Commonplace Thoughts of a Residual Welshman: How to Build a Library

Well, this title may be a bit misleading—but I do intend to suggest how to build a library below. But I need to back up a bit, to suggest first why to build a library. Now when I say “build” I don’t mean physically to build a building or anything like that. Rather, I mean to build a library collection. And when I say why, I don’t propose that one size fits all. Some folks are not readers—and that’s okay, it’s not sinful not to be a reader. So if you’re married to one, that’s alright, too. You needn’t file for divorce because your husband or wife happens to prefer watching Game of Thrones to reading Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone, which I have not yet read myself, but I want to.

But you obviously are a reader, for you are reading this. Chances are, therefore, you read books, too. And if you do, you should probably think about building a library. Why? Because outside of character, books are the best legacy you can leave to your children, if you happen to have them. Books inform character. Yes, I just wrote that. Books inform character, and they tell you something about someone’s character. This is pretty obvious if you look at, say, someone’s movie collection. If they have lots of “spicy” titles, even X-rated titles, well, then, I don’t think I have to explain that to you. If they have classic films in their collection, that says something else again. Likewise books—we are what we eat and we are even more what we read, for food shapes the body but books the mind. So be careful of what you put in your mouth and what changes into the cells that make up your body—for bad food makes bad cells, and bad cells are called cancer. But good food and good books—you can do the math.

Building that library, putting good books in your library, will tell your children someday a lot about you, for they will inherit your books. And remember, while you’re off in the kitchen cooking, your dinner guest is sitting in your sitting room doing what? Well, I always find myself looking at peoples’ bookshelves. Why? I’m curious about what they’re like to read, of course. Aren’t you? Don’t you? Aren’t you curious? (Now that sound’s familiar, for it’s the theme of this website and the Curious Autobiography, a book you really should read. Not that I’m trying to make you feel guilty for not having read it by now, especially if it is already in your library. But maybe, then again, I am.

Well, so that’s why to build a library, one rich in good books. But now, how? Well, that’s a bit easier. Amazon Prime? Yes, that works. But better, of course, to go to a bookstore and peruse. Now that bookstores like Barnes and Noble often have coffee bars attached, how can that not be a good idea? And there’s nothing better than smelling a fresh book. Nothing better. Not even smelling delicious coffee. But books and coffee do go together quite well.

Finally, where will you keep all the books? Well, you’ll see from the pictures of my own library here in this blog that there are all kinds of nice storage places, from the tool room to the garage-converted-into-a-library. So, go for it! Read? Yes. Buy? Yes, or at least borrow from your local lending library. And, whatever you do, unless you give a book away, don’t ever get rid of your books. Build yourself a wonderful library, instead, book by book. Tolle, lege! “Pick it up and read it!”




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