Wednesday, February 22, 2012
"Puts the Remembering..."
It was strongly suggested to me that I not purchase the leather-bound volume of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, even though it was a great price AND I no longer have the complete set of the individual books I'd received when I was ten years old. I liked the idea of having the complete set again, as I do reread them occasionally and the leather-bound volume includes the same illustrations as the ones in the books I had, so it felt familiar.
The reasoning behind the suggestion was that we don't need to bring any more things into the house that are just going to sit there, collecting dust and mocking us from the bookshelves. (This suggestion isn't limited to just books, mind you, it's just that books are a frequent purchasing option in our house.)
Since Bookcrossing (check out bookcrossing.com. My bookcrossing member "name" is 2of3Rs) , we've both become pretty good about passing books along when we are finished with them.
There are books (and other things), however, that I'm not ready to part with. In Lisa Tracy's OBJECTS OF OUR AFFECTION, she talks about going through he parent's things as they've scaled down and hearing and remembering stories connected to some of the items her parents owned.
In the beginning of the book, she describes how her great-nephew is attached to a particular toy...
"It is a plastic toy milk bottle that moos when you turn it upside down. His toy, from six or seven years ago. He's nine as I write. On this particular morning, I'm moved to suggest that we might get rid of it. Pass it on to someone else, someone younger, perhaps? Yes, he says unthinkingly, then immediately reneges.
"The milk bottle, he tells me, reminds him of when he and his dad were living in the country. One night, his dad was making popcorn in a skillet, and when he took it off the stove and opened the lid, the fluffed kernels exploded all over the place. 'And when the popcorn blew up, I was looking at the milk bottle, and it put the remembering right in my head,' he explains. The memory still makes him laugh uproariously."
I love that, "puts the remembering right in my head". And things can do that.
As I look over the bookshelves, I see that there are some more books that I am done with, some books about business that I won't be reading again and perhaps are outdated anyway, a few novels that I (or we) read that we are done with.
I also see some books that I'm not ready to part with. For me they evoke the enjoyment of the actual reading of them, like the hardcover copy of BLACK BEAUTY that has a smudge of mud on it that it got when I dropped it walking home from babysitting when I was 12. I don't want another copy of BLACK BEAUTY, I want THAT one.
There's TIME AND AGAIN by Jack Finney, which I read in high school at my friend Sally's recommendation. She was the one who lectured me as we walked to and from school on the merits of being a Democrat. I hadn't given it much thought before then (not being old enough to vote, I suppose), but Sally MADE me think about it. I'm still a Democrat.
And what about THE MISTS OF AVALON? I read this at a friend's urging. It validated questions I had about the patriarchy and hierarchy of the church, with which I'd been struggling.
Bill Bryson's A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING came with me to the hospital when my mother had her stroke. My brother and I took turns reading it, whoever was at the hospital got to have the book. We both loved it. He is a science-y person, me not so much. Nope, not getting rid of that one.
I didn't end up buying the new leatherbound copy of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, and I'm okay with that.
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