And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

søndag 28. februar 2016

City of Books, part IV - A Temporary Library

 In my life as a student I have not been as nomadic as many of those who have followed the same path as I have. In the past eight years I have only lived in four different places during my studies, two of them have been long-term residences, others have been temporary arrangements lasting only two-three months. Currently I'm residing temporarily in a small room in a student house in York, where I'm spending about two months for the purpose of getting out of my home university to focus on some pressing tasks. I selected York as my destination because the centre where I work, the Centre for Medieval Literature, is a joint venture between the University of Southern Denmark and University of York.

I've now been here for about one and a half months, and I'm nearing the end of my time here. However, the brevity of my stay has not kept me from accumulating a library in my room. I find that this is a recurring pattern for me: Wherever I stay for a longer or shorter period of time, I always end up accumulating a library.

To me this is an inevitable development since I'm a massive bibliophile, and since I don't feel quite at home anywhere without books. In this particular case, the accumulation of the library is also helped by the fact that there are many bookshops in York, and I usually tend to drop by and leave them in turn with less money than when I came in but infinitely richer. Another factor in the current mass-accumulation is that I've taken the opportunity to buy a lot of books - especially academic books - online. As a result, my temporary library in this city of books is bigger than I first had imagined.

My current temporary library

Most of these are booty from recent bookshop explorations

Due to number of books I manage to buy in a relatively short period of time, it goes without saying that I don't manage to read the books I buy before I leave a place. But this year, however, I've happily found that I have managed to combine work and spare time in such a way that I've read at least some of the fiction I've acquired, as seen below.

One of the great surprises this time around in York was the discovery of a fairly new bookshop, The Grimoire on High Petergate, which was a welcome sight after having lost a couple of the bookshop I used to visit before. This bookshop has a lovely selection of fiction, and it was here I found a copy of Brian Jacques' novel High Rhulain, a book in the Redwall series. I was first introduced to this series five years ago when I studied in York as part of my MA, but it was not until now I got around to begin reading it. It stands as one of my best reading experiences I have ever had, and it was suitable that I should read it here in this very city. The books in this blogpost have mostly been acquired at Minstergate Books and The Grimoire.

we close our eyes to Anselm and lie calm
- Geoffrey Hill, An Apology for the Revival of Christian Architecture in England, part 10, Fidelities

The above selection is exactly that, just a selection of my temporary library, but it gives a good representations of some of the books that occupy my mind these day. I find that some books I start reading right away, and some books I need around me for some time, tempting me, before I give in and start devouring them. This is one reason why I see it as a necessity to be surrounded by more books than I manage to read, even when I know my stay will only be a short one, and my time for reading non-academic material is severely limited. Yet as a bibliophile, it is sometimes less about the reading as the inspiration to read that can be drawn from a temporal library, and this is perhaps the case this time around.

For previous blogposts in this series, see:

City of Books, part I

City of Books, part II

City of Books, part III

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