Saturday, January 2, 2010

FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS


I was going to post photos of my tidy studio this week but it's been a particularly daunting task and I'm not quite finished yet. Lack of space being the main problem. I seem to be rotating art supplies and books round and round the room because there's nowhere to put them once I've tidied up.


I bought Rice Freeman-Zachery's book Creative Time and Space a few months ago and I received Lynne Perrellas latest book, Art Making and Studio Space for christmas so I am feeling inspired to make space, both physical and mental, for new beginnings in 2010.


My dilemma is that I can't bring myself to clear out old books to make space for the sparkly new Christmas books. I love them all! They are like old friends and were my main source of inspiration before I succumbed to the lure of the internet.

Our book collections live in every room of the house .....



"It is instantly apparent, as soon as you enter, that this studio is all about the books, from the display cases to the bulging library shelves." - Pam Sussman in Art Making and Studio Spaces by Lynne Perrella


Another quote from Lynne Perrella's  book, Art Making and Studio Spaces ......
"Books have the most powerful and subtle connotations. They are never only objects, they have a voice with which they speak across time and across lives, a voice contingent only in part on their material nature and expressed forcefully in their text." - Philipp Blom



And then there are the notebooks ..... dozens of them!  I really find it difficult to throw them out.  They are filled with copious notes and even if they're only shopping lists, telephone numbers ..... or website links....what if I need this information one day? I also have journals (who hasn't?) and sketchbooks of ideas as well as my beloved quote books where I've been scribbling favourite quotations since the year dot.


Jackie mentioned Randi Parkhurst's extraordinary assemblage of books she discovered  here or  here, which led me to Judy Wilkenfeld's delightful little handmade books  here, as well as heartstopping images taken while making artists books with some of the treasures that Judy found at an Asian antique store. Scroll down to the 23rd December and watch a video clip about Judy's art. 

64 comments:

  1. Books are hard to part with and easy to acquire! I saw this on a blog today, I thought you might like it.
    http://alteringthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/12/marien.html

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  2. I can relate. Books and my journals have their priority at my house. And I can never finish tidying my studio, as there is not room for all my stuff. Try as I might this things cannot be parted with.

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  3. I think you should keep all your books. I'm sure they say a lot about who you are as a person and add character to your home.

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  4. I would love to peruse your collections of books - Peter Beard, 500 Handmade Books, and love your art work all around!!

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  5. It must be in the air. I have read several blogs about people getting their studio/dens ready for the new year. I must say I have done a little of this and that too. It does feel good even if you can't find the perfect place for each item. At least you know you have tried. I wouldn't be able to throw out any journals either. I keep all of those pesky notebooks too. You never know when you might need them.

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  6. oh the tiny studio dilemma, yes I am moving supplies and books too, it is quite challenging. but at least i have crammed it all under my nose and I can find what I want! love all your books, it makes each room so beautiful!

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  7. my New Year's resolution was to pick up the piles of books from the bedroom floor and find somewhere to order them.
    sigh
    bookshops are an absolute death-trap
    i came back from Sydney recently having fallen into the Art Gallery Bookstore. most of my purchases were intended [and given] as Christmas presents
    but i couldn't resist two books on the work of Imants Tillers - topping my number one study pile at present

    Happy New Year
    india

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  8. I fully understand the situation you are in as I face the same situation.

    Books to me are precious and a Kindle can never come close to the feel of a book and the joy of turning a page. Yet I have books in storage and I have not seen in years, now it is time to pass them along, keeping only those that are dear.

    Over the years I have cut back to collecting art books and not because there is the Internet, rather as one becomes older, I am sixty, it is time to start letting go, for we cannot take it with us when we leave and burdening our children is unfair.

    Wishing you all the very best for 2010
    Egmont

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  9. Books probably have souls, don't you think? :-)
    There are books in every room of my home. Except the laundry room, perhaps.
    I understand your stacks, my friend...

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  10. What wonderful stacks of delicious books! I am also a book collector... i can never get enough! I have the same Peter Beard set...his art one of my favorites.

