I am blessed to be always surrounded by books. I inherited my mother’s edited literary research collection and my father’s exhaustive library. Both were added to my own.
My mother let most of her things go when she moved into a ‘senior living’ apartment, keeping only one bookcase full of ‘must have’ tomes. My father continued to add books of every subject that took his fancy right up until the last weeks of his life.
My dad’s library was so wide and deep, two entire reference collections were created in his name: one at California’s Cowboy Museum in Oakdale and the other pending the opening of a re-envisioned maritime discovery center being developed in Newport Beach. Those were just the California history and maps, cowboy, brand catalogs, agricultural and rural skills manuals and respectively, the ship modeling and building, sea stories, and maritime books. All hard cover, some first edition, all read and reread by my dad over his eighty plus years.
Those donations removed, that leaves the 63 U-Haul® book boxes of collected reading I moved to my digs up north. I continue to read, refer to, lend, give away, donate and buy books. I believe books are the backbone of every home and their content, the marrow of our lives. So I have books. I love books; they represent permanence, authority, inspiration.
When and where appropriate to my doings and thoughts, I’m sharing titles with you. Consider my Book Shelf recommended reading. Many I refer to or draw from often. Some are eye-opening, cathartic, or jam-packed with usable information, others just well-written. So get ready to hit your local lending library, bookshop or eBook site.
The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, Charlie Wing. Taunton Press. I believe my builder should not have to spend his valuable time explaining what’s going on in my LHBB. Studying this book provides me the background to understand the generalities and specifics (as well as the lexicon) of each stage of the homebuilding process.
Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use and Avoid, Marianne Cusato, et al. Sterling, New York. 2007. This book is required reading for home design and builds, but even more for architectural enthusiasts. Great subject, writing and graphics make it a total winner, worthy of your bookshelf space. Carry it in the car when you are looking at houses and commercial builds – you will die laughing … or cringing.
The Power of Limits: Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art & Architecture, György Doczi. Shambhala Pub., Boston. 1981. THE most influential and comforting book I’ve encountered in years. Influential because it invites your understanding of the paradygms and patterns at play IN EVERYTHING!! Comforting because I’ve long noticed that basic patterns repeat in everything from our concept of the universe to cellular development. This book beautifully explains and illustrates the dynamics at play, and validates, expanding, my personal observations.
National Audubon Society’s The Sibley Guide to Birds, David Allen Sibley. Knopf. 2000. I will never tire of opening Sibley’s guide. At this time of year (early Spring), I’m refreshing my recognition of birds who may be passing through so I can keep an eye out. I also need to remind myself who builds what nests where so I can preserve some spaces for our regulars. Whether flipping through the pages, locating information, or studying a specific species, this book beautifully helps me enjoy my yard, area, birds and life more. We keep a pair of binoculars poised atop our Sibley set.
Timber Press Guide to Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, Carol W. Hall and Norman E. Hall. Timber Press. 2008. The Absolute Must Have for gardening in my region. Lovingly written, this indispensable guide adds sense and humor to its guidance.
The Garden Primer, Barbara Damrosch. Workman Publishing Company. 2003. My Go-To Gardening book since its original release. Damrosch assumes you know nothing and teaches it all. This is still my favorite Gift book for new gardeners.
The Diaries of Adam and Eve, Mark Twain. Dover Publications. 2012. My friend Lenny quotes from this regularly. The original Men are From Mars…
The Spirituality of Wine, Gisela H. Kreglinger. Eerdmans. 2016. Scholarly but accessibly written for wine lovers & spirituality seekers – will deepen your appreciation for both. Author Gisela is on Canadian & U.S. tour this summer at independent bookstores, wineries & theology centers. Go!