physics for Future Presidents by Richard A. Muller and Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. Actually, I recommend anything by Mary Roach. Bonk and Stiff are two of my favourite books ever, but a bit racy and morbid, respectively.

      Delete
    3. Oh, I didn't even think about the page flip. Good point!

      Thanks for the recs! Will check them out when more leisure time is at hand. :)

      Delete
  7. Brilliant post, Liz!! I don't need to tell you how much I love books! <3

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a lovely post. I love thinking about why we enjoy what we enjoy and how we're encouraged or discouraged to channel interests in different ways. The very concept of collecting objects is funny--you're right that collecting books is rarely problematic but collect too much of anything else and you're called all sorts of names.

    I wish I had the means to keep collecting books. One of the biggest hassles with living abroad is that all my books are in boxes in States, languishing in the closet of one very tolerant and generous mother... I have a little stack of about ten books I've picked up since moving to Oman and the rest are all digital, which isn't nearly as nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess that's where e-readers will come in handy! Do you have access to Kobo or Kindle? I love physical books but know that I won't always be able to hoard this many forever.

      I think collecting is another way of expressing ourselves. We're physical beings in a physical world and it's a way of showing what we're interested in. While a part of me wants to be bare bones minimal, the other part of me wants to hang on to all these things almost as a security blanket. They make me feel comforted and not quite as alone somehow.

      Delete
  9. This is such an amazing post, Liz, and whenever you write about something you truly care about, your style just blows my mind. I'm a fellow bookworm and I've always had a hard time understanding how someone might not LOVE reading but it's almost like a book-loving gene is just missing in some people. I'm grateful though that it's not missing in my life because I feel it makes me a better human as well. Thanks for writing this, Liz! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you, Monika. :)

      I like to think that the human race is all balanced out. We're in the library and some are out climbing mountains. And if you do both, I'd hate you if I don't admire you so much!

      Would love to know what you're reading lately!

      Delete
  10. Great post! What I love about reading is how I can lose myself in the story, and for me the sign of a good book is when I have a real like or dislike about one of the characters or when one of them makes me angry.
    As for people who don't read, working with kids with special needs, I've come to realise, that some people have a real emotional block to reading as it feels like its something everybody can do but they can't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, that's sad. I didn't think of it that way, though I often think about volunteering to work in adult literacy at some point. I guess we can't know why not everyone likes reading and shouldn't judge. Thanks for that, Gaelle.

      Delete
  11. Absolutely delightful. I have a lot to say on the subject of books. First, my bookshelf in my parents' home looked much like yours - double parked books, mostly paperbacks, filling all of the shelves. There were a few I had purchased but hadn't gotten around to reading yet, mixed in with old favorites. However, mine were mostly organized by subject (loosely: non-fiction, fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, etc.) and then further alphabetized. Um. And then I had a spreadsheet for the entire thing, a la Toya. Ha.

    So, I've liked to read since I was a child - a mixture of genres, mostly shaped by my dad's interests (westerns, war novels, sci-fi, and fantasy) and then growing into additional separate preferences of my own (contemporary fiction, some thrillers, and definitely, definitely, definitely, poetry). Through high school I took honors classes, and especially in the English ones, discussion and analysis was encouraged and I really enjoyed those teachers and courses. However, I suppose I didn't want to kill something I enjoyed by turning it into work (and this is not an attitude I project toward everyone; some people have the ability to embrace their passion and turn it into their work, which is admirable indeed) and I have an equal appreciation for the pursuit of knowledge and inquisition and all of the questions that scientists ask. So I'm a scientist. Who really likes books :)

    I do frequently get annoyed with people who assume that just because I choose to be a chemist professionally, I don't enjoy the beauty or grit of literature. I also get annoyed with people who pretend that the enjoyment of books is theirs alone. Such pretense and presumption!

    Anyway. I didn't mean to turn this into a rant. I've never heard of the Deptford Trilogy, but it sounds interesting! And it is worth reading someone else's favorite, I feel. Well, an awesome someone's favorite :P I wish I had more friends who read often to have discussions with! But then I think I definitely don't have the time or consistency for a book club, and also, I hate a lot of books...HAHA. Probably because I also don't like condescension being channeled to me through the pages of a book...or something. The topic of form & function in books is also something I think about sometimes. I do like the solid form of a book, but then, I like the practicality of being able to carry several novels with me at a time in my Kindle, so...there's that, as well. Technology!

