I love the artwork above... I can just see the owner of the desk at work and once in awhile, glancing at favorite books behind the glass in the bookshelf. The thought of books as "old friends" was brought to mind recently when I took this picture (below). It is a picture of the bookshelf in my bedroom.
It contains many old friends. It sits between our matching dressers (one "His", one "Hers") which were from my husband's childhood bedroom. When I have the pillows propped and I'm reading or listening to music on the CD player... this is my view... old friends. If you click on the picture, my friends are available for better viewing. Hmmm... I don't think there is anything weird there. :)
There are other shelves with friends displayed, waiting for their turn to be re-read someday. All of my Schaeffer... Edith and Francis... are on one shelf in the living room bookcases. I gave away some of my Francis Schaeffer books to a young pastor many years ago but I still have a few (including the Trilogy which contains books I gave away). The only book I want to re-read that I no longer own is Genesis in Space and Time. I had let someone borrow Edith's The Tapestry and it wasn't returned (the person moved away) but I recently was able to purchase it... used... through Amazon.
Just above these books in the living room are a few other old favorites. I just recently... within the last couple of years... began looking for Anne Morrow Lindberg's diaries at book sales. I read them as a teenager and was deeply touched by them. I think I'm still missing one but it will go on my list for the next sale. There are also books about history, especially the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers.
There are books about politics... past and present. Some I haven't read yet but their titles beckon me to take them off the shelf when I have long, uninterrupted hours for deep thinking... Whittaker Chambers' Witness and Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson are near the top of such a list. Both books are quoted quite often and expounded upon as being foundational books of history (as well as darn good reads).
Of course, there are far too many volumes on my living room shelves to even begin to mention... Landmark history books, biography, some fiction, big & beautiful decorating and gardening books (the only place many of them fit!), my Jan Karon books and my James Harriott collection, one volume of Wodehouse and only one Agatha Christie, deep books like Solzhenitsyn and a light volume by Chesterton... the eclectic tastes of a Bibliophile.
The old friends in the bedroom bookcase tend to be a little different. Most are from a Christian perspective, many having to do with homemaking and hospitality. Authors here are Elizabeth George to Emilie Barnes but also favorites such as the late Philip Keller (adore him!) and Yancey. Fiction I've read and fiction waiting for me at the opportune moment... like my Brother Cadfael Omnibus (Ellis Peters... brilliant writer). Most of my "tea books" are there and a couple of my favorite children's fiction... Wind in the Willows as well as Pooh. Lots in between...
The men with whom I share this house have their own bookshelves with favorites. Some of my husband's are also in the living room as well as a tiny bookshelf in our bedroom. Underneath the corner table in our bedroom, the one my mother gave him before she went to the nursing home because he had carefully restored it... is his stack of Bibles, Commentaries, and a huge Strong's Concordance.
Christopher says carrying around such books in the age of the Internet is silly... tell that to men in their 60's! Many of his favorite books are located in a tall set of shelves beside his desk in the office. There are his books about health, medicine, carpentry, engineering, Quality Assurance, as well as numerous binders for keeping papers organized. He reads more fiction than I do but many of them are from the library.
I've already written about Christopher's bookshelf... the one that shows his passion for politics, history, classical literature, and those strange Japanese books that look like anime' in print and one has to read from back to front. :)
People have asked me how I could afford such a library (not knowing I've given over half of all books away). Well, I have been collecting for fifty years now... my husband for sixty. Being homeschoolers, we always made books a priority in the budget. Okay... so I would have done that, anyway. I (as with many Charlotte Mason type homeschoolers) was accused of homeschooling to have an excuse to buy books.
Actually, many of our books were purchased for fifty cents and a dollar at library sales and garage sales throughout the years. If I'm looking for an out of print book, I usually go to Amazon where I can often find a book used (even with shipping prices going up they are often a good deal). I keep a list in my billfold for particular titles I'm still looking for... cheap.
Our old friends will be an inheritance to our children someday. Stephanie already has most of my homeschooling books. Christopher kept his favorite books from the years we used the Sonlight Curriculum... packed away... for another homeschool generation.
In the meantime, I love having friends that I can take off the shelf... perhaps a few of them... and read through in the evening with the music playing on the CD player (so I don't disturb anyone else) and a cup of tea at my side. Old friends whose pages often open to a favorite section, those who have wrinkled pages from the many times I used to read in the bathtub, friends who give up my secrets when I come across a chocolate thumbprint or the tiniest sliver of a potato chip.
I must be more careful about such evidence but I would hope that E. or Faith will pick up one of Grammie's tea books to read to their children someday and smile when they see the chocolate. :)
Picture: Kay Lamb Shannon, allposters.com