    I am in the same cleaning mode..just finished my studio tonite..time to start a new year. Hope you enjoyed the Holidays!

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  11. Oh Robyn,
    I am enchanted by your surroundings! Lovely loveliness! Inspiration abounds...

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  12. I think that my stacks of books are what hold up my roof. I love seeing what you are reading, although I know that most of those books would be hard to get in the states.

    My husband has tried frantically to purchase Hot Afro for me since I saw it recommended on your blog. It has been ordered and will be here in one to twelve weeks. Maybe.

    Happy 2010!!

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  13. I must agree with Four Seasons....
    how much stuff do we really need? I too have books that I am gifting on, for inspiration should be shared.
    I've wondered, too.... in gathering things around us, could we perhaps be shifting the Cosmic balance, and somewhere there is someone who has less because we gather so much around ourselves???
    ~Raven

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  14. I love you house filled with books. Wishing you the very best for 2010

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  15. I am another who has been in cleaning mode, but mostly because I have guests and they need the beds that had so much stuff on them.
    Books, what a wonderful collection, wish I could afford more, but we have so many the floors are in danger of collapse and there is no where, absolutely no where to put in any more book cases so floors are the next place, I certainly cant throw out or even give away a book I have enjoyed reading, I quite often go back and re read. I want to own books, not give them back to a library!
    Hope this is a good year for you Penny

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  16. Good luck with the studio tidying. Mine could do with a good tidy up too, it looks like a tornado has passed through.

    All the very best to you and yours in 2010.

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  17. Oh my gosh! Thanks for the honour Robyn.
    Books
    Me
    Books
    me
    Not sure how it came to be
    That books became part of me
    xoxox

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  18. I am so pleased that even with the lure of the internet we all still LOVE our books! Like Penny I like to own my books...I couldnt bear to part with some of them.
    My home is filled with them, I cant get enough of them. I am also obsessive with notebooks and even scraps of paper tucked into them that I dont want to part with...my trouble is I scribble on both sides of the paper and then cant bear to glue them down as the information on both sides is 'important'.
    Thanks for sharing all of your lovely books and thoughts with us.

    Jacky xox

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  19. Yep! ...know this situation! We've just had to buy a number of new bookshelves because the old ones were beginning to collapse under the weight.

    Books are precious....and I love having them around...they transport me all over the world...and into myself too...and then they bring things out of me...magic!

    ..and a Happy New Year to you...

    x Chris

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  20. Jackie, I have since posted the link and have watched the video clip three times. Thanks so much!

    Mary, pleased to "meet" a fellow book lover.

    Jason, the book shelves are the first things I notice when visiting someone for the first time. Its surprising how many homes don't have a book in sight.

    Oogleboops, if I could visit the books in every bloggers home ....

    Lisa at Greenbow, its that time of the year isn't it? Every time I walk into the studio I tidy a few things away. Eventually its got to show, right?

    Thanks Cat, the problem is I can't find what I want when I want it!

    iNdi@, I found a great solution for the next-to-the-bed book pile. Under the bed! Bookstores have always been a trap but now I've discovered Kalahari and Amazon. You won't believe the labyrinths I get lost in!

    Egmont, aah yes the feel of the book and the joy of turning the page .... and the smell of new books! I havn't been tempted to try a Kindle yet and also keep mainly art books. Fiction is easier to pass on. I do think of my poor daughter having to wade through our books especially since less than half would interest her but I think the local Hospice would be happy to drive up with their truck and cart them all off to the Hospice Book Shop. Many of our books came from there in the first place.

    DJ, I'm sure they do! I won't mention the room that shouldn't have books in it but does. I don't know how that happened.

    Lisa, its a yearning that is never sated. Even after my christmas stash I'm back on Kalahari.net filling up my wish list. Great holidays thanks, Lisa. I'm trying to coax my brain back into work mode.

