Sunday, May 26, 2013

Another from the North Shore

How proudly I titled my other North Shore post with "Where I did not go to any libraries." Ha! Here I am in this lovely house made by Frank Lloyd Wright's draftsman (the story in my head is that he made it to retire to or something, but I'm starting to think that is a figment of my imagination). A fire is burning and the sound of it mixes with the waves of Lake Superior breaking on the stone shore in the deep dusk. I wander one more time around the house. Art books here, El Greco, a bunch of unpromising looking ones on drawing (Frank Lloyd Wright's draftsman owned Idiots Guide To Drawing?). I go visit that complete set of Anthony Trollope to make a rough guess as to number of pages (14,000). I'm seeing other Trollope books around too, biographies and an autobiography duplicate so I figure that the owner must really have been a fan. One bedroom downstairs has a big and very miscellaneous collection. Harry Potter is there in a complete set along with an attendant group of turn of the century pop (Nora Roberts, Clive Cussler etc.). The upstairs bedroom has what looks to be maybe a small standard Young Adult collection circa 1923. I've never heard of a single one of these books, tried to read one, and quickly stalled out. In the hall is a small Shakespeare set, a 150 year old (or more) Bible, an encyclopedia set from the 40s or 50s (bought for $35 as a used bookstore chain). Out here by the fire there are more sets, this of great short stories or The Classics (I'm too comfortable to get up and find out which, but both are around here somewhere). There are several stacks of Frank Lloyd Wright books, picture books, biographies, studies, none too scholarly and none too new, but all appropriate because the house is about as close as it gets to a Frank Lloyd Wright house without being one. Also on these shelves are a couple of smaller varied classics mixed with older books I have no clue on. This is where there's a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that looks like it could be a first edition. But I know just enough about book collecting and editions to know that that's super unlikely, likewise with a Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm. I read some of Kipling's American Notes standing here and it was entertaining for five or ten minutes (he came here because he was mad about the Americans' chronic copyright violations!). And there's really so much more I could catalog here, but really, what I'm trying to say with all this is that in addition to all the beautiful house, incredible lake and I'm-on-vacation stuff, I am also in a library. Not a public library, but a library all the same. A lot of times when I see books in someones house it's mostly just books that have collected instead of been collected, and there's some of that here, and there's misguided choices and stuff that just had to be for show, but neat stuff as well, and relevant and useful. And it's nice to see, too, even if it means it's also one more busman's holiday for me.

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