Wednesday, 4 March 2009

L’Étagère c'est moi (or pseud's corner)

When invited into someone's home, it's important to check out their bookshelves, as what they read is a good reflection of who they are. The 'coffee table' book syndrome, where an impressive book is left lying about, ostentatiously, can be ignored.....you need to find the real books behind the owner.
Mrs K has hers neatly aligned on the bookshelves, but they give a good insight into her tastes.....mine, meanwhile (if not piled up half-read beside the bed) are more higgledy-piggledy.
If music is on show, this is also useful to place a person. Most of my LPs date form the annus mirabilis of 1973.
A correspondent recommended that I find another book by WH Hudson, called Adventures with Birds. I managed to find it (at Oxfam) and it's a great little pot boiler. There are chapters on Nightingales, Marsh Warblers and furze-wrens (Dartford warblers), and a number on his favourite place, Wells-next-the-Sea.
He also endured the usual difficulty in tracking the furze-wrens down, and writes that the best time to see them is at 'about five o'clock in the morning, when they are most excitable and vocal'.
The rest of the time, 'they vanish and refuse to come out'.

He calls it one of our 'minor songsters' which has 'a curious little jiggy song'. I expect the late great Percy Edwards could have given a good impression, who made a career in birdsong and apparently could imitate 600 species - a celebratory programme is here.

10 comments:

Mary said...

Books....even better than birds...maybe! I always look at people's books, too when I visit someone. My own are stashed in so many different rooms, no one would get the real picture of what I like :-) Those mugs on the shelves would be fair game to one of my cats. She unstacks any books sitting like yours...very irritating. I call her "the librarian" when I'm not calling her worse names. The Hudson book looks like a wonderful old book..nice illustrations. He shows the music for the bird songs??

Warren Baker said...

Hey steve,
seems your missus has a book shelf like mine - neat and tidy, all in order, whilst yours is like my missus' shelf, all over the place! my wife reckons I've got some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder - of course I have, i'm a birder!!

Warren Baker said...

Ive just noticed the books on your wife's shelf steve....I must meet her!, I see she is a thomas hardy fan - me too, My fav is Far from the madding crowd.

Kingsdowner said...

Mary, apparently it's National Book Day here today - coincidence! So far the cats haven't damaged the shelves, but it would be a good game.

Warren, that explains your listing skills! For me, A Pair of Blue Eyes and The Woodlanders are faves.

NW Nature Nut said...

I just know if a Kindle can replace the love of having books. I like the idea of them, but that stack of books is so heartwarming. I like birds with "jiggy songs."

Kingsdowner said...

Michele,
Thanks for introducing me to 'Kindles' - I had to look the word up!

I've no doubt that they will be very useful in the same way as a reference library is useful, but there can be no subsitite for a book (just as there's no substitute for LPs).

Imagine curling up by the fire with a good Kindle.
Or am I just a Luddite?

NW Nature Nut said...

Steve: Your blog and your sense of humor keep me coming back. I really appreciate your simple, thoughtful no frills blog. I started "subscribing" to a whole lot of blogs and found myself overwhelmed with trying to keep up with them all. I started just going back to my old favorites. Your's remains one of my favorites.Thanks for your regular postings.

Gerald said...

Hi Steve, I am glad to see that you tracked down a copy of Hudson's
book but I am jealous of the fact that you managed to find a hard
back copy. I only have a paperback version. Perhaps I should visit
the local Oxfam more often.
Speaking of paperbacks that is a nice collection of Penguin Classics on the shelf.

Kingsdowner said...

Aw Michele, you say the nicest things - I never thought of myself as 'simple' before.
It's funny how we find a style to our taste - I like yours too!

Gerald, thanks for putting me onto the Hudson book....it's a good one for dipping into from time to time.

NW Nature Nut said...

"simple" meaning no frills and not frivolous. anyhow--i meant it as a compliment ;)