    All in all = <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol @ Toya style spreadsheet! I kept trying to make a master list but forgot to update and became useless.

      I didn't enjoy high school English until the last year because they were mandatory until then and I hated being in class with people who couldn't (or refused to) keep up. Teachers were fine but they were so bogged down trying to get the kids to read at all in the first place, so discussions and activities suffered. And that was considered "advanced" classes, sadly.

      One thing I really despise is when people try to put others into boxes. I don't presume that science majors don't read for leisure and a lot of English majors I know were doing double majors in life sciences and English. There is truth to turning what you love into work and killing the love, though. I went through that when I first entered university. I had picked to study what I love though I was forced to go to university in the first place. Then I started to hate it and disaster struck.

      I'll try to send you a copy of Fifth Business this year so that you can experience the wonders of Robertson Davies. :)

      Delete
    2. One thing. YAY TO SPREADSHEETS! :D

      Delete
  12. I have to say wifey, everytime you do one of these "Things I Like A Lot" posts, I fall even more in love with you. Books are my other love too, aside from beauty products. There is really nothing like discovering that book that transports you to another world and has you constantly thinking about it when you're not actually reading it, staying up all night and into the early morning hours to read and sneaking pages in here and there during the day while you're at work/school :P

    I am finishing my current "fun" read (Sookie Stackhouse novel. Love the books--not a fan of the show) then on to my new collection of Murakami's works. I have all of them on my Nook reader but am starting with Norwegian Wood, on Larie's recommendation :) Can't wait!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww. <3

      While books keep us human, I do love that they also work to lift us out beyond the regular human experience somehow!

      I started with True Blood the show and feel like I can't get into the books now, but maybe that will change at some point. I'll also get on the Murakami train later on and maybe we can have a big Twitter book club style chat! Let me know how you like those. :)

      Delete
  13. I am in love with you, do you know that, Liz? (Of course you do. But I will say it everytime!)

    I will forever be grateful to my mother for inculcating the love of reading and literature in my life, so much so that that was what I went to study in college (and now face the derision of society and not be able to find a job! But I don't regret it!). I just think reading makes life infinitely richer and more beautiful, and the world is not just a world anymore, but filled with many worlds and many more stories that touch our hearts and teach us from any point of time of history.

    I also feel less/no guilt when I spend money on books. Though I guess it's more "meaningful" than having 30 blushes (though I have that too. Gah D:).

    When I was in college I started attending a lot of author readings and got into the habit of collecting signed books :) I have a few, but my most "renowned author" one is by Joyce Carol Oates. She looked really really old and frail in real life, but still exuded a very powerful presence. I was kind of scared of her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love you, too! That is why I'll do my best to make it down to NYC before June, dear! <3

      I think it's so lovely that you can attribute your love of reading to your mom. Mine was encouraging but also dissuading at the same time. She gave me books because she knew reading was important, but she also resented the degree to which I got absorbed in the activity and neglected everything else. We had so many fights about "lights off" when I was little, lol.

      JCO sounds like Margaret Atwood. Tiny and frail looking like a puff of cloud but rather imposing at the same time. I think we're lucky to live in big cities where many authors visit! And I love sharing this passion and hobby with you. <3

      Delete
  14. Love the Tolkien shot haha! That one made me SMILE!
    So many books! You're like my brother who has A LOT of books and more books! Me, I've mainly gotten away from buying actual books opting for digital versions on my Kindle. As I get older, I am detesting all the STUFF that accumulates, and yes that means makeup too-so I only have a few left on my shelves. I like the thought of giving them away to other people so they can enjoy them as much I did. And i still say there's nothing wrong with spending money on something that gives you pleasure. You must stop feeling so guilty about that! Life would be so dull without the things we love, no?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that books can be recycled. I knew a girl who would actually throw away her books once she was done reading them - like chuck them into the garbage - and it was horrifying.

