From the time I was a wee tot, I have loved BOOKS. Sure, at first I actually ate them, leaving slobbery gnawed scallops in the covers of my Little Golden Books. When I started READING them, I was so sad I’d eaten Mama Cat’s head (The Three little Kittens). You know, the three little kittens lost their mittens and they began to cry, “Oh Mother dear, we sadly fear….” Yup, I ate Mama’s head so she couldn’t hear them cry.
The funnies in the Courier-Journal newspaper were great to learn on because they were illustrated. Peanuts was good because Schultz used a good variety of words. Andy was a bald kid who never spoke – phooey! Beetle Baily was okay, and it was funny all the ways the Sarge would yell at Beetle. I remember I would cheat and sneak at look at the puzzle answers, then pretend I’d solved it myself. When I could really solve it myself, it was too elementary and I found harder puzzles.
Ma had a small plant stand with a bookshelf underneath. The only books I remember being there at this moment were Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell) and The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck). Other kids were watching Spot Run, Run Spot Run while I was reading about Scarlett making a dress from her curtains. Gosh, I thought that was neat. Not our curtains, though, they were from the Dollar Store. Dad was on a minesweeper in the Korean War, so I thought the Chinese were bad because of some of the things I’d heard about the war. Ms. Buck showed me another side of China, something much more human than a gun.
Such a marvel is a Bookmobile! Ma and I walked to the grocery every week and I convinced her to visit the Bookmobile that parked in the broad parking lot between W. T. Grants and Woolco Department Store. I got books on her card until the driver finally said I could get my very own. Victory! The first book I ever checked out using my own card was The Jargoon Pard by Andre Norton. Wow! I got the limit every week and read them all.
I still have the first set of The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit (J. R. R. Tolkien) I got, paperbacks. Then I got a book club set in hardback. That edition has what I believe is a typo, where Gollum has a griping hand. Come on, it has to be a gripping hand! About ten years ago I got a Folio Socity set; posh, precious, read multiple times. I also have the calendars, Leaf By Niggle, the elven lore books, the commentaries, all I could find. Then everything by C. S. Lewis: All seven Narnia stories in boxed paperback , in hardback and in Spanish, plus Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, The Screwtape Letters…get an author I like and I must acquire them all! Very frustrating about Dune. I had all of the original books by Frank Herbert. Then his son and another guy started making more. And more. And more? The idea of it being a franchise mill wars with my desire to have ‘the whole set’.
I have two sets of Encyclopedia Britannicas, one is from a guy’s trunk 30 years ago, paid him $200 (they were recent then). I have about 50 books on sewing and textile crafts. I have all David Brin , Arthur C. Clarke, Greg Benford and Ben Bova ever wrote as well as all of Richard Adams, Anne McCaffery and Ursula K. LeGuin. I have four feet of shelf space for Physics, six for Navy, and another eight feet for repair-fix it-construct it-design it books. There are about 200 cookbooks in the kitchen, all cooking methods and many ethnicities. That doesn’t count the 30 or so on growing and using fruit.
All together, that makes about 5000 total now on all subjects in all genres and I still devour books.