The one thing I’ve been great at collecting, and there’s no question that I will keep, are my books. I have a decent sized library for just one guy. Nothing like the collection some of my contemporaries from college have, but it’s a good size for me. I focus on quality. Not quantity.
After having lived in three different States in the past seven years, I’ve accrued and packed up boxes of books in each. So now, that I’m sort of settled in a new/old city, I’m unpacking all of my books and organizing and shelving them. It’s like seeing old friends again. All the literary anthologies and text books, those weighty tomes of my college years. All the novels and collections of short stories. The books I bought from the Friends of the Library for a very modest price. The amounts I amassed from clearance sections at book stores like Title Wave and Half Price.
I remember how and where I acquired each of them, what they remind me of, who I was with and what meaning I took from their pages.
My favorite authors all lined up in alphabetical order. I’ve got my Hemingway between Joseph Heller and Herman Hesse. My McCarthy between George R.R. Martin and Henry Miller. Palahniuk between Orwell and Poe. They’re all there, leaning on one another. Holding each other up, inspirational and immortal.
I have a very spotty Star Wars collection of which I’ve only read a few. I have Ayn Rand waiting to be read, split up between her novels and non-fiction, as well as a ton of history books, biographies and reference materials to scratch my itch for knowledge and to offset my appetite for entertainment and aesthetics.
I have inherited old antiques, An Outline of History by H.G. Wells printed in 1920, The Poetical Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson Illustrated printed in 1882, and The Poetical Works of Lord Byron printed in 1855, which from a previous literary loving owner, has an obituary newspaper clipping of one Warren Cary dated August 12, 1902. He was the younger brother of American poets Alice and Phoebe Cary. I love that kind of stuff, and I now have that awesome piece of history in my possession.
And above all, I have all those books I intend to read. I probably have more books to-read than I have read. So, here’s to reading more this year. Maybe I’ll I put a dent in the pile.