It is time to attack my bookberg. Book sorting! Only another book lover will know this task is emotional, dusty work with frequent trips back and forth to the reject box to retrieve a volume you just can’t live without.
I did not factor in the impact of nostalgia. As I sifted and culled, I was overwhelmed by the memories which came flooding back.
Relating to the photograph above, here’s a small sample of the tip of my bookberg:
- Those aching muscles as I tried to emulate actress and fitness guru Jane Fonda using her inspiring 1981 ‘Workout Book’. The less said about the front cover the better.
- My 1986 major motion picture tie-in ‘Out Of Africa’ by Karen von Blixen was purchased after I saw the movie because I wanted to see how much the movie had altered the book. Well, let’s just say it was movie mush.
- ‘Finest Moments’ the hilarious 1975 antics of Norman Gunston (Australian TV comedian Garry McDonald) were clever but now make me cringe. Gunston dared to go where no journo had gone before. McDonald was a good scriptwriter but.
- I tried and tried to read this 1984 paperback of Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’. Even now as I look at its yellowing pages (it cost me $4.50 back then) I don’t think I will ever read it. Most of it has come true, right?
- The small yet 383-page book ‘Angels & Fairies’ written 2005 by Iain Zaczek was a surprise. A gift, seemingly unread, it contains works of art from famous British painters in 1800s Victorian era. Such luminous illustrations, if ever there was a misnamed book, it’s this one! Nothing cutesy about it. A serious study for art aficionados.
During re-reading and culling, three things struck me immediately.
- The smallness of the paperbacks.
- The density of the print.
- The amount of information.
I guess smaller books meant cheaper to print, easier to handle.
Because I now need reading glasses, the print looks tiny to me.
Does excessive screen time influence the way we read off screen?
We read less content, larger font and wider spaces today, because of what?
Several of my earlier paperbacks have bios, dedications, illo plates, notes, etc.
Or a pull-out page so you could fill in your details and mail to the publisher to receive the author’s complete booklist.
Fortunately the only thing which hasn’t changed is real bookshops.
They may be fewer in certain countries but they are alive and well where I live.
Getting back to those rejected books, I have cardboard boxes (ah, that smell of cardboard) to pack them in and send off to University of Queensland for their Book Fair.
I was mightily impressed with UQ book wrangling skills, particularly after I visited their Book Auction and saw frantic bidders making the value of old books rise higher and higher until the final bid, the hammer fall, the cry of delight from the successful bidder.
My three-part series of UQ Book Fair visits last year—brilliant photos—
This post is pure procrastination. But look at this book on Rome, I was a little bit in love with the professor…
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward
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