Good morning from Dublin! The day started off with a wide skyline mask made of glum cloud but it has since brightened up somewhat. I feel elated to be blogging again. I haven’t yet picked a book out of my library to read or been to the bookshops since I flew in from Dubai. I plan to do both this afternoon. Still, there are treasured pleasures to be held everywhere on the sly and quiet.
Here in Ireland, there’s always a congenial surprise to be held with reads. I’m not just reflecting on the city’s remarkable bookstores with their colourful accompanying cafes downtown, or the many quiet benches at a large nearby pond, full of sleepy ducks, patient swans and quarrelsome gulls. There’s no denying that besides the noisy tourists and excitable children every other weekend; St. Stephen’s Green a popular historical park, is still a breathtaking place for inhaling some quiet poetry and cherishing a classic Simon and Garfunkel moment.
In my apartment, lies my own sacred collection carefully amassed over a decade. I revere my vast library. It’s only now, frankly, that I have learned to appreciate it. I realise that I have enough novels alone, to devour for three lifetimes. I have bought so many books in the past – too many to count – that perhaps in older years, I’ve learned the gift of contentment where it matters… and how much better it is to live simply and surrender to the moment. In this respect, I’ve become a little smarter by not spending money on books I know I’ll never read; only those I really desire to. Thankfully, I can still manage the willpower.
Yet, besides the neat and tidy shelves featuring some cool and enthralling world literature, some unusual and rare, some out-of-print and some so beautifully brand-new; there are more higgledy-piggledy piles to be held in my bedroom and living room. Pull open burgeoning cupboards and drawers and you’ll be confronted with a messy jumble of books of all shapes, colours and sizes. And like a scene from a really sad film, if I get unlucky sometimes, they topple all over me.
On the contrary, my father was a voracious reader and an admirable book-collector but he was also very neat. I say this with resignation and a deep sigh but will leave my exquisite childhood influences for another day.
Still, as an example, here is one of my most doted-on literature. A few clumsy photographs shot on my phone, display quiet hints of a resplendent tome of a Jane Austen collection. It features her complete novels together with many, many illuminating sketches. I adore my Austen more as a coffee-table piece. I had picked it up from Chapters Bookstore on Parnell Street, a few Christmases ago. Then they were selling an array of gift books that soon vanished as books are often a favourable choice with the Irish for that decorative family Christmas-tree stack. Now, this prized gem waits delightfully in an open drawer like an Aladdin’s Cave, full of hoarded jewels.