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09 Dec 2021

Gerry Moran: It's true - you can never have too many books!

Gerry Moran Kilkenny

You can never have too many books! PICTURE: Pexels/Pixabay

There’s a framed postcard perched on a bookshelf in ‘my study’ which reads You Can Never Have Too Many Books.
My wife might not agree. Not that she has anything against books - far from it. My wife is a great reader. Reads 10 books to my one. She always has her ‘head in a book’ apart from when she’s washing, ironing, sewing, darning and cooking (and be careful now, Gerry, if you want your dinner tonight).


Anyway, the reason she might not agree with the above statement is that the many, many books lining the wall of ‘my study’ have a habit of ‘migrating’ for want of a better word. For reasons unknown, some of those books have been known to stack up on the coffee table in the study (to straighten out a creased document or a photograph perhaps). They manage to ‘litter’ the computer table, pile up on the floor (have no idea why, but they do!) they even stack up on the ironing board! That’s right, the ironing board. There’s an ironing board in ‘my study’ because it’s not ‘my study’ anymore. It is now my wife’s study, her ‘woman cave’ if you wish. It’s where she does the ironing, watches Netflix, writes and conducts her Zoom calls. In short, I have been evicted. And understandably so as my visitations there have become less frequent.


A rather long-winded introduction to this week’s ruminations about books (It is Book Week after all) let me start with a book entitled Books That Changed the World, the 50 Most Influential Books in Human History.
In the introduction the author, Andrew Taylor, writes: ‘writers can be bullied, imprisoned or executed, their work censored, and their books burned but over the long sweep of history it is books and the ideas expressed within them that have transformed the world’.


Here are some of those 50 Most Influential Books: Homer’s The Iliad. The Analects, Confucius. The Republic, Plato. The Bible. The Kama Sutra. On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin. On Liberty, John Stuart Mill. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy. The Telephone Directory, 1878, New Haven District Telephone Company. The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud. Relativity, Albert Einstein. Ulysses, James Joyce. If This is a Man, Primo Levi. The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir, The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger. Quotations from Chairman Mao, Mao Zedong.


From a book entitled Bizarre Books, here’s a selection of weird and wonderful, and real, book titles: Ice Cream for Small Plants. Fish Who Answer the Telephone. Who’s Who in Barbed Wire. How to Write While You Sleep. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. Busted Tractors and Rusty Knuckles. The Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun. Snoring as a Fine Art. God’s Gym: Divine Male Bodies in the Bible. 50 New Creative Poodle Grooming Styles. The Muck Manual: a Practical Treatise on the Nature and Values of Manure.


Kilkenny’s Favourite
The Book Centre in High Street has a shelf full of books, over which is written: Favourite Books of All Time, as voted by our customers.
Here are some of them: Lord of the Rings. Animal Farm. To Kill a Mockingbird. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Catch 22. Midnight’s Children. The Grapes of Wrath. Wuthering Heights. Catcher in the Rye. The Book Thief. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The Diary of Anne Frank. A Clockwork Orange.


Across the aisle is another shelf of books, What Kilkenny is Reading, and I’m delighted to see one of my favourite books there - The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.
Beautifully illustrated, it is simple and full of wisdom and has been in the Bestsellers’ list for the past two years.
As the author, Charlie Mackesy, writes: ‘This book is for everyone, whether you are 80 or eight. Scribble on it, crease the corners and leave it well thumbed’. I absolutely love it.


Here’s a flavour of what’s inside: “What’s the bravest thing you ever said?” the boy asked the horse. “Help,” said the horse. “What’s your best discovery?” asked the mole. “That I’m enough as I am,” said the boy.


Finally, under Local Interest you will see two books from two very worthwhile groups: Poems from a Kilkenny Laneway, produced by The Involvement Centre, Colliers Lane and Much More than Words, A Miscellany of Poetry and Prose (which was launched over the weekend in the Butler Gallery) produced by The Recovery College and The Involvement Centre, Kilkenny.
Oh, a certain Gerry Moran features in both. Check ‘em out.

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