My favorite thing to do on the weekend is to wake up, maybe shower, get some breakfast and then curl up on the couch with a book. It's my biggest indulgence to while away the time lost in the pages of a book.
Last night I went to an amazing event at the Newberry Library here in Chicago. If you've ever read the Time Travelers Wife, the Newberry features prominently in the story. The building, the collections and the people who work there are are a treasure. They also are pros at helping people do genealogy research, something I've been meaning to do.
There were two talks last night. One focused on spooky and supernatural books and the other on scandalous and subversive books and both were phenomenal. It was interesting to see these beautiful books and hear their stories. Some were even handwritten and illustrated manuscripts. There were pamphlets that were basically items that would have been tossed, but someone held on to them and they found their way to their home in the museum collection. I often wonder how our letters and words will find their way to a space in history since everything is online, but I digress!
What struck me is there was a book that was a collection of music and it was published ten years before Marie Antoinette's death and the inscription was 'To the Queen'. Yet, someone years later scratched out Queen and wrote Republic so the inscription now reads 'To The Republic'. It was something so small, but that slight change in a book of musical notes had a ripple effect and over two hundred years later we were viewing that as a subversive act. The book itself was rather inconsequential, the fact that it survived just amazed me.
Books have been a huge part of my life. When I was a child, they were a way for me to escape the world around me. As I grew older and my hunger for knowledge grew, I could find a new world to explore in a book. These days I'm usually rotating between 3-4 books at a time. I've also come to recognize that if I don't feel like reading (or watering the plants or cleaning the kitchen!) that I'm probably feeling depressed. Reading is such a passion for me that when I lose interest I know something is wrong and I need to check in with myself.
Even though I love books, I have pared down my collection substantially. I've only kept my absolute favorites, books given to me that have meaning and my art and design books which I refer to often in my interior design work. I rely heavily on the library these days to feed my hunger and I'm so grateful for libraries.
I highly recommend a trip to the Newberry, or that you poke around on their collections online. You never know what you are going to find.