      Oh, Tracy. The guilt thing is so difficult to overcome when you've grown up with it all your life. I wasn't taught to enjoy life, sadly, and it's something I'm only starting to discover in small steps as time passes. But the point of the post was that I don't feel guilty about this love and that it's something I'm going to pursue forever. :)

      Delete
  15. I have some serious book envy right now! You are seriously well-read. Though I read quite a few classic novels when I was in school, all the books I read these days are modern fiction. For some reason, I enjoy reading more than watching television these days. Maybe because I can bring a book with me everywhere... but I think it's just that I can use my imagination more and visualize things the way I want to. And you know, I think I spend as much money on books as I do on make-up every month (usually $100 - $200, depending on what collections are out, LOL). And... I don't feel guilty about either, lol. Why the hell else do we work so hard for?

    I seriously refuse to get an e-reader. That is, until my entire room is so filled with books that I cannot possibly fit anymore in... I need to feel the physical pages in my hands. It's one thing I can't give up. I don't buy CDs anymore because downloading albums is so much easier, but books? I can't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. E-readers are handy if you take the subway a lot like I do. :) I want both, actually. Some books I want to read but don't care to have hard copies of, and some books the other way around. I love that we live in a world of both options right now!

      I'm really behind on contemporary fiction but hoping to get that remedied as soon as I'm done with school in April!

      Delete
  16. Wow, I see such a great mix of titles in here -- good for you! I'm such a bookworm, but I abuse my books like nothing else, yours look so clean and well cared for! Also, can I just take a moment to fangirl about this Yann Martel thing? ....Done.

    I don't really want to get an e-reader, but I like hardcover books. I don't mind buying a paperback version, but I often go to sidewalk sales to get books and the paperbacks are always really mangled. They also travel better when you move houses (although I suppose they don't travel *quite* as well as an e-reader).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't keep every book I read, so the ones I do keep I want in pristine condition. Doesn't stop me from writing in them or crinkling a few page corners, but in general I like them to be clean. :)

      I think it's great that we have the option of physical and e-books right now. I plan on getting an e-reader as soon as I stop buying course books and required editions.

      Delete
  17. books! i used to read a lot when i was younger, but now i find it difficult to have time to read more things. My boyfriend loves to read, and we are definitely working on building a book collection :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great! And time really works against us sometimes, but we always find time to do what we love, don't we? :)

      Delete
  18. What a lovely book collection! I have always loved to read, but my bookworm ways as a child went away with high school, college, and required reading. Now I mostly internet surf (for shame!), but you're inspiring me to pick up a book again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It happens to us all, I think. I went through a few years where I didn't really touch books much and it was a bit like how an amputee might feel. I hope you pick one up again soon!

      Delete
  19. I absolutely adore classic literature, and studied it at university as well. As evidenced by my blog name, Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary is my book love of my life and reading it really changed the way I looked at books and life in general. My man has promised me a book room and come hell or high water, it will happen =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To my shame, I haven't read Madame Bovary yet. But I will soon. :)

      Your man sounds like a keeper. I dream of owning a small house with a nice book room overlooking a cozy garden. :)

      Delete
  20. Hi Liz, this is such a wonderfully written post. I can totally see your point about the connection of how beauty products and books make you feel and it was worth reading it all till the end. They are both different ways to feel alive and enjoy life through small pleasures.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yaay books! You have such a nice collection! Part of mine is still back home in Taiwan, but my bookshelf in Belgium doesn't look too lonely either! I remember panicking really badly a couple of years back about major life decisions, and books were the only things that calmed me down. They take you out of your life to experience someone else's, and that renders a fresh perspective :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! I'm so glad that your books were there for you in that moment. :) I think there are some of those moments ahead of me very soon and I hope they do the same for me.

      Delete
  22. I read every inch of this post from start to finish Liz. You are such a wonderful writer and have such interesting and intelligent things to say, and you inspire me to reach inward and engage my intellectual side more often. I can hold a conversation about many things, but often choose to live a relatively superficial life (ie in the sense that I don't fully commit to much of anything - so really 'going there' with literature hasn't quite happened yet - and I only have fabulous discussions and dialogues like this post with my family, as most of my friends are pretty...simple, I guess?). I grew up in a household that probably spends more time reading than anything else, but like I said, I've only taken that love so far. I respect and enjoy the fact that you have SO much knowledge about literature; I think the only thing I've ever really went full-on with is makeup. I particularly found your last statements resonated with me - why is it 'acceptable' to have collections of things like books, and not makeup? Both make you feel good, right? Some people collect CDs, or nic-nac's, or the like. Everyone has their THING. I think makeup gets frowned upon because people perceive it to be vain. But we know better ;) ...IT'S JUST ALL ABOUT THE BLUSH.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right! We all have our thing - and for you it's beauty. Nothing wrong with that. I like a lot of things and try to spread my out interests, but books and beauty are pretty firmly bound. It's just how things are. :)

