Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dad's books

My Dad has the most eclectic and impressive reading habits of anyone I've ever met.  He spends his leisure time poring over titles like the ones in this picture (a random sampling from his nightstand).  I am always astonished at the things he's reading.  On the end table next to me are several volumes of Civil War history, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, books on programming Joomla, and something called The Genius in All of Us.  While he has a special fondness for philosophy, theology and history, there's always a sprinkling of science, technology and how-to books.  Every once in a while I'll find him reading a novel, but it might be in French for an extra challenge.

As a kid, I admired my Dad's books, and attempted to emulate him at times... I was a bookworm from an early age, and amused myself by tackling serious literature earlier than necessary.  (and earlier than was beneficial, in many cases; I'm sure I read Siddhartha when I was 12 or so, and retained nothing from it.)  I suppose I thought I'd be like him as an adult, amassing a lifetime collection of beautiful and interesting books.

Things don't always go the way we expect.  Nowadays, I'm still a reader - but closer to my Mom in habits, I almost always read fiction.  I'm halfway through a single non-fiction work this summer - Cleopatra: A Life; but it feels like heavy lifting, like being back in school.  And though I enjoy the challenge of an occasional classic, I don't have anywhere near my Dad's stamina for really hard reading.

During this two-week period at my parents' house, when the children are all miraculously away at camp, I've been tackling the attic.  Sorting through my own stuff, and helping my parents sort through theirs.  Dad and I did a major culling of his philosophy & psychology collection yesterday.  It was hard even for me to throw out tome after tome of 1970s wisdom, but the reality is that no one will ever read these books again.  Still, it was nice to go through it all with him; to glimpse the things he was interested in before I was born.  Things like Existentialism, and Gestalt Therapy.  And although I may not read nearly as much as my Dad does, ever, I still feel a huge amount of pleasure in sorting and arranging shelves of old books; each one dusty and unique and a world unto itself.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you found a way to fill that 'no kids' time. My dad reads like crazy too- but his tastes are on a different planet from mine. Hugs