A NOTE TO MY READERS: The following post was written early in the week and scheduled to publish on Saturday. It was written before I knew it would be necessary to euthanize my beloved dog, Butch, which happened on Thursday. In light of that event, the tone of this Sepia Saturday post now seems flippant, inappropriate, or, at the very least, insensitive. Let me assure you that I am not feeling flippant at the moment. Nevertheless, I have decided to let this post publish as scheduled. I was satisfied with it before the loss of Butch, I don't feel like writing something else to replace it, and, as it was written in response to a theme-based challenge, saving it for later won't work. I hope you understand.
As luck would have it, the first two themes of Sepia Saturday after I discovered it were dogs (last week) and books (this week). Dogs and books, two things I love so much that both are mentioned in the "About Me" item in the sidebar of this blog. In fact, I probably have more posts about dogs and books than about any other topics.
This week, however, it didn't take long to determine that none of the oldest photos in my files featured books. The first photo I could find of a person reading anything was a 1949 one of my grandfather, lying on the very couch (with the very doilies) pictured below. Technically, though, Packy was reading a magazine, not a book, while the publication I was reading in the following photo from 1950 was at least called a book--a comic book. I've posted this photo before, along with the one of my grandfather, when I wrote about my earliest reading adventures here.
I do have a number of more recent photos of books, and one thing I noticed is that light, especially light streaming through a window, figures in many of those images. I like thinking about the metaphorical relationship between light and books: the way books shed light on so many different subjects, the way a good book lights a fire inside the reader, and, well, you get where I'm going with that. If you're only half as corny as I am, I'm sure you can come up with other examples. (And if you're thinking about the Itty Bitty Book Light®, don't even go there).
The next photo looks sort of like sepia but isn't really. These are the colors I got by thinking there was enough natural light in my bedroom that I wouldn't need to use the flash. I was wrong, but I like the image anyway in its shades of beige and brown.
Disappointed at not seeing books in any of my genuine sepia photos, I made the following modern photo of books look sepia by tinting it in Photoshop Elements:
Now, before you say, "Why, that isn't fair," let me explain my reasoning: The world is full of fakery, and most of the time it doesn't bother us at all. The wood finish on some of my furniture is fake, a partial denture fills out the corners of my smile, and every sugary-tasting treat that's touched my tongue in the past year has been made with artificial sweetener. Watch any of this season's award shows, with their streams of starlets on the red carpet, and you'll see plenty of fakery pointing right at you. So what's the big deal about a little false sepia?
Never mind. I get your point. But to add a historical perspective to this post, please know that I got that kind of crooked thinking from my father. Please know, also, that I inherited enough honest genes from other ancestors that I can't perpetuate such a fraud without admitting it. (Although it occurs to me that there was a time when I faked something and didn't confess it, but that was only because I really wanted to go to sleep and I did not want to bruise a certain male ego.)
The next photo is a full-color version of the same corner of my den that's pictured above. Books, in addition to lighting up my life (watch: here comes yet another cliché, right on the heels of that one), add color to my world. I go places, see things, meet people, and have adventures that would never happen any other way than through the pages of books. What a gift they are.
I keep a few special books in the living room in my grandmother's old secretary hutch, pictured below. In there, among other things, are a handwritten volume of my older daughter's poetry, a published volume of poetry that includes one of hers, and a copy of a book she wrote when she lived in New York and writing was her day job.
The boxes of books shown in the collection of thumbnails below are about half of the ones I gave away last summer. I took photos of them with the intention of creating some kind of book database so I wouldn't accidentally order the same titles again, which has happened before on half a dozen occasions. Applying a different definition of "light" keeps the metaphor alive, in that winnowing out enough books to have shelf space for the remaining ones "lightened" my load and left some uncluttered breathing room in my home. And affirmed in my own mind that I really am not hastening down the path to the city of Hoarderville.
So, those are my meager book photo offerings. In thinking about all those books, in realizing that Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and in recognition of the fact that Saturdays here have been traditionally about music, I'll wrap up this post with a video of a song that fits our theme perfectly: Peter Gabriel's version of "The Book of Love." The song is beautiful, but if you don't feel like listening to music, turn off the sound and watch the video anyway. You'll love the photos in it!
Thanks to sakuramlyu777 for posting this video on YouTube.
If you'd like to see what other folks have posted about books, click the image below and check out the list of participants in this week's Sepia Saturday challenge: