My father’s library: A very personal reflection

It is the Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. We planned to gather, as a family, at my parents’ house to begin the process of determining what will be kept, sold, and thrown out; and to assess the repairs required before the house can be put on the market next year. However, an early taste of winter has caused us to cancel our plans due to road conditions (they lived two hours northwest of the city where my brothers and I all live). With a mixture of relief and an unresolved need to begin the process of closure, I am re-posting an updated version of what was, at the time of its original writing, a premature tribute to my father. The sentiment, now relevant, remains. His library is one of my major concerns.

roughghosts

Originally published in December, 2015, I have updated this essay with an addendum.

I was standing in my father’s library last night, looking for a book I could not find, but as I scanned the titles I began to read the shelves as life lines, like the lines that always creased his forehead and fanned out from the corners of his eyes as he squinted through the windshield or glanced up into the rearview mirror of the car. For as long as I can remember, my father never drove without a grimace. The shelf lines are deep and distinct. His love of classic literature represented in tattered hardcover volumes with faded lettering on the spines. His life long obsession with Russia marked with rows of history books, discourses on Stalin and Marxism taking up more space than I’d remembered. And the Soviet literature, of course. Then his more recent forays…

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Author: roughghosts

Literary blog of Joseph Schreiber. Writer. Reader. Editor. Photographer.

5 thoughts on “My father’s library: A very personal reflection”

  1. I imagine someone’s library to be the hardest thing to deal with after they’ve gone. Fortunately, as my father lost the ability to read after his strokes, my mother had already disposed of his books by the time he finally left us. Good luck when you finally have to deal with this – it will be difficult, I’m sure. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m afraid that sentimentality will force me to keep more than I can or should. My mother still had secondhand paperbacks that we both read when I was a teenager (espionage and historical novels) and my father had classic English literature that introduced me to so much at the same formative time. But much will go to the charity sales in the spring. I just have to get it home from their place (2 hours away). There’s a car full just with books!

      Like

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