book talk

Eileen was surprised that I made time to go over to Grace Church yesterday. She thought that with the influx of so many new books I would want to stay home and read. I am definitely in the mood to read. But I have been planning on going over and doing some filing. I motivated myself with the idea of checking out my old CD player sitting in a closet there.

Janice Ian writes about the need to own the music you love. The main way to do this effectively, she says, is to own CDs. Since I have had experience with Catholic missalettes and copyrights, I know that physical property doesn’t translate into legal ownership. Those little pamphlet things that Catholics sometimes use have some very interesting small print. You don’t actually own the little booklets. You are licensing them from the publisher.

Likewise digital recordings are often accessed via a sort of licensing. Ian noticed this when she found one of her favorite recordings remixed and remastered in a way she found annoying. When she attempted to find the old recording online, she failed.

Record ownership falls under this rubric for me, but I don’t remember Ian mentioning that.

Like an idiot I parted with most of my favorite records a long time ago. But I had so many that the remnant is still a significant part of my life now that I realize how valuable and important certain recordings are to me.

When it came to replacing CDs I had at least learned that technological lesson: don’t jump on a Technological bandwagon with both feet, you probably will regret it. Thus, my CD collection is on my porch gathering dust. I only have broken out CDs to listen to in my cars which I always make sure have a function player.

When Eileen and I arrived at Grace yesterday, I grabbed one of those CDs in the car. It happened to be Rattle and Hum by U2. But inside was The Joshua Tree which is also a recording I love.

I dragged out the moldering CD player and put on U2. It crackled a bit as I adjusted the volume but it did play the CD. Eileen and I listened to it as we both sorted and filed music.

My church gave me a $200 gift certificate to Readers World, the local bookstore. I now have about $40 left after ordering a bunch of books. I like shiny new books. But I also am developing a consciousness of liking old musty books.

My recent foray into Charles Ives led me logically to thinking about and reading Emerson. I have the portable Emerson.

The Portable Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson

These thick paperbacks from the past are wonderful. They are usually well edited and have thoughtful selections from the featured writer. I am still in the midst of the introduction by Carl Bode.

But when I fetched the Portable Emerson, I pulled out an interesting thin blue box sitting next to it on my shelf sporting the hand lettered title, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Reading.

The box neatly unfolded.

Inside was a worn paperback copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Reading: A Guide for Source-Hunters and Scholars To the One Thousand Volumes Which He Withdrew from Libraries.

The copyright is 1941. The publisher is Thistle Press, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Eileen being a retired library thought this was a violation of privacy. Me, being who I am, I thought it was very, very cool to see what books Emerson read.

Another book came in the mail yesterday. It qualifies for a bit of mustiness itself. I haven’t been able to find my copy of The Peloponnesian Wars by Thucydides. I decided to replace it but didn’t want a new glossy edition.

Mustiness was preferred. I manage to get a line on a Great Histories edition from 1963. This fits in nicely with my other books.

I started reading Jonah’s Gourd Vine by Zora Neal Hurston yesterday.

Jonah's Gourd Vine | Zora Neale Hurston

One of my Readers World purchases was two volumes of Hurston published by the Library of America. I like these editions even though they are new.

Library of America Zora Neale Hurston Edition Ser.: Hurston : Folklore,  Memoirs, and Other Writings - Mules and Men; Tell My Horse; Dust Tracks on  a Road; Selected Articles by Zora Neale
Library of America Zora Neale Hurston Edition Ser.: Hurston : Folklore,  Memoirs, and Other Writings - Mules and Men; Tell My Horse; Dust Tracks on  a Road; Selected Articles by Zora Neale

Jonah’s Gourd Vine is the first novel in one of them. I think Hurston is an amazing writer. Time to go read.

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