Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beach house books

I visited the lovely Kiawah Island last week for a family vacation. The house in which we stayed had the usual line-up of books, a few Grishams, a few Pattersons, a few Reader Digests Condensed Books. The owners were more wide-ranging than most in their selection. There were a few mysteries, one or two scifis and a fantasy for those that didn't want to go with airport books. I left my copy of Damage Them All You Can in case a Civil War buff stays there at some point.

While there, I wondered to what extent the books represented the reading tastes or habits of the owners. Were other renters like me and given to leave (and perhaps take) a volume? If they were the owners books, were they favorites or the cast offs that otherwise would have been donated, sold or lent out with little care about a return? I admit I would be torn between the reality that any books I leave would be more or less gone from my collection and the desire not to be judged by my books.

Being a beach vacation, with very long flights, I managed quite a bit of reading. My dent into the reading pile was reduced by my purchase of John Julius Norwich's survey of the Mediterranean, the Middle Sea. At this point I have given up on ever reading all the books I own.

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