    Caroline Douglas, .... lovely loveliness .... I like that :-)

    Kim, glad you are receiving your copy of Hot Afro soon. Don't forget www.Kalahari.net for books from South Africa. They are very efficient and (touch wood) all my books have arrived on my doorstep in perfect condition. There have only been one or two bnooks I havn't been able to get through them, one of them being etcetera etc by Sibella Court. I have to have that book!!!

    Raven, you have a point and I am trying to take the middle road. A box of books is ready for a friend and another for the Hospice Gift Shop. If I havn't opened it since we moved here 8 years ago I'm moving them on.

    Thanks Pink Dogwood, I'm thinking of that quote .... a home without books is like a house without windows .... or similar.

    Thanks Penny, it feels like a good year :-)

    Azirca, I thought I would have my studio tornado under control by New Year ... ah well...

    Judy, its all about the stories... reading them, sharing them, learning from them, inventing them, re-inventing them ....love it! Your stories always inspire.

    Jacky, I'm laughing about your little scraps of paper. You should see my handbag! That is how my quote books began .... a means to save important snippets I had written on thousands of little pieces of paper.

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  21. I totally get it and feel for you! I used to have a ton of books and journals...but one day I had to move and realized I didn't need/want all that anymore. I love books but no longer have more than a few computer help books and one escher book. thats it! feels lighter and freer and yet...i still have a messy studio with no room. no excuse i guess. its great to see parts of your home and your WONDERFUL work in the background! good luck finding new space and getting back to ART!

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  22. Oh, how I agree with you! My shelves are packed so tight, books lie horizontally on top of verticals. I literally have no room for further acquisitions and any new one should replace something no longer required...but I simply cannot get rid of any. next thing, I think is stacking them on the stairs.

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  23. to read your blog this am is to be in excellant company!Book collectors!what would we do without our books they speak to us in so many ways! I just went thru donating books that I no longer need or use - nothing too great - to the local library where I borrow more books weekly! now I can find a home for some of the newer members stacked on tables!

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  24. Books, a favorite second only to art making. I love your photos of stacks and stacks. So cosy! Thanks for sharing them. I can easily imagine coming over for a cup of tea, wandering through your house with you while you point out all your favorites and while I make mental notes for my own library. The only thing better than finding a book you love, is getting a recommendation for a good read.
    My mom is going to retire on a small sailboat, so she has to get rid of all her books. Their house is full, much like yours and on my last visit I promised to keep and love 50 of their books.

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  25. Robyn, I am back for a second look..I didn't notice your new blog header last time..it's lovely!I'm so glad to see your gorgeous work showcased!

    My studio is full of built in book shelves floor to ceiling though fabric has taken over several of them. I'm always struggling with the multi purpose room/space issue too. Tidy or functional? Seems they don't hand in hand!

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  26. that is a LOT of lovely books robyn. btw i really like that bead sculpture beside the books in the last picture.

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  27. for a lover of words, to discard the words. unthinkable.

    letting go - the hardest thing of all.

    but the place of greatest joy

    is to launch,

    Sometimes I think this. I'm not so good at the acting it out part. :-)

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  28. We are so ALIKE!! our love of books-- I got a number of books for Christmas and my shelves are full too- and then just found some in a used book store--never have enough. I will never get that Kindle reader thingie. I also got Lynne Perrella's new studio book-- so inspiring. Leslie from Textures Shapes Color is coming to visit soon and bringing her new books and we will be sharing and writing down new titles and getting our wish lists in order. love your posts as usual. donna

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  29. Robyn you do the very coolest blog posts! Thank you for these beautiful visuals of one of my favorite things... books! Happy, Creative New Year to you.

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  30. "Voices that speak across time" - what a wonderful thought. So odd you talked about (and showed) notebooks, spiral bound ones. I just now found one cleaning the office and it has things written in it that I have no memory of putting down. I've no idea what they mean. Mysterious indeed. Enjoy your blog very much. Happiest of new years.

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  31. There is still something about holding an actual book in your hand and turning the pages that will always trump computers for me. Great collection of books you have here!!

