For the brief unpleasant time I lived in California, although nobody else there was a native, and many had degrees from prestigious East Coast schools, I never visited a home where I saw a bookcase with more than three shelves.
And if there were one, at least two of the shelves held knick-knacks, drug paraphernalia as art, stereo componants, or CDs.
But every house around me here on The SouthCoast has a library. There are even libraries on-line. I got that Lifetime Membership at LibraryThing. You can see random books from the few I've input over there to the right. (Funny how I can share books with Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath without even the slightest urge to finish writing a book or to kill myself. Isn't it?)
So, here in The SouthCoast, I'm always happy when one of my friends decides to do something with a favorite book. Usually it's someone who says "I'm working on a stage adaptation of Perfect Storm we can do at the Working Waterfront Festival."
or "Wouldn't it be great to make a movie about H.P. Lovecraft and Henry David Thoreau having coffee at a diner with some girls from Fall River?" or ...
"The commonwealth of Massachusetts deserves a whale of a book as its official epic, and Moby-Dick is that book.
This Friday, people are invited to the Whaling Museum from 9-2 for a public hearing on legislation to make Moby-Dick our official state book.
Moby-Dick is already the 'unofficial' New Bedford book. Even though Melville wrote his masterpiece in Pittsfield, Moby-Dick tastes of codfish, clam chowder and salt spray."
Laurie. Laurie. Doctor Roberston-Lorant.
You know that I love to take part in the Frederick Douglass ReadAThon and support all the stuff you and Ben and Tem do with those hip-hop kids. (Except for the X-Men names. It's a heritage pride thing. Oh, and it's New Bedford. Not "New Be." Or "Secret City." New Bedford.)
And I really need you to never again let the words "whale of a book" come within 20,000 leagues of "Moby-Dick."
And EVERYBODY knows that the only OFFICIAL Massachusetts State Book can only be The Ultimate Red Sox Companion.
I have bought at least five copies of Moby-Dick. The Classics Illustrated version with the weird picture of Gregory Peck on the cover. The paperback that I read from time to time. The weird generic brown-covered book I got at the Moby-Dick Marathon and left there. Whatever "abridged" thing I had as a child, which I gave to a college roommate. And a kewl pop-up book I leave out on the coffee table to occupy visitors.
My Beloved and I share a painting done by George Klauba (part of his "Avis Transformata" series) entitled He declared that a whale must be near, inspired by that damn book.
It's all over the place around here, anyway. Streets are named after the book's locations. Places in the book are just over there. Dogs are named after characters. Children are named after chapters. Food is named after footnotes.
Do we have to indulge it, encourage it more?