Anyone who reads alot of books, or even perhaps a fair amount of books will know what I mean. Books more than plants and more than certain people start to seem alive. You remember things from them as real memories. Characters become old friends or acquaintances. They begin to fill up your life.
I was 24 and living in Philadelphia when my mom invited me down to Baltimore where she was staying at a conference. The weekend has since become infamous, but at the time it was just a nice idea. Wandering around that first day I realized something that I hadn’t known when I drove down… it was Otakon weekend. For those of you who don’t know Otakon is a primarily anime convention held in Baltimore every year. The cosplayers were everywhere. I wanted in, but as is the way of cons, tickets were either sold out or pricier than I could afford.
Except for it’s infamy this weekend was reasonably uneventful and yet it is because of this weekend that I read my first Michael Swanwick book. “The Dragons of Babel” I loved it. I love it. For me it ranks right up there with Neverworld for fantasy worlds. It’s mysterious and foreign with a hint of familiarity. My mom also got me a paper from Otakon signed by said author.
Now I’m not going to say that he’s my favorite author. That space is still reserved for Sir Terry Pratchett, but as someone who once drew a map of a place that doesn’t exist I understand the importance of a fantasy world. And one that contains griffins, McDonalds and a high tech throne all in the city of Babel, well what’s not to love.
The problem however becomes one of space. Today I started my second Michael Swanwick book, a Best of Collection. It’s introduction talks about how the author (of the intro) was talking to a fellow writer who had in his house a shelf full of the books that he’s written. How that author had met Anne McCaffrey and she had a similair shelf. (Although in her case, I’m going to bet on book shelf). And I thought about how this reflects on my love of books.
The thing about me and books is that I love to read them and then buy them and read them over and over. But as I said, it’s an issue of space. I love Terry Prachett’s books and am working my way towards owning all of his books. I don’t yet but the ones I do have take up slightly more than one shelf. Anne McCaffrey, Brian Jacques, Orson Scott Card, Issac Assimov, Robert Hienlein, Nick Hornby, Chuck Palahnuik, and on and on. These people wrote alot of books. And I have a space for all of them… I’m going to need a fifth bookcase soon however.
Reading is a problem habit. I have just over 800 books, not counting recipe books. (I know because Timmie counted them) And I am rapidly running out of space, but I know that they won’t let me give them up. YOu have to believe me when I tell you that thye might be just a little bit alive.