Friday, 31 December 2010

The book thing

With moving home this past week I've given a lot of thought to books and stuff in general.

On the whole, I don't have a lot of stuff. I don't hoard; I delight in trashing (or passing on) stuff I don't use, keeping only things I use with a degree of regularity. But, when you're packing and moving boxes, it does seem like a lot of stuff! Then again... my hairdresser said that he recently helped a friend to move - she had over 300 packing boxes, 36 of which were shoes! I've got 18 boxes (small to medium in size) plus some race crates.

My mom helped me with some packing during the week and she commented on my abundance of extension cords, plug adaptors (multiple slots) and two-prong plug adaptors (at least one or two for every adaptor row). At my mom's place, plugs have always been an issue. No matter how many my mom bought, I was always moving two-prong adaptors around everytime I wanted to plug something in; and then there wouldn't be enough sockets for regular plugs and then the cords wouldn't reach... Ja, how we grow up affects us later ;)

The book thing has really been on my mind too because I think it is silly; and yet I can't part with my books. My collection of mountaineering, polar exploration, trail running, expedition and adventure travel-type books is pretty cool and I've been buying them for over a decade. I have very few fiction books as I read them and pass on, not caring to keep them. But my adventure books...

Now, the strange thing is that I don't like to lend them out because inevitably they do not get returned - so I'm not sharing them. And, I rarely read them again (although there are a number I'd like to read again - it has been years since I read those tales of adventure). Yet, I don't want to let go. An even funnier view is that, with the books currently in boxes in storage, I don't miss them because I know where they are - and they're still mine. I find this really silly because I'm generally not sentimental - I toss out race medals and trophies and gifts that I don't use. But these books...

In discussing this with an avid-reader friend, he reasoned, "But, they're your friends". And he's right.

I've crossed the Antarctic with Ran and Mike; travelled to the North Pole with Pen and David; circumnavigated the Artic with Mike; climbed mountains (and have fallen off them) with Jon, Steven, Joe and others; gone back to the age of exploration with Cook, Nansen, Scott, Shackleton, Burton, Darwin... Yes, we've been through some gruelling adventures together.

That the people in these books are my friends and companions makes the most sense to explain my attachment to these adventure-genre books, especially as I'm able to discard with ease and detatch myself from so many other things. Nonetheless, I think it is silly.

Would an iPad remedy my desire to free myself of the material tie-downs? Mmmm... not sure. Fiction, fine. Non-fiction... I'll think about it. For now, I prefer my 'friends' to be tangible paper and ink.

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