September 5th, 2014

Bob's bird in flight

Collecting vs. Hoarding

I am entranced with these words by Alex Ross in his article "The Classical Cloud" in the New Yorker.

"The tide has turned against the collector of recordings, not to mention the collector of books: what was once known as building a library is now considered hoarding. One is expected to banish all clutter and consume culture in a gleaming, empty room."

I am reminded of the rooms in the movie 2001.  All was sleek and clean.  I wondered about it then, though I understood weight limits in space, but many homes, and mine in particular, are anchored by walls of books.  I feel guilty sometimes about so many books but not that many can be downloaded to a Kindle or borrowed, and I am comfortable with being surrounded by what were trees, now inscribed with words that speak.  I like their touch.

When I cultivate a pause, I look around and my hands and eyes go to just the right book for the moment.  I find books visually enchanting and internally fulfiling, but lately I have been struck by this word "hoarder" that is bandied about.  As I understand it, it means objects that are packed away, tucked, hidden.  Well, except for those books that are on the shelves two-deep, I believe most of my books are in full view, so I will consider myself a builder of libraries, which sounds glorious, and not let the word hoarding toss a pall.