Thursday, November 13, 2008

Like an old friend......

Relaxing here this evening, seeking comfort and calm after a long day, I've picked a book from the shelves to keep me company. This time it's The Gripping Hand by Niven and Pournelle. It's an involved space opera with good character development and a believable plot line. The science is light, but accurate and fitting to the story. A good read, and it slips into my hands like a comfortable old friend.

Taking a look at my library listing in the sidebar, it's very heavy on Science Fiction. Almost all have been read and re-read by me, with just a few settled back on the 'to-be-read' shelf. These are new to the stable, usually found at second hand book stores where treasure lays in wait.

I grew up reading... heavily. Overcoming a reading problem in my childhood, perhaps I felt a need to make up lost ground. Maybe it was my choice of friends... meaning I had few. At the tender age of 12 I was reading three or four books a week, browsing my parents stacks or buying used of my own. When I could make it to the library, I maxed my limit every two weeks. I had an allowance of five dollars a week, which went almost exclusively to books and ammunition..... boxes of .22 and bags of books.

Years gone past... I read for enjoyment and professional improvement, although now my words in a row time is often devoted to blogs and on-line articles. The three hundred or so books arranged around me as I type this... are like old friends keeping time with me. Most sing their songs in my memory, surfacing likes whales breaching to breath... injecting words into my world from past encounters. Not cataloged in my chaotic mind, but milling as an undercurrent, supporting and guiding my thoughts with the echoes of their authors intent.

Robert Heinlein lives on, burrowed deep into my psyche. Ayn Rand keeps him company, with cameo appearances by Asimov and Clark. Now John Scalzi knocks at the door, seeking his own place to rest amongst the pantheon.

Like old friends.... and welcome ones. Richness of human thought captured in the bound pages, reaching out one day with comfort, and another day with challenge.
Dieing technology, books are, but not within these walls. To me they are special, having a spirit of their own that electrons exciting a screen will never hold. Holding a warm book in my hands, reading words woven into a story that forms in my own mind..... treasure beyond measure.


M*A said...

"A room without books is a body without a soul." Cicero

I read your beautiful post surrounded by my old old friends also...Heinlein, Rand, Asimov, Clark. Mutual friends of sorts! Tolkien and Orson Scott Card are here too. Vince Flynn is knocking on the door at the moment.

I'm feeling a bit of guilt..I have accounts at Library Thing and Good Reads...and I've neglected them...badly. You may have given me a little motivation!

My husband sent me the link to your blog...I'll be back often.

Christina LMT said...

I know exactly how you feel. I also get great joy from passing my old favorites on to my daughter, and seeing her enjoyment in the discovery. Great post.

Shrugged says: said...

m*a, Thanks for stopping in! You are welcome back anytime. As for the book listing widgets, Breda suggested 'Library thing' to me. As she is a master librarian, I could do no better. Listing them all was kind of fun, and keeping up as I add new ones is very easy.

Christina, My youngest son regularly roots through my books, and he's dedicated to swooping all my Pratchetts, I think (g). The older boys never hesitated to share in the stacks either, and that was a good thing.

Old NFO said...

Books, books, and more books are a GOOD thing! Scalzi is pretty good, I'd also recommend S.M. Stirling- some interesting premises in his books!