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  32. You have some wonderful sounding titles! I love your piles of books, they read like pages of a diary to the rest of us. Who you were, who you are and the journey you took to get there. Atleast they're not covered in dust;)

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  33. The "500 handmade books" was my Xmas Present, what a wonderful book! I love it.

    And I too love to have books all over in the house.
    I've read so many English books in the last year and I'm so happy, because they are so cheap for me, because Euro is so strong. Lucky me! :)

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  34. A visual feast...books and books displayed. I love how you intermix your "sculpture" so well. I just took a photo of my books in studio...we are all thinking about our books...what to buy...what to read...and where to put them!

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  35. What a yummy post of books. And what a great way to display the full Ethopian crosses (rather than just the toppers)! Did you just cut a slit in a block of wood so they will stand up?

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  36. you are a lover of words, i know that without seeing a book of yours.

    is nice to see them all; i had such a hard time sorting through and letting go of so many on my move that i have only unpacked about four boxes... but right now i keep wanting to go to the old study to the old shelves and get poetry books i know were there before... maybe they are a security blanket.

    .
    Be Happy and indulge!
    Thanda...

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  37. i feel exactly the same way about my books...they're so much more than just objects and it's really quite impossible to get rid of any just because new ones come in. they're like dear friends!

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  38. a wonderful journey through your stacks Robyn! I find books the hardest *thing* to part with, too. So, to keep the collection from growing out of control I've become very reliant upon our library, over the past few years, and am grateful to have access to to a pretty good one. Happy studio organizing, and happy new year :)

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  39. A while ago I decided to gather all of my books into one room and -- finally, finally -- sort through them all and give away or sell or keep or what ever. The room wasn't big enough. Since then, no matter how much I give away or sell or "lend", the room still isn't big enough. And you know what? -- may it always be thus.

    Wishing you merry (albeit just past) and happy Robyn, merry and happy.

    fondly,
    Melanie

    wv: foloo
    why do these so often seem so perfectly evocative?

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  40. You never fail to amaze, inspire and support with your posts. I was feeling like I "should" edit my collection, but looking at yours, I see I can safely add to mine :-)
    As Seth noted, an actual book is something special; a treature.

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  41. I am a firm believer you cannot have too many books…ever! They inspire and give so much, it’s always better to stack them up and save them!

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  42. I've just come back for another read and it's great to read all the comments your post has drawn since I first read it! I've never thought about it before, but I guess it's obvious that bloggers are big on reading, and it's great to hear how the printed page is so loved by those who look at computer screens a lot.

    I would love to have more space for books. My shelves are crammed with horizontal volumes in the gaps and I'll have to give some to a charity soon. There's no more room for new shelves unless I give away the sofa or some other essentials!

    Living in a town, I'm lucky to be able to borrow 8 library books at a time, and I always have some interesting books out that I would never have read otherwise. It's a great situation to be in as it means I can potter in many fields of interest, but there is nothing that beats a re read of an old favourite and to have their whispering presence in the house.

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  43. I cannot part with a book! It's evident, here, at my house, too. There are books in every room - some how, somewhere, not always on shelves. I treasure them all; the ones I've read and the ones I haven't...........yet. Great post!

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  44. Love all your photos of books! I can't part with mine either - you never know when you might just need one of them again! Happy New Year Robyn - looking forward to following you in 2010!x

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  45. I can also relate! Parting with books is so hard....lol. I love to reread them over and over and over!: )
    Your photos are beautiful!! Happy 2010 Robyn!

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  46. mmmmm, books! can't live without them, but I'm one of those that passes them on - I have my 'can't live without them' pile, but have given most of them away to students I've had the pleasure of working with in theatre or other artist friends - several of the students have come back and told me that the books changed their lives = that's another kind of reward books have xxo

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  47. You have a library in your house! It would be fun to browse through your collection - the books look fascinating. I also love the little art pieces you have sitting near the books. Each one is a gem!

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  48. Ah books...both the joy and the bane of my existence!

