My Favourite Window

May 1, 2012

The Library Under the Bed

(And other books)


I found this a couple of days ago - not under my parents' bed, but in a box of their books.  I'd never seen a copy of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung before,



although I knew that my mother particularly, had certain leanings.



I was surrounded by books as a child and feel like some of them I have absorbed through my skin.



Unlike Chairman Mao's Red Book,


I knew about my father's Antarctic book collection, though it was stored in some private child-proof place.  I only discovered today that J.M.Barrie wrote the introduction for Scott's Last Expedition.


Stored with those Polar adventures was this handful of books.
They sit by my bedside now embracing the development of the Renaissance man from Bacon to Darwin.


But these are the reminders of home comforts, books that were always within reach on the family bookshelves.

May Day, appropriately is also the birthday of NZ artist, printer and Morris dancer, Leo Bensemann. There is a fine example of his bookcraft at

13 comments:

Geo. said...

I too grew up in a house crammed with books and have returned thousands of them to circulation --as my parents would have wished. Are you certain you're not a sibling I hadn't found among them before I left home?

Jeneane said...

Geo, I think that it's time to release some of these books too. But I do want to read so many of them before I let them go! reading your blog I know we have a sibling mentality :-)

the cuby poet said...

What an interesting find. I too grew up surrounded by books and a love of the library was instilled in me from a very early age which I hope I have passed on to my children, now young adults. Maybe find a bookswop shelf somewhere for their release back into the world just gradually one or to at a time.

Jeneane said...

Maybe I could take some to the Book Fridge Gap Filler in the City. Quite a few are finding their way onto my own bookshelves!

The Sagittarian said...

Loved that comment "absorbed them through your skin"...I have always been surrounded by books too and my Dad was a great story teller (he even made up his own to tell us when we had long drives from Seddon to visit my grandparents in Christchurch!) Our girls also love books - which is a blessing and yet was a curse when we had to pack 'em all up!! Am looking forward to seeing them on the shelves again in our own home one day!

Owen said...

My mother was a librarian, my father a professor, our house was crammed with bookshelves, I think one can't help but love books if one has grown up with them all around from the beginning of one's days...

What a lovely find, you must be having a fine time going through these, and many Fall and Winter evenings of reading pleasure ahead.

Although I have an iPad, and have already downloaded a large number of free e-books on it, I know I'll always love old paper and a good binding more...

Jeneane said...

Hi Saj and Owen, it looks like our parents' influence was a key factor in becoming book lovers. But the primal art of story-telling has its place too doesn't it. Like you with your story-telling father Saj, I was entranced by my parents' tales of adventure in the hot and cold places of the World. I shall probably be seduced by an iPad or a Kindle eventually Owen - it's just that I have a lifetime of printed and bound paper to hand without leaving the Secret Garden!

About Last Weekend said...

Oh how wonderful to find this out about her through those beautiful old books...

Jeneane said...

More a confirmation of what I already knew, but seeing now with an adult's understanding, the why and wherefore of both parents' books. They are lovely books aren't they.

John Gray said...

I can almost "smell" those volumes
chris hs just got a kindle
give me a row of old books anyday

Jeneane said...

Am I surprised that you are another real book fiend? They have a very distinctive smell for sure :-)

Claire said...

What a treasure trove - how thrilling! what a lot we understand of someone from the literature they keep xx

Jeneane said...

Indeed, but how it also finds new meaning. Your 'Penelope Letters' were specifically in my mind as I gathered the two Odysseys into my frame.