Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Shelf Life

"A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog's ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins."
-Charles Lamb

It is said that we can tell a good deal about people from their book collections. To some extent I have found that old maxim to be true.
Once, when Spouse knew me first, he caught sight of my little bookshelf, a semi-blurred fragment in the background of a photograph.
He noted with some surprise that I appeared to be in possession of a book either regarding Information Technology or Income Tax. The book's title, so far as he could fathom, was 'IT.'
Spouse, being all about technology, information and engineering, one day thought to question me about the book and what I had thought of it.
It transpired that the book was neither of his estimations. Instead it was of the lone genre that Spouse actively avoids: a horror novel by Stephen King.
Too late- we were already rather compatible, enough to find the humour in a misunderstanding.
Even though I have long evolved from that sort of reading material the book still features on our bookshelf as a quaint reminder of a time when Spouse had to guess at who I might be, and vice versa.
When much time passes, with a fleeting glance at our books old and new, loved and loathed, we can tell a good deal about ourselves as well.


polona said...

i suppose the books you read and the music you listen to tell a lot about yourself...
this was a funny story and i'm glad things worked out for you, IT notwithstanding :)

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Polona, I think music does fall into that category too- it tells more about us than we imagine. Even if (or because) it's a varied collection. I like to see what other people read and listen to. It doesn't tell the whole picture but it's a good start.

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