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  49. Man, what a collection of book & notebooks as well. I understand about not being able to throw out notebooks and old reference books. I have so many myself. Thank you for so genrously sharing so many pictures of your life & dearest possessions. I loved loved loved the crosses! :)

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  50. I really loved seeing all your books Robyn. You are a person after my own heart although my collection is a bit smaller than yours..haha. A room without books is sterile and empty as far as I am concerned even though it may be furnished beautifully.

    Absolutely blown away by the Patience video. I kept thinking "she can't get any smaller surely" but she did.

    Wishing you a wonderful New Year Robyn and I look forward to many new creations and inspirations in 2010.

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  51. Sounds like heaven to me Robyn, a house overflowing with books! I've been trying to rationalise my shelves too but also find it very difficult to part with them - and I do find I refer back, even if it takes an age.

    Hope that 2010 is a lovely, creative, happy year for you - your best yet!!!

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  52. I think I side with the majority who say - keep them all!!! I clean and tidy and organize my home and spaces all the time, but I do not get rid of the art books in particular other boooks - sometimes. And I am also a journaler, note maker, list lover, so all things paper are treasures to me. My bins of paper scraps (and boxes, and baskets and containers) are almost as plentiful as the books. Enjoy them. Sit on them. Substitute the tables & chairs for them, but don't get rid of them!!!

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  53. We are rich indeed, in art and books! Do you remember falling in love with books? We had a "bookmobile" that came to my grade school every two weeks. I would climb on board and feast my eyes on all those treasures. I would take as many as I could carry, have them all read and be waiting when the bookmobile came back around.

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  54. i feel the same way about my books...and can spend way too much time on amazon shopping and wish-listing them! (feels like shopping, anyway! lol!) i simply cannot give them up! and the two you mentioned just getting...those are at the top of my list lately! great minds, huh... ;~)

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  55. Wonderful! What a treat for the eyes. I am a minimalist, working always to keep the decks clear. It makes me happy and relaxed, but when I see your wonders (especially the notebooks)I start to question my style. Thank you for sharing those books.

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  56. Seeing all your books, sketchbooks and art is a feast for my eyes. I feel that our books and notes, journals and sketches are so important... I know you will keep them! I want to wish you a bright, safe and energized new year, I have loved visiting you this year and your visits to my blog as well... I am sending love and well-wishes to you! roxanne

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  57. I am the same. I must have my books about me, like a nest.

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  58. This is so reminiscent of our home, more books than we'll ever get to read in a lifetime but must haves all the same. i recognize some familiar ones in your collections.

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  59. It looks to me like we have embarked on a similar journey...I am also shuffling things around in my studio in preparation for the next projects and needing surfaces to complete those I have begun. And I am realizing I can't even throw a piece of paper away, let alone parting with books or magazines...I'm drowning in my own clutter!

    By the way Robyn, I hope you have a great year filled to the brim with creativity (so that you can then feed all your blogger friends what they crave...Sorry, I know that's a little selfish, but you got us hooked!)

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  60. I so love the quote about books not simply being objects but having voices that transport us across time and space..or something to that effect...I feel the same way about the books all over our house...they are most certainly companions. What a lovely home you have, so warm and inviting.

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  61. How I would love the opportunity to browse through your books and collections! Like you I have books all over my home. In fact, I think books are the bones of the home. They're a visual representation of the people who live with them. I can't imagine that a Kindle will ever give the owner the same satisfaction that a few well thumbed volumes will provide.

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  62. Isn't Lynne Perella's book inspiring? I received my copy, from Book Depository, today. I was motivated to do a bit of organiaing today too. I never throw out Art books. Now that I have discovered Altered Art and books, I won't be throwing out any books. You have a library Robyn. What a great way to spend time, exploring pages.

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  63. My goodness! How does one get 62 comments on their blog??? You are like a blogging celebrity! Can I have your autograph?

    I love books, too. I am making an effort to use the library, rather than collect, but it is a challenge.

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  64. I'm so glad to see your work. This blog is new for me and discover it. Fabulous. I will follow its evolution.

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