For today’s Top Ten, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, we are supposed to list the top ten bookish things we want to own that aren’t books. The truth is, I am really interested in trying to reduce the amount of stuff I have, not add to it, and when it comes to bookish things, the thing I want most is more books. But in the spirit of things, I’ll play along as well as I can, without showing you something really original, like say, ten different bookshelves or a bunch of t-shirts with catchy book things on them. (Hi, I like to alienate people.)
1. A trip to the library at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The Reading Room and Special Collections at the Rijksmuseum mostly contain books on art history. I am not an art historian by any means but just look at all the treasure in this room in my favorite museum in my favorite city. Even better, when I leave the museum and walk around Amsterdam, I see book stores on every street. Heaven.
2. A dedicated room for my personal library. Actually, I go back and forth on this one. I see pictures of other people’s personal libraries and like any book lover I drool a little bit. But then I think, if all my books are in the library, and not in the living room or piled all over the house as they are now, how will people know I am a reader? What if all they see if the television and the XBOX? No no no. Books everywhere, library too! (And yes, I said I don’t want to accumulate stuff. Books aren’t stuff! They are books!) This one in Belgium looks nice, and I could easily pop over to Amsterdam when I felt like it.
3. I want my goddam books back. Sorry to go all Holden Caulfield on you, but seriously, I want back the books I have loaned to friends over the years. (Not talking about family. At least I know where those books are.) Yes, it is my own fault for trusting people who say they love books and love to read and yadda yadda. Now, when I borrow books from people, I always return…*side-eyes bookshelf* *dies of embarrassment*
4. The Riverside Shakespeare. Yes, I know this is technically a book, but really it’s a collected work. Of plays and sonnets and whatnot. That just happen to be in book form. This was the text for my university Shakespeare class in the age of Nirvana, and I sold it back because I needed the money. Maybe you all could live on words, but I needed ramen. I have always regretted selling it, and while I don’t exactly loll around reading the Bard all day, it would be wonderful to have a trusted reference nearby for when I want to look up a line, or just peruse for the hell of it.
5. The Oxford English Dictionary. Because it’s not a book (or books) it’s a dictionary and it’s for my personal library, duh. It’s a REFERENCE TOOL. Seriously, though: right now I am reading The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon, and this fantastic dystopian novel is all about etymology and the philosophy of language and the ways technology is changing communication, and it has reminded me of the joy of looking up words and understanding their history, how their meanings have changed over time. If you are a reader and you are not interested in WORDS, then something is wrong with you.
6. Page numbers on my Kindle books. I think I had an option on my old Kindle to display page numbers instead of percentages (at least for some books), but now I am using the Kindle app on my Android tablet and I am back to seeing percentages. It also shows me how much time I have left to finish the book at my current reading pace, which makes me feel like I am in training and need to speed up. It’s like RunKeeper, only for reading. ReadKeeper. Reading is supposed to be relaxing, FFS!
7. And while I am on the subject (sort of) of my Android tablet, I would like to have a pretty tablet cover. no, it doesn’t have to look like a book. I have a Nexus 7. Apparently nobody who owns a Nexus 7 except for me would like an attractive cover. Apparently only iPad and Samsung Galaxy owners want pretty covers. It also would have been nice if the cover I ended up with hadn’t emitted a sickening chemical smell for the first two weeks that was so bad I couldn’t use it and had to keep it in the garage. Do you think I should be worried about the faint glow in the area where it sat while it aired out?
8. Electronic copies of my books. I would happily pay a higher price to get an electronic copy of any physical book I buy. For one thing, reading in bed or sometimes in other places I won’t mention here is so much easier on an e-reader. For another thing, when I travel for work and I am in the middle of reading a physical book (especially a chunkster), I have to leave the book behind, which means that I have to start another book on my Kindle. This upsets me greatly. I am not good at serial reading. Not good at all.
9. Disinfected, clean library books. You know what I mean. Water damage. Unidentifiable stains. Skeevy-looking library patrons with head colds who look like they might take out a bag of Funyuns and a melty bar of chocolate and start eating over the pages of an open book any second. Take the money from all those ten cent late fee fines and buy some sanitizer, people. (Seriously, library, hold patrons accountable for wrecking books. MAKE THEM PAY.)
10. Time. What do you mean I can’t own time? I want it. We all want it, I know. More time to read ALL THE BOOKS.