Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

H is for Hoarding . . . Books

When did I begin
holding each book close,
books I shall never read again?
How many are enough? 
These books that document 
my life into verse
and chapters?

I bring the quiet of a library
into my house,
arrange my chair just so,
the proper reading light,
sometimes a snack,
and fall into someone else's reality.
Never mind,
it's not my story, 
I'll slide sideways
into someone else's beginning
until the end.

I'm a bookworm, a bibliophile. I love books for what they contain, and I love simply the act of reading. Some of my earliest memories are of reading, sitting in a small children's chair and turning the pages of my own book. When I move to a new town, I don't settle in until I hold a library card, entry to my second home. On a first date with my husband, he took me to a small library in San Francisco to show me where Richard Brautigan wrote his stories. We used to go to used book stores everywhere; now, we just have too many books. What shall I do with the books I collected for teaching? Many are gone now, but boxes remain. As do the memories.

Allen's passion is travel. Oh, the libraries we have visited and the books we have seen -- original fan-fold codices in Mexico, illuminated manuscripts in England, even a tiny small tablet several thousand years old, with the first example of wedge-shaped writing, a cuneiform, brought out from a back room by a librarian to show us because we loved books.

My favorites, all the libraries in Scotland, the British Library -- so immense; and then in Buenos Aires, a theater has been converted to a grand bookstore -- El Ateneo Grand. After you have exhausted yourself, you can sit at a small table, look at the books you've collected, sip strong coffee, and listen to soft tango music.

El Ateneo Grand (

See more pictures of El Ateneo HERE.