This week I have dedicated to packing. And with packing comes cleaning. In the process of cleaning my rooms I have found 3 major things.
1) my dust bunnies are really dust oil spills, because they not only cover truly spectacular areas of space but they slowly suffocate all of the objects which they cover (and people: how can my clothes get dirty when I’m cleaning? It seems so…wrong).
2) I really do have a lot of books. I really need some L Space just to answer the eternal question: when one owns 4 separate hardback versions of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and every other published work of Messer Tolkien, is it possible to move them from their own personal shelf to a public shelf without any mass folding? As a non-initiate librarian I have resorted to a much more base form of effective space usage: Stacking.
3) My wardrobe all matches (for the given values of ‘wardrobe’ and ‘matches’). In preparation for an upcoming family trip, I simple grabbed the first stack of T-Shirts in my T-Shirt box and plopped them into my suitcase. Looking back at them, with my normal jeans, all of them will be suitable for casual wear. But don’t tell my friends who think about color coordination and seasonal fashion. I ask the programmers and geeks out there: is there *ever* a season when a Java logo T-Shirt is not appropriate? Really?
Ok, I am tired from all of the cleaning (and boxing. Can 18 years of magpie-like collecting and hording of all things shiny and/or in Latin really only amount to a few boxes? Materialism sucks.)
Have a fabulous and shiny night!
Ok, for real. This is from one of my favorite books. It is a history of the library told by a librarian at Harvard. It goes from the libraries in ancient Samaria (who pioneered card catalogs with cuneiform written on clay tablets) the remains of which exist in modern day Iraq; to the Buddhist temples where holy texts were carved onto great pillars so believers could rub copies of them for themselves; to the burning of Alexandria, which didn’t happen when most people think it did. This quote is from the section on the history of burning books:
“Over coffee one afternoon in the summer of 2001, Andras [a librarian and historian whose family fled the communist takeover in Hungary and who now works at Harvard] reminded me [Matthew Battles] of another way to burn books, explained to him by a colleague who survived the siege of Sarajevo. In the winter, the scholar and his wife ran out of firewood, and so began to turn to their books for heat and cooking. ‘This forces one to think critically,’ Andras remembered his friend saying. “One must prioritize. First, you burn old college textbooks, which you haven’t read in thirty years. Then there are the duplicates. But eventually, you’re forces to make tougher choices. Who burns today: Dostoevsky or Proust?’ I asked Andras if his friend had any books left when the war was over. ‘Oh yes’ he replied, his face lit by a flickering smile. ‘He still had many books. Sometimes, he told me, you look at the books and just choose to go hungry.’” (Battles, Matthew. “Library: an unquiet History“. WW Norton & Company. NY: 2003. 190-1)
My 2 favorite Library and Book quotes:
“The Librarian was, of course, very much in favor of reading in general, but readers in particular got on his nerves. There was something, well, sacrilegious about the way they kept taking the books off the shelves and wearing out the words by reading them. He liked people who loved and respected books, and the best way to do that, in the Librarian’s opinion, was to leave them on the shelves where Nature intended them to be.”
Terry Pratchett, _Men at Arms_, 1993
A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing,
to the Parlament of England, 1644
“For Books are not absolutely dead things, but doe contain a potencie of life in them to be as active as that soule was whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a violl the purest efficacie and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous Dragons teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on the other hand unlesse warinesse be us’d, as good almost kill a Man as kill a good Book; who kills a Man kills a reasonable creature, Gods Image; but hee who destroyes a good Booke, kills reason it selfe, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye.”