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Saturday, July 30, 2016


Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
I think I may have figured out why people collect books. I've always been a little confused on the subject. When I was a kid, we didn't have much in the way of books around the house. We went, like all good, god-fearing Americans, to the library for our books.

An aside:
My god, I look back on that now and say that smells like communism! No wonder I lean to the left, I was brought up, not like I said before, but like all good, god-fearing commies. Oh, wait a minute, commies aren't afeerd of god, to them (me?), god is a fictional creature, and there's no reason to be afraid of him/her/it. Or maybe they just tired of being afeerd all the time, since it didn't really do any good anyway. I mean, didn't Jasper get cut down just last week and wasn't he just the best guy in the word, god-fearing and everything?
Back at the early Rutabaga's ranch, we did have a few books around the house. I remember specifically Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. My mom and I wore that book out, and then it got passed down to my younger brothers. I also remember there was a companion book about snow shovels, but it was years before I was able to get my hands on a copy long enough to read it.

Years later, somewhere 'rounds about halfway between then and now, my mom gave me a copy of another book that I had loved when I was a kid:  The Sailor Dog. OMG! I couldn't have been more shocked. Best book in the world! Except for Mike Mulligan, but Mike only wins out because he had more and bigger pages.

A while back I started buying my books. I wasn't liable to read more than one a week and a few bucks for a book was something I could afford. Besides, bookstores were open, unlike them dad-burn commie libraries. But a few bucks adds up, so I took the books I had finished reading and started selling them back to Powell's. This reduced the overall expense of my reading habit, but what I ended up with was a big pile of books I had started but never got around to finishing.
    Well, that's dumb. If those books didn't move you to pick them up and finish them, you are probably never going to finish them, you should sell the books you don't finish and keep the ones you do, because then, besides having a pile of books, you will know that these were worth reading.

Now I'm up against it again. I either need to get another bookcase or get rid of some of what I have. I actually probably need to do both. That's the problem with books, they tend to accumulate.

    What do you do with a big pile of books that are worth reading? I mean, you've already read them once, do you really want to read them again? Well, maybe some of them. I've got the whole set of Patrick O'Brian's sea stories. I'm saving them up, don't want to waste them. Don't know how many times I could read a book before it got to be boring. And there's Neal Stephenson. I really like his stuff, but it can be a bit taxing. It takes me about a week of being on vacation to get through one his big volumes. I'm pretty sure I could read all of his stuff again.
    After that, I'm not so sure. Some authors are stand outs, like John LeCarre and Daniel Silva, but they don't quite grab me like Patrick's and Neal's books do. Or maybe because they are set in the present day and I really don't like the present day. Nothing but trouble. Give me good old escapist fantasy any day.
    Alan Furst espionage thrillers are out of this world. Too bad they are so thin and few. Those are just the names that spring to mind this befuddled morning.

So there you have it: people collect books so they'll have something to read when they get too old and broke and too lazy / decrepit to get to the bookstore / library.


Ole Phat Stu said...

So sit down and WRITE one!
Takes up no space and keeps you busy for 6 months ;-)

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