Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Books, oh how I love (most of) you!

I've spent the afternoon packing - mostly books. Packing books is always both my most and least favorite part of packing and moving. It's a chance to encounter books I had forgotten I owned, books I'd forgotten that I had read or, and too many of my books fall into this category, books I have yet to read.

Packing books makes me wish I had more time to read for non-academic purposes. I just pulled my Norton Critical Edition of Don Quixote off the shelf in the den: I think I already packed the other (English) edition I own (Oxford UP, I think). I wish I had time to reread the Quixote, and I wish I actually had time to read it in Spanish, as I have been meaning to for years. I'd already packed away the two dozen or so Spanish-language novels and volumes of poetry I own, and recalled that I have yet to read my annual novel in Spanish.

Each summer I pull a different novel off the shelf, grab my Spanish dictionaries, and curl up to read. It's my lame attempt to not completely let my Spanish degree go to waste (I already can't speak worth a darn, but reading's a lot easier). So, in some kind of recognition of this fact, I kept out the last Spanish novel left on the shelf: Las novelas de Torquemada. Anyone who's read this very long, dry book will recognize this as a somewhat masochistic move, some sort of penance, perhaps. I probably won't read it all the way through - there will come a point where I would rather pack/unpack, do dishes, or scrub the toilet than read Torquemada.

Packing books also reminds me of some of the sillier features of our book collection. For example, Eric and I own no less than three copies of Oedipus, two of which we got when we took Theater 101 together at Maryland (we also have duplicate copies of Fefu and her Friends and a few other assigned texts). There are several Shakespeare texts that we own multiple copies of, usually because one was his and one was mine, and then all of the books became ours.

I've also been reminded of all kinds of classes I've taken, the Theater 101 example being just a small fragment. Women's history courses are dredged from cold storage in my memory by a handful of novels, primary-document sourcebooks, and histories. I recall with some discomfort the Eighteent-century Anglo-Irish class I took, mostly because the tedious histories, jammed into a back corner of the bookshelf, have only recently come to light. That, and I found the poetry anthology we used for the class, which includes some of the worst verse I have ever read in my entire life. I've also uncovered environmental science, sociology, chemistry, and biology texts, some mine and some Eric's, that we just haven't been able to part with, though there really is no good reason for me to retain Our Changing Earth, nor is there really any call for Eric to keep Organic Chemistry (he suffered through the class, which should be enough).

I suppose I've waxed nostalgic about our books for long enough. I should go read Torquemada go do more packing, and perhaps a few dishes.

- posted by laurie @ 8/03/2004 01:58:00 PM
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