Maud: The Illustrated Diary of a Victorian Woman, Maud Berkeley. This time, she lives on the Isle of Wight, these diaries are for the 1880s-90s, and she has a very pronounced sense of humor, which turns up in her pranks, her writing, and her caricatures. And yes, I am keeping this one, too. In some ways, it’s the most fun of them all.
I wonder sometimes what it would have been like to be a painter and keep one of these. This is your diary, and presumably contains secrets you don’t want your family or friends to know, so what do you do it you absolutely nail one of these drawings, and want to show it off? You can’t snap a pic on your phone. Do you invite you best friend(s) to peep at it in your room, and cover up the facing page? Or is an illustrated diary by its nature a performance of sorts? Do you filter your musings and choices for art with an outsider’s eye in mind, tending toward topics you’re willing to share?
Or, were there diaries that were illustrated but far too personal to survive — say, some teenager endless writing about and attempting to paint someone she has fallen in love? These would be less likely to make the cull, I am sure — either hers when in robust middle-age she goes back and sees her poor art and endless wittering about That Guy; or her descendents, when they go through her things and find this deeply embarrassing record of Grandmother’s youth.
So, how IS the 1000 Books thing going? I decided early on that I wasn’t going to read certain books right now because I already know I want to keep them and certainly I read them often enough: Modesty Blaise GNs, Pogo comics, Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books and Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels, etc., etc. This was more for the books I had read long ago and never returned to, and for the various books that had accumulated on my shelves without me reading them. In the course of sorting this out, I started a list of the keepers. I pulled out the why do I still have this?es and I’m stacking them downstairs for the nonce. The books I am not sure about have turned into a giant stack in my front hall.
I am still not to 500 books on the keep list. I have a lot of other books at school, but many of those are duplicates or books I won’t reread for my own reasons. However, what about some of the medieval and the fairy-tale/folklore books? These are books I want to keep, but do I want to bring them home? Do I want to cull them, or just figure, fuck it, they can look scenic there?
And what about the books I know should be here but are not? What happened to them? Do I want to buy another copy, knowing I will return to it again in the fiture if it’s available?
Next up: Barbara Johnson’s pattern book, and then I’ll start skipping around again.