I love reading almost as much as I love collecting but sometimes I find a book that blends the two together nicely. I just finished an interesting bit of reading entitled " The Millionaire and the Bard" Henry Folgr's obsessive hunt for Shakespeare's first folio. Andrea Mays authors the fascinating look inside the passion that was Mr Folger and his assemblage over the years of more than 70 Shakespeare First folios. She starts with his humble beginnings and his rise through Standard Oil and finally his dream fulfilled as the Folger Library is dedicated in Washington DC.
So what drew me to this book? Well Mr Folger was obsessed, he tooled his whole life around assembling the works of Shakespeare. He lived modestly in order to devote substantial resources to his collecting. I read it as both a cautionary tale, as well as a look at what's possible when you are determined and singularly focused. Worth a try, and As Mrs Mays first book, I hope not the last.
I have also just finished another book entitled JUNK Digging through America's love affair with stuff, Alison Stewart an accomplished journalist you might recognize from NPR weaves an interesting look at how we as Americans like to accumulate things. She explores the rise of the self storage industry, extreme hoarding, and profiles a relatively new industry: the junk removal specialists.
Too much cheap stuff, clutter, meaningless crap we ( well I ) anyhow am certainly guilty of accumulating too much. But I like this book because one of the messages that comes through is that we are wasteful, we upgrade too quickly, we change wardrobes too fast, we tire of living room furniture then rush out to Rooms to Go and purchase new, then we start the cycle again. Worth a look, for me I have always been fascinated by one aspect of the antiques business that comes into the cross hairs of how we generally live today. That is 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago things were built with longevity in mind. Even basic goods were built with quality. Think about it. I can collect a student globe from 1891 in large part because it was built with quality in mind, even a basic consumer good was thoughtfully assembled to last. There is nothing inside Target, Walmart, or Kohls that you can look at today and honestly say, wow that is built to last. That's because none of it is. That's sad really......