Monday, 8 February 2010

2010:365:39 Love is ... a good book

365Project have "Love is" as this week's theme - which gives plenty of scope for creative interpretation!  Sitting in my favourite chair this little statue highlights one of the pleasures that is almost universally recognised -  the love of good books.  

...books are piled on our tables, spill in heaps from stuffed shelves, and lie about the floor and on chairs like spoiled pets. I have a miser's greed for books, and I pick them up at random to read a passage or follow an argument or inhabit a poem. I carry them from room to room, portable transitions of thought, of the past into the present, only to put them down in a maddening disorder. Guests sometime ask, "Have you read all these books?" My answer must be no. But they are there for me to read, or reread someday. If I am to have wealth it is in my books, and when I regard their spines presed together on the bookshelves, observe the casual sculptures they make on a table, my spirit becomes cozily furnished.--Hillary Masters, In Rooms of Memory: Essays
It is remarkable that this book has survived for almost sixty years - the first book that I was given as a Sunday (Sabbath) School prize in 1954 in the afternoon class that met in Ballymartin School - long since sold and turned into a private house.  To get there from Kilkeel was a two mile ride on the bar of my Dad's bicycle.
What memories this book contains in its almost loose leaf condition now!  Miss Jennett Humphreys guided the young scholar through alphabet, the numbers 1-20, poetry, nursery rhymes and good advice.  She taught you how to write the letters and "make small words grow big" by adding letters.  Best of all were Cicely Mary Barker's illustrations - hours and hours were spent absorbing every detail of the drawings and paintings. 

I still have my book prizes for the following four years - but none of them can evoke memories of childhood quite so easily as "Our Darling's First Book".  

So that's what I'm reflecting on today.  Books and memories ... And, as for the dramatic statue that opened this blog ... well it is a rather tiny ornament just a few centimetres tall!!
Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake that your glory may be proclaimed through our lives.

Book of Common Prayer
from Intercessions Three at Holy Communion


Rev Elizabeth said...

Eleven centimetres high - just a little over four inches! What height did the silhouette make it appear? Don't trust a photograph!

Ali said...

The old books are the best. My daughter loves the Enid Blyton books, even though she finds the language a little 'stiff' at times.

Rev Elizabeth said...

The old books didn't use "baby English". I think children like to be challenged and to learn "big" words. The pictures in this book are great - very natural poses.

Anonymous said...

As always a wonderful inspiration blog Elizabeth - I am so glad that I have passed on my love of reading to my son who is never without a book in his hand - how he doesn't walk into lamposts is beyond me!!!

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, what joy I felt reading this post. My mother and I share such a love for books. In 1998, she gave me a book called "A Passion for Books". It's still one of my favorites.

Seeing pictures of your books from childhood are awesome. I love to collect older children's readers. In fact, I often head to the used book store (there are 1000's of them here) and find old books so that I can display them in my home. I take off the old paper cover and find beautifully colored bindings. In fact, one of my 365 pictures is of a set I have on my fireplace! :D