Monday, December 06, 2010

 Owen’s Library

My grandfather, Owen, was a great collector of many things.  Paintings, tools (functional and not), costume jewelry, anything that might attract large amounts of dust, people who loved him, more dusty things and books.  Granted, that is only a partial and inconclusive list, I must assume that the picture has been painted.  After his death, my amazing aunts and uncles, along with numerous cousins and my pretty great brother, began the mountainous task of cleaning out his houses.  It is taking a long time and much work, plenty of tears and even more laughter.  One of the big questions is “what to do with ALL those books?”.

I have decided to take on that task.  I don’t know what will eventually happen to the boxes and boxes  (and boxes) of books.  Will I be able to find a buyer; who buys old books these the days of Kindles and E-readers?  Will I donate them?  If that is indeed the case, who would want 30 plus bankers boxes of pre-1970 books? I can guarantee that none of these are from Oprah’s bookclub or have sparkly vampires as protagonists.  What I can say, without hesitation, is that I am going to read as many of them as I am able.  This is how I am going to honor my wonderful granddad, I am going to spend time lovingly paying attention to something he collected and valued. 

Thus I am turning my blog over, for the time being, to cataloging those books I encounter on my journey.  I expect some to be dry and dull, my grandfather was a military man and I have a relatively short attention span for minute detail.  I hope there are some that surprise me.  But most of all, I hope that I am able to spend even a little bit of every day remembering an extraordinary man by doing what I love more than most anything: reading.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth!

I think this is a wonderful undertaking, and one I can really relate to. We moved into my grandparents' house in 1996, and we inherited a ton of books (my grandfather was a Shakespeare professor at SJSU and my grandmother taught AP English at Willow Glen High back in the day, so you can imagine the library they had.) Amongst the metric ton of Classic English Literature, there are also some unexpected gems as well. I've certainly read some of the books over the years, but you've inspired me to be more systematic and adventurous about it. I look forward to reading about your discoveries as well as making some of my own. Thanks!