22 February 2021

Monday Memories: Books

Collectively the books you have on shelves, stored in boxes in basements and attics have a story to tell. What do they say about your interests and how those have changed through the years?

The oldest in this collage is an illustrated guide book to my hometown published in 1914, a gift from my brother.

There's a copy of the 1965 original edition of The Magnus by John Fowles I purchased as a student in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Several relate to weather and weather history from which I graduated into history more generally, family history and genealogy in particular. Those include my book on The Ottawa Sharpshooters and Researching Canada's Home Children.

Lots in my collection are books I haven't read, something I felt better about after reading Building an antilibrary: the power of unread books.

What story do the ensemble of books in your home tell about your journey through life?


Anonymous said...

They show a strong interest in documented history, but also in memoires, biographies, and autobiographies.

I hate historical fiction. I find it all imposes a 21st century sensibility on a previous path.

I want to know what it was like to live then, by someone who was THERE. Cheers, BT

Anonymous said...

Yes, some of my collection of books are unique ones that I bought on travel trips, and I cherish them. They are a part of my life story. Others are, "I would like to read it," or perhaps "I should read it," since it is popular or since it will help me with genealogy. Some in my collection are books my father or grandmother kept...my grandmother's history text, or my father's childhood story books. I could go on. :-)
Thank you for this article and for normalizing my penchant for keeping "important" books.

Rick Roberts, GlobalGenealogy.com said...

Taking a random gaze around the book cases in my office, and ignoring those books we (Global) published, there is a strong emphasis on Canadian, British Isles and UEL history, genealogy methods/genealogies, atlases (Canadian, UK and Ireland), horticulture/gardening, wood working and reference books regarding classic cars. On the mostly still-to-be-read shelves, is my mother's military history and official Canadian military histories she collected during her decades at the Dept of History at DND.

gail b said...

We have a huge library, with my husband's academic books on shelves on one side, and me with an wildly eclectic selection grouped by theme -- the UK, family history, Fiction, signed editions, siblings, kins and friends publications, travels etc and so on.

We also buy now from our Independent Bookstore, and when finished, give them to friends to pass forward, or to free little libraries nearby. In lockdown, we have been circulating books among friends too.

former librarian here.