A Life History in Book Titles

Posted by on June 7, 2013.

Did you ever wonder what story your book collection tells about you?

We recently had a This is Your Life experience when our basement flooded and our 22 year old son’s stashed belongings exploded into our living space. His high school bedroom had been in our basement, so he had bookshelves of titles – plus boxes of “artifacts” and books – from every stage of his life. It’s like an archeological dig recreating a history, an intimately familiar history that I had somehow forgotten.

In one box were a few special baby sweaters, toys, and the toddler books that he begged us to read over and over and over. I never thought I would look so fondly at those!

In another box were Lego creatures, baseball cards, the Phantom Toll Booth, and 1001 Grossest Jokes in the Universe.

The middle school box held the Simpsons boxed set, a Hess truck collection, and Harry Potter books.

Then came Rolling Stone’s The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, Clive Barker’s Abarat, and a blacklight bulb.

In a box with Nordic skiing trophies and yearbooks, there were Dwell magazines (a gift from my sister), a book called Art Now, serious titles like The Great Gatsby, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and, of course, Kerouac and Ginsberg.

I had become so used to the guy my son is now that I had forgotten the boy he used to be. Turns out, I miss that boy! The books he kept tell his story and remind me of all the stages of his life and how much fun we had.

Just like fingerprints or handwriting, I am sure that every person’s book collection, or lack thereof, tells a unique story about him.

What story do your books tell about you?

 

One Response to “A Life History in Book Titles”

  1. Naomi Garnice

    Karen,

    I love this article. Such a cool idea that the stories that we read and remember tell stories about ourselves.

    Sorry to hear about your basement. Thank you for sharing!!

    Naomi

    Reply

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