Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What's on Our Bookshelves (Plural)

[It's September 11th, 2011. As the sun set on September 10, 2001, I saw the World Trade Center towers a few blocks south from where I was walking to the subway. The next morning they would be destroyed by Muslim terrorists. So yes, I do have a strong personal connection to the Muslim attacks of September 11, 2001. But I have mixed feelings about it all. On one hand, I am not comfortable with the 9/11 memorial mania, or, more specifically, its exploitation by certain political and commercial interests. But on the other hand, America must never forget it, and must recognize it for the attack on our values that it was!]

Brigid posted a piece entitled "What's On Your Book Shelf?" Several bloggers have responded, including but not limited to Murphy's Law, Aaron, North, and Rev. Paul. So now, I shall weigh in with my household's book collection.

I have, of late, fantasized actually taking the time and effort to catalog our collection, but, as will become apparent, that day is in little danger of arriving any time soon. The truth is that we have more books than do many small town libraries.

First of all, the only rooms in our house that normally do not contain any books are the laundry room, the bathrooms, and the garage. But books do occasionally find their way even to those locations.

Of the remaining rooms, the only one that does not have a piece of furniture and/or a fixture specifically dedicated to the repose of books is our dining room, but, the two buffets, which were custom-made for my wife's parents over 50 years ago, each have a number of books and magazines stacked on them, which my wife and I have been reading at meals (typically but not necessarily our Sabbath meals in connection with discussion with our guests).

Continuing, room to room:

One of our kitchen cabinets has two shelves of cookbooks.

Our den has my wife's computer stand, which has several computer-related books. There is also a cabinet next to the piano which contains sheet music, old and new. And there are music books and sheet music on top of the piano as well. They will, of course, need to be removed and straightened up when the piano gets its now somewhat overdue tuning.

The living room has four 7-foot high shelving units. They all contain various Judaica books, including a Talmud set, a Mishneh Brurah set, various editions of the Torah and Hebrew Bible, a whole shelf of various prayer books (everyday (English-Hebrew, Spanish-Hebrew and Russian-Hebrew) and various editions for each of the holidays. There is an extensive collection of Jewish Law and Jewish History tomes, and a complete set of the original Ben-Yehuda Hebrew Dictionary (which belonged to my wife's grandfather). And the bar-buffet (also part of the aforementioned buffet set) contains not liquor, but yet more books, mostly Judaica but also history.

The Master Bedroom has 5 bookshelf units. One contains my history/military/law collection, and a yet to be completed set of Maimonides's Mishneh Torah, plus some law-related books. My wife has taken over the other units with her various sci-fi, medical, and romance fiction, et cetera.

Our son is now in an apartment with a roommate, but his bedroom still has lots of his books on the bookshelves there.

The guest bedroom has 3 bookshelf units, one of which is almost totally occupied with my various collections of items other than books. The other two contain old college textbooks, and books of history, humor, Judaica, and various literature. These include Wendy Northcutt's Darwin Awards books. There is also a box full of books which a neighbor had put curbside for trash pickup, but which I rescued, but have not yet put onto any shelf. They are mostly old novels. At some point I will probably donate them to a library, but my wife had expressed an interest in reading them, so there they sit.

My office (a converted bedroom) has 3 shelving units containing mostly law books and books about business. There are also reference books such as dictionaries (English and English-to-Otherlanguages), Thesaurus, the Chicago Manual, the Bluebook, etc.

There is a bookshelf out in the upstairs hallway, containing classic and semi-classic literature, including Kipling, Jules Verne, Gulliver's Travels, Milne's Winnie the Pooh, Pinocchio (the Collodi book, not the Disney version), et cetera.

There are two linen closets in our upstairs hallway. One of them has no linens in it, only books. Old books. Encyclopedia Britannica, with companion Atlas, Dictionary, and yearbooks up to 1974. Also older law books, including past editions of Black's Law Dictionary. And the 1946 Heritage Press edition of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Et Cetera.

At any given time, there are, on various pieces of furniture, books "in transit" which have not yet been returned to their place on the bookshelf, or else have not yet been assigned an established shelf as a normal position.

In our household, we love our books!



  • At 13 September, 2011 17:46, Blogger North said…

    " only rooms in our house that normally do not contain any books are the laundry room, the bathrooms, and the garage."

    I can't even say that these rooms don't.

    OK, our half bath (guest bath) doesn't have a book in it.

  • At 14 September, 2011 03:12, Blogger Expatriate Owl said…

    Actually, our house may well be in for an infusion of even more books because my parents are now talking about downsizing from the house in which they have resided for close to 40 years. They even have books in the bathrooms there!

    It is from them that I learned to love books.


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