Book Heaven

Where the world of books and life intersect

Location: South Amboy, New Jersey

I am deeply involved in trying to solve the discrepancy between being interested in zen and trying to acquire all the things I've been accumulating

Monday, July 18, 2005

10,000 Books!!!

No, I'm not just trying to get your attention. There's a great article in the real estate section of the Sunday New York Times (7/17/05). In a regular section called "The Hunt," this entry entitled "When It's Time To Turn the Page," is about a couple (he's 71, she's 62) who decided to close the Connecticut chapter of their life and begin the Manhattan one. Problem? Find a reasonably priced apartment that would house them and his 10,000 books. Well, it turns out he really had 15,000 of them but he somehow managed to sell or give away a third of them. Consider me impressed. A retired classics professor, Thomas Cole is currently writing a literary study of Ovid, so one might argue he still needs those books. At the end of the article, Mr. Cole answers the question all of us book accumulators are constantly asked -- whether we have read all those books. I have now added his wonderful answer to my other great answer to this question. I will now alternate between the two answers, both of which will give your questioner pause. If you want to know his answer you'll just have to check it out online at the New York Times website (which of course you should already be doing anyway). I'm not trying to hold out on you but his response won't be nearly as valuable if everybody is using it.


Blogger Bill said...

That's a good response. I also like, "Yes. I finished the last one yesterday, but more will be arriving in the afternoon's mail."

8:34 AM  
Blogger Cap'n Bob Napier said...

The classic answer came from Forry Ackerman. When asked if he read all the books in his huge collection he said, "Every last word." Every time he got a book he would read the last word before shelving it.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Oh, by the way, Andy, I'm not going to log on to the NYTs site. Just give us the answer, please.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Andy J said...

My cousin married a guy (now sadly no longer with us) who was the ultimate Southern gentleman and was the author of Cannon's Rules of Order (or something like that) which is of course overshadowed by Robert's Rules of Order. Anyway, he was the parliamentarian for the Democratic National Party and the NEA and thought nothing of "officiating" meetings with tens of thousands of attendees. I mention this only because he's probably the only guy who could have sold this answer. When asked if he'd read all the books, he'd look at you with a little smile but deadly serious and say, "Why I've even read some of them twice." Anyway, I always liked that answer though I knew I could never use it myself.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Andy J said...

I just realized (said the absentminded man) that I forgot to disclose the response from the New York Times article. When asked if he had read all his books, the guy said, "Of course not. But I think I have at one time or another consulted them. A number of them, I am still waiting to consult."
Pretty good, huh?

5:51 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Meyerson said...

My friend Bob Adey (whose collection is probably in the 30,000 range, has an answer something like Bill's:

"I'm just finishing the last one."

8:39 AM  

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