Friday, 10 June 2011

Three Cheers for Shaunna Raycraft

Firstly, for having a great name.

But mostly, for this:
A Canadian woman's house is collapsing under the weight of the 350,000 books she rescued from a neighbour who was planning to burn them after her bibliophile husband died.
Thirty tonnes of books later, she realised what she had let herself in for. From How-To manuals to a 1907 first edition of Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Two Bad Mice, Shakespeare to textbooks, the collection was so large the couple had to buy a small house and install it on their land to store the books, which fill 7,500 boxes. 

I have a colleague who had to sell a third of his books because they'd caused structural damage to his house. Another friend has 15,000 musty tomes which - following the collapse of his roof, ceilings and wiring - actually provide his only shelter. He's the only academic for whom it's literally true that books have put a roof over his head.

I wouldn't want 350,000 books. OK, I would, but it would be for reasons of selfish pride. One could never read more than a fraction. Instead, I'd just enjoy sitting amongst them. I like the smell of old books, the way they look, their insulating qualities. But ownership is a petty achievement really.


Anonymous said...

Hi this IS Shaunna Raycraft!
Thanks so much for your interest in our story. As a reader and lover of books I can honestly say that although we did save the books from burning and, as a result, saved a fellow collectors life's work, it was for selfish reasons too... the smell and the history and just to be able to read them... ahhh pure enjoyment!
Join our Facebook Group... Raycraft Book Collection!
S. Raycraft

jordynoleymom said...

I sure wish I lived closer to Pike Lake, I'd be there in a heartbeat this weekend! Have fun and here's hoping for great weather for the big sort!!