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52.25 Prized Possession

" Am I the only one who gets almost as much pleasure from owning books as from reading them?"

Frederick Buechner



Some of the other members of Project 52 posted electronic goods as their prized possessions. Now, I love boys' (and girls') toys as much as the next man (or woman). But, for my choice, I decided to go a bit more old school.


I love books. I have hundreds of them, carefully located on bookshelves, categorised and placed in just the correct location. I have read every single book that I own, many more than once, some - the favourites - on many, many occasions. They have been my companions, my windows into the wonders of amazing worlds, both real and imaginary, near and far. They have informed, illuminated and guided me.


But, as well as enjoying reading them, I enjoy owning them almost as much. It's why I couldn't help but smile when I read Buechner's quote in one of my books. At times, I'm sad enough just to come a look at my shelves of books, and when I do a little smile often creeps onto my face. These are my books. I own them. And that makes me happy.


I suppose that's why I don't ever see myself getting too worked up about 'owning' digital books and reading them on an iPad or Kindle. For me, reading a book is too much of a tactile experience. I enjoy the feel of the paper; I savour the smell of an increasingly musty book; and I look the marks, the underlining, or dog ears that reveal the history of this book. And this history, for me, can tell as much of a story as the one in the book itself. For this is my story with this book, my conversation with the author, my interactions with the ideas he or she has been expressing.


So, when it came to the photo, which one of the hundreds to pick? An impossible task, if not for the fact that two weeks of themes had been posted at once: prized possession and clouds & sky. I am a well known cloud geek, thanks, in no small part, to this wonderful book, The Cloudspotter's Guide. Packed full of science, art and literary references, it is gloriously upbeat, unashamedly enthusiastic and deliciously written. I dip in and out of it often, and, just like when I look at all my books on their shelves, it always leaves me with a slight grin on my face.


I love books.

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Taken on June 30, 2011