Books and Tomatoes

Books and Tomatoes.

The two nouns in the title may not usually associate, but to me this season they represent success. I’ll explain.

Last Christmas I was given a plant incubator, a device where you can plant seed pods and stand back. I have lived a peripatetic life (so far). In my earlier youth I lived in 33 places in London for example – I only counted those where I stayed more than a month – and lots of briefer stops when on the road. I’ve always hankered for a plot of land in which to grow my own organic vegetables and an equal hankering has been for stable bookshelves that stay in one place.

At the time of writing I have access to both these goods. The combination makes me happy.

The tomato plant is the gift that keeps on giving. See picture below with all kinds of small green globes ready to ripen, and this after two months of bumper crops already. I pruned this plant before it began to bear fruit. That was according to the best advice available online so as to bring light and air to all parts.

A move had to be made with the books. By which I mean I did something I have never done before which is … I culled the books. At first I took only those with broken spines,  or with titles and pages so faded to be illegible, or with the old-library-mildew-scent that comes from having spent too much time in a cardboard box in some storage facility. But later I was more decisively surgical. 

At first it was a wrench. And I thought I would feel as if I had undergone surgery myself, nipping and tucking internal organs. But no. See below, now arranged alphabetically by author.

The sensation of a purged collection is more akin to having had a long overdue haircut.

And I do admit to being a kindle convert. So there’s that. To condense cubic feet of physical books into, as one friend calls it, “an expensive little glass slab”, well … at first the concept appalled me; that singular experience of a book with tangible pages, possibly paired with a cup of tea, a glass of something, or just its own silence transmitting knowledge or entertainment, was this to be lost? But you’ve got to hand it to the geniuses who gave us these tablets. To have at hand the complete works of: you name it: the scriptures of all faiths; P G Wodehouse, the antidote to depression; and Franz Kafka, the antidote to optimism. And all convenient in a glass slab, handily accessible on any journey in plane, train, or if you happen to be traveling by auto, there’s the audible version.

I mean where else would you get that? Not in previous centuries.