Sunday, June 26, 2011

Project Bookcase: Shelf 1: Past lives

A room without books is like a body without a soul.--Cicero


My bookcase is my favorite piece of the furniture. I would gladly give up my file cabinet, second hand dresser and sleep on the floor before I would part with my bookcase. When visiting a home for the first time I am always drawn to the shelves. What we choose to keep on the shelves tells a lot about how we keep our lives. So, I want to share mine. When I had this brilliant idea I was tempted to rearrange all my shelves to make them pretty and ordered, but I had to stop myself.  Here are  my shelves as random as me.




(Front, from the left)
 An 1886 copy of Les Miserables. I am pretty sure that my mother found this book in a thrift store or garage sale and I may or may not have kidnapped it to rescue it from being sold online.  The book is in pretty poor condition, so it isn't worth anything, in monetary terms.  The story of forgiveness and redemption is on of my favorites, that's a given. But I also love the oldness and brokenness of this physical copy, it has got to have stories of its own.   Think of all the hands that have lifted the cover and turned the pages, or the library shelves it sat on or the bags or suitcases it traveled in. Did anyone read it while sitting under a tree or on long distance journey? A new book, with it starchy pages and hard spine can sometimes make you feel  that you are the first person ever to read that book, which can be an exciting rush. But used books, ones with obvious signs of love and use can just as exciting. They make you feel like you are another link in a long chain of kindred spirits.

Graves New Graded Speller Complete (1894). A graduate school graduation gift from the librarian that I worked for as a teenager. My first real job (we don't talk about that one week at a fast food joint), was shelving books at the local branch library.

A handmade notebook from Korea, given to me by a friend who teaches English (and belly dancing) in South Korea.

My tambourine! This was a birthday present 3 years ago to replace the tambourine that got taken away from me a couple of years before. Needless to say, I have now learned proper tambourine etiquette.

Tambourine like instruments from India, a gift from a friend who lived in India for a couple of years. Have I mentioned that I love tambourines? If not, I love tambourines.

(Back from the left)
Records. Both of record players are in faraway storage, but that doesn't mean I stop collecting vinyl. This handful is mainly Scottish/Irish traditional music.

Messiah score/music sheet music. Every year the Kennedy Center has a holiday sing-a-long of the Handel's Messiah. It is great fun, you pretend that you a world renowned chorale singer. Since there are so many people singing, you can sing your heart out and no one, except the people next to you, can tell that might be *slightly* off key. But that doesn't matter, it is all about the passion you bring to the music. Stuffed within my score is remnants  of my past as a piano player. My favorite show off performance piece is still, Musetta's Waltz from Puccini's La Boheme.

Complete Beatles scores book, a gift from my sister a million years ago.  I was listening to the White Album when I was eleven, which probably explains a lot.

Photo album, its me through the ages!

My harmonica

Leather bounded portfolio of my Op/Ed columns. After completing my undergraduate studies I had a brief career as an opinion columnist for a tiny local newspaper in Missouri.

A big red archive (as opposed to a scrapbook) of tickets stubs, fliers etc of concerts I have been to. That collection can probably spark another million stories.

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