Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hunter and gatherer

I came home with some new stuff.
New books, to be exact. I was four kilos overweight when I was going up to the Ultima Thule so i knew I have to manage somehow. I got rid of those ten kilos of gifts which gave me six for new crap, on the other hand, I got some shoes, the Tapio Wirkkala jar and some chocolates (and the plush reindeed for Dad but I got that on the airport and carried it under my arm all the time so I effectively looked like an idiot) so I had some vague idea that there will be problems. I Have a sort of a guess when my suitcase is overweight or not.
So, since the airline regulations permit one piece of hand luggage plus ladies' handbag plus reasonable amount of reading matter and who the hell knows what, I stuffed the dictionaries in the hand luggage - the Samsonite bag seemed to be designed for that book format. 8 kilos, I guess. The art stuff and Revelationes and the laptop and camera and stuff went to the ladies' handbag which in my case was the Grafikko bag by Marimekko, which can hold the laptop and eight kilos of potatoes and a heap of books. However, nobody objected. Not that I complained.
I got myself some dictionaries - after all, good dictionary makes life easier. One day I'll count how many of them I have in total. For like 8 languages. I got myself even an etymologic dictionary which was a caprice because nobody ever will make me a linguist. It's just fun to poke in the things.
Since it's some anniversary of Linné the botanist, the travel diaries of his were published as cheap paperbacks. Nice and funny reading, I got them all.
I got a book on medieval stone churches in Finland. Nice pics, Kirsi said that the guy who wrote that is a cool lecturer and... and anyway. People buy worse souvenirs. Plush reindeers and stuff.
I found some general work on Medieval art in Sweden. Lovable, with lots of bibliography and pictures and stuff. I would never guess that the Linköping cathedral is that interesting. Not that I wouldn't notice, I just lack all the pieces of knowledge which I have about the stuff around.
And, I forgot to mark one book, it's the thinner one above the Swedish Medieval art. Axel Gallén or Akselli Gallén-Kallela, my favourite kitsch. I got to know about Finnish art at school. Oddly enough. Since the general meaning at our department in the far South is that there is nothing interesting beyond the seas, the Baltic included, it was a bit odd that the modern art guy had a whole series of lectures on art of the beginning of the 20th century in faraway places like Poland or the Baltic states or Finland. Much later, actually in July this year, I needed to find his email address and there was his biography on the website so I discovered that he had spent the summer of 2003, just before he had those lectures, in Jyväskylä. It's in Finland, just in case you didn't know [waves at ignorants who are plentiful]. Anyway, check the Kalevala stuff. And enjoy or enjoy not.
I got the two later books by Mikael Niemi. (Some info here or here, whatever incomprehensible language you may please. I am evil indeed. I never claimed the opposite.) The Populärmusic från Vittula was published in Czech and since it got sold out and stolen from the libraries in no time - without any hyperpositive reviews or something, the word just spread - I acquired it in Swedish. Actually, Swedish humour is much better in Swedish than translated. And I became addicted. Svålhålet is a series of science-fiction stories and don't ask me to translate the title. (I never claimed to be good in Swedish or even bad and fluent. I care a damn that the stories say otherwise) and Mannen som dod som en lax is a cross between... but who cares about books but me.
I was wrapping the books in foil and wondered. I have a very close relationship with my books. When I was graduating from high school when I was 19, I had like 200 volumes and three friends. I still have the books, friends remained two. Meantime I acquired some 1,000 more books and around ten friends of which eight disappeared in oblivion for no specific reasons (specific reasons would be arguments or things like that. Non-specific reasons are those... you know, a relationship just dissolves, disappears, one day you find out you haven't seen the person for half a year, you have no urge to call but when you fix the meeting, you find out that there's nothing to talk about. Sometimes it's caused by changed family status, people moving far away - but that is not a rule and I have friendships which survived me living in Italy and them living in Santa Cruz, California or getting married and having two babies). Books do not talk back, books are always around to console you and as Petrarca (damn I want my Latin be half good as his) says it, the last level of death is the death of books. It's somewhere in Secretum meum, should some literature nerd be around.
Thinking of it, I should sign my books, make a catalogue and then make a nice testament where they will go. It would be much of a waste to throw them on a heap on some garage sale and apart from a few niceties, it's the only thing of value I have. And the best thing that ever happened to me, along with knowledge... and I guess that nothing better can ever happen to me anyway. It would be nice to leave Linda's funds in the National Library or somewhere.
Yeah, I'm impossible.