Friday, April 21, 2017

My mommy? Or Umami?

That's me in the spotlight....

I was actually hoping the word was going to be something slightly more elegant, like "umami."  Umami is the preferred word for taste, now; sweet, salty, sour, and bitter are so passé (as is "passé").  All flavors now revolve around "umami," even if we aren't quite sure what that flavor is (the four basics at least had the virtue of being distinctly identifiable).*

Instead, we get something that sounds like a new puzzle fad:  "tsundoku".

Apparently I'm not that bad; I don't pile stacks of books on the furniture (the Lovely Wife won't allow it).  I do leave books scattered about the house, but singularly, not in piles.  I do have seven sets of bookshelves in four rooms, and left to my own devices would probably put shelves in every room in the house.  Except then I'd have that many more books and shelves to dust, so it's probably just as well.

I have books from my graduate school career, from law school, from seminary, and just from my own predilections.  I have fewer and fewer novels, although at one point that's all I read.  I hardly read any more, not compared to the consumption of books in my youth.  I read my way through everything worth reading (which was a lot, but not everything) in three libraries in my hometown (two at school, and the Carnegie downtown, long since no longer a library.  *sigh*).  I was quite sure, in my youth, that I'd end up like this:

I may yet.  But my problem is I don't have more books than I could ever read; I have more books than I want to read.  "And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh."  I finally got old enough to think the Preacher might be on to something there.

*yeah, I know, "meaty," "brothy."  Just go ahead and say it tastes like chicken.


  1. Part of the mania involved in collecting books is the ordinary obsession of the collector of anything. The more you have, the more "gaps" you know exist in your collection and the more you want to fill them.

    But books may be different because the bibliophile usually reads them as well, or intends to read them, because he or she is interested in what's in them, and wants to know what they say and enjoy them as entertainment. "Man by nature wants to know." I'd like to know everything, at least about the things that I am interested in. I am vaguely aware that I can't do that. In fact, I get the idea, I experience the sensation, that the more I know, the more I realize I don't know. So the chase has a kind of futility that you're aware of and just more or less ignore--because it's still fun to get a shiny new book.

    On the other hand, last year I came up with a plan that I ought not to buy another book until I'd read a certain number of unread ones, on a certain pace. So now, before I buy another one, I have to finish ten, and refrain from further purchases until September 24. We'll see if the resolve holds. (OK, I bought an introductory textbook on Arabic this morning at a garage sale. But the restriction excludes books at $2 or less).

  2. You can't see it in the picture above, but that green shield reads "Metaphysics."

    I still want a library like that, where I can have a section for "Metaphysics."

    Whether I'll read the books is another matter. A head full of theology, ecclesiology, Biblical history, church history, law, literature, and schools of criticism, not to mention diverse obtuse branches of philosophy (none of these subjects complete in their knowledge, by any means) is starting to feel surfeited.

    Or defeated; two conditions which often appear alike.