      And you're so sweet to be so complimentary, but I'm not the most well-read person in the world or anything. :) I just like to explore and engage in some discussions where I can. I'm woefully unread when it comes to contemporary literature and poetry as well as general non-fiction. More often than not, I feel like Jack of All Trades, Master of None. But I think the most important thing is to ENJOY our passions, not just obsess over pointlessly. It took a long time to realize that. :)

      Delete
  23. "Books are seeds planted for the future" I love you for this <3
    What a wonderful post and what an amazing collection you have, Liz (that bookshelf you made is pretty rad too.) Thank you for sharing such a lovely passion for words.
    I am definitely feeling a little shame right now; I was a very avid reader up until my late teens and then sort of lost my inner bookworm. I have several books I bought from a charity sale that I haven't even cracked open yet :x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, Ange. :*)

      I think we all go through that stage where time is short and books lose their priority. And that's perfectly fine. You'll find your way back at some point. I took a long break from books myself, and it was a bit heartbreaking. There's absolutely no need to be ashamed!

      Delete
  24. Aw, this is a beautifully written post, Liz! I savored every word :)

    P.S. That Tolkien shot warms my soul LOL. And I totally thought that said 'Sam,' is that supposed to be a Y??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, my morsely morsels!! Means a lot. :)

      Yeah, I wonder if he messed up his sig on purpose to get back at me. LOL

      Delete
  25. Oh! Also, your first point. I never met anyone who didn't enjoy reading before I came to college. It's SO WEIRD to me, especially when I babble on about books to some of my friends and they're just like yeah...I don't really read. WHAT.

    /rant over

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually encountered the non-readers at work place more than at school, so get ready for more of those blank stares, my dear. ;(

      Delete
  26. Wow! Very well written and I could not agree more. I am a big reader myself and love books. There is nothing like the smell of a new book and the expectation you have while gently caressing its pages with your thumb. That is also the reason why I do not own and never will a Kindle. Nothing can replace the feeling of a real book in my universe. Ever.
    And you'd be surprised how many people who visited me in my apartment were staring at the filled bookshelves and commenting on how many books I had. Noone has commented on my makeup stash, well except my in-laws, but that's to be expected.
    I find it hard to believe that anyone out there can be so indifferent about literature as the lawyer from your post. But I suppose that is an unfortunate trend nowadays - people want to have sex, but have no time for love, want a title, but do not want to study, want a story, but cannot be bothered with reading. It is sad how rushed and automated people have become.
    A friend once asked my why I was always carrying a book with me. I told him that no matter where I went, I always had a guide with me. And with a good story, you can become anything you wish. There is no good or bad ending, only a good or a bad story. And with a well written book, you will feel enriched when you part with it and the world will never be the same for you, ever again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol @ in-laws -- don't they comment on everything? ;)

      I think most people these days wouldn't admit so readily that they think reading fiction is nonsense. This one in particular happened to be very blunt. That was a rare instance but made me wake up to the fact that there are people out there with different ideas about what sort of literature is acceptable/worthwhile. In hindsight I'm glad for that conversation as it provides a lot of room for thought.

      You're more bookwormy than me on my best day - I don't always have a book on me though I'm most likely to be between books on a given day. Sounds like you need to write a post on books, too! That was a beautiful last sentence right there. :)

      Delete
  27. Oh, they do. But such is their purpose, I suppose. :D
    True and true.
    Thank you, my stomach is all flutters now. I am done with blogging for some time now, so we will see. I am still writing, however I am more focused on novels and short stories. If you would like to, I would gladly do a guest-post one day. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know you write fiction! We'll take this discussion to email. :)

      Delete

Join the discussion and thanks for your comment!

Please note that comments containing links will be deleted. Comments for posts older than 10 days will not appear on the page until they have been approved.