Karen Floyd's Reviews > Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting and Living with Books

Browsings by Michael Dirda
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bookshelves: books, essays

"Browsings" is a year's worth of short essays from Michael Dirda's weekly column of the same name on the American Scholar homepage. He planned to write these for just a year, and, sadly, stuck to this plan. Sadly, because it means that means there are no more of these wry, entertaining essays revolving around books. Dirda is a man after my own heart. He loves books, a wide variety of books, ancient and modern, obscure and well-known, classics and genre books, though he's not much impressed by the New York Times Bestseller List. That only tells you if a book is popular, not whether it's good. He is anxious to share his love of books, especially his favorite books, with us. He particularly likes old mysteries, old science fiction and the supernatural, old adventure stories; old being from about 1850-1950. He talks about them with great enthusiasm, recommends titles and authors. Besides reading, and writing about what he's reading, he loves to acquire books, preferably as bargains, but sometimes a splurge is necessary. He takes us along on expeditions to book sales and used book stores, from which he rarely emerges without a boxful of books. He has so many books that he doesn't have shelf space for all of them. Too many are packed away in boxes, and he ends up rotating them on and off his shelves. He dreams of owning a big English country house just for its huge library, so he'll have room for all his books. Of course, since he obviously has no intention to stop acquiring books, in spite of protests from his Beloved Spouse, this is just a stop-gap solution.
My own, very humble, suggestion, is to purchase a large, flat piece of land, and build in the middle of it a comfortable-sized house, but not one so big that you would always need to be cleaning or entertaining. Then, when you have filled up all the bookshelves and bookshelf space in your house, you would simply add on another room to handle the overflow. And every few years you could add on another room as needed - until you reach the edge of your property. Then you start adding on to another side of your house.....And however big it gets isn't important because your children will be the ones to have to deal with it.
I envy you getting to read Browsings for the first time. In the meantime I'm off to abebooks to look for more books by Michael Dirda. And maybe some of the many he recommends....
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Reading Progress

January 29, 2017 – Started Reading
January 29, 2017 – Shelved
February 3, 2017 –
page 85
February 6, 2017 –
page 120
February 10, 2017 –
page 192
February 12, 2017 – Shelved as: books
February 12, 2017 – Shelved as: essays
February 12, 2017 – Finished Reading

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