Tag Archives: library

Dream library

I’ve previously written about my dream home library. That post linked to a set of photos of home libraries to drool over. Today I found another list of libraries, this one a fictional set. I also figured out where the current dream library in my head comes from — “My Fair Lady” the movie! Aha! It is Henry Higgins’s library. What do you model your dream library on?

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Random Readings

I was lurking in the stacks in the Large Research Library on the university campus where I work. Sometimes, when I’m in Fort Book (unofficial name of the Large Research Library) in the early stages of research on a new project, I lurk in the stacks looking for material. Today I lurked in the bound copies of Very Old Journals area. I pulled down The Monthly Review volume 70, 1813, and Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine volume 93, 1863. I browsed the six months of articles and reaped the following excerpts for your interest.

From Blackwood’s, and an article entitled “A Month’s visit to the Confederate Headquarters,” by An English Officer, I took this quote from the first paragraph:

“But the desire of knowledge, or the promptings of curiosity, as the case may be, determined me upon running all risks, and making my way into the forbidden land of Dixey [sic], despite all the blockading, gunboats, and Federal patrols along the Potomac river. There was, however, one great drawback to my happiness in starting upon this expedition—namely, the necessity which existed for my being back in New York by the 20th of October, and it was already the 11th of September when I left that city.”

In The Monthly Review, I found a review of Hannah More’s latest work. I have excerpted a small bit of it which thoroughly trashes Mrs. More as one of those writers who has not one unpublished thought:

“We shall not be so rude as to say to Mrs. More that she ought to learn ‘the art to stop:’ but we may venture to observe that the work before us is not in substance so different from her last, as to intitle [sic] it to praise on the score of novelty of sentiment. Whether her professed theme be “Practical Piety” [her previous work] or “Christian Morals” [the work under review], her essays or dissertations have precisely the same substratum and character; her thoughts all flow in the same channel and to the same point; and over the whole a sameness of feature is thrown. A new repast is presented to us: but in substance and essence it is the same with its predecessor; it is served on the old family plate, recast; and, though it assumes a new shape, every ounce of it has been on the table before. With great fluency and occasional eloquence, she prolongs her serious theme; and, whether sick or well, she employs herself in administering religious advice and admonition. With other authors, she has an indisputable right to offer her opinions boldly and without disguise; and though an attempt to mend the world is a very discouraging undertaking, we nevertheless applaud her for not desponding.”

Having satisfied myself that there is nothing really related to my research in these two volumes, I must now go back to work. Ok, the Hannah More review is sort of related to my research in very vague and general terms. But it is not the thing I’m working on right now. Must. Stop. Procrastinating.

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Other People on Old Books

I’ve found a couple of other places where people are talking about reading older books/classics in 2013. Over at the Englewood Review of Books there is an ongoing feature of authors listing their favourite classics (the link is to the most recent one). In the introduction to each of these lists, the ERB points to an article by one of the editors at ERB who gives his definition of a “classic.” As you know, my challenge is to read one older book for every two newer ones, but the ERB challenge suggests a 1:1 ratio and, as I have done, suggests you make your own definition of a classic or older book. I’ve gone with “older than 1970” for my older book selection, and I’m still working on the 1 older for every 2 newer, and I’m exactly on target so far this year.

Over at Book Riot, here is a post on Reading Hard Things. I think it is clear from the post that the author is not talking about Reading Badly Written Things, but Hard Things, things that are difficult and worth fighting through. The problem is, one doesn’t know if it is worth it until one tries. So C.S. Lewis in An Experiment in Criticism. But trying is important. And ploughing through something that is difficult may produce a new understanding. You may find, as I did after wading through Pride and Prejudice, that you LIKE the book that was difficult, and that re-reading it becomes a pleasure, not a chore.

Speaking of Pride and Prejudice I am enjoying it in audio form at this time. It is a different experience hearing the book. Details stand out differently. Try it out with one of your favourites. I’m sure the library will have a copy in audio form.

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As requested by the East Coast Archivist, here is a photo of a part of my library:No, I don’t know how many books I have. No, I haven’t read them all. Yes, I’d like to read them all, and am working on it. But this month I’m also writing more than usual, and I’m behind on my NaNoWriMo word count. So I’ll just go and write that novel then, shall I?

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A Library At Home

Some day I’d like a whole room as a library in my apartment/house/dwelling of some kind. Not a study, a library. Yes, it can have tables and desks and a place to use a laptop, but it is all about the books and places to read and study the books, thus it is a library.

There are some home libraries that might be a bit beyond my reach. But you gotta dream right?

What does your dream library have in it besides books? Mine has a fireplace, is on the second story of the dwelling, and has some windows. And big wooden tables to spread stuff out on. And comfy chairs by the fireplace to read.


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