So many words I've used, all to say that we need our comforts, no
matter how silly or misleading they are. The fact that one's lack of
self-confidence is so easily spotted by the show of "impressive"
objects, just means they could use a little kindness and a
good dose of reality without condemnation.
Diane, this is not directed at you, but what you posted here sparked my thoughts and helped me come to some cohesive thought about what was bothering me about several assumptions voiced by other people in this thread. So please don't take my questions personally as if they're directed at you - they're not.
They're directed to the community.
Because I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around:
a) how having a lot of books necessarily equates with unneccessarily big houses and conspicuous consumption, which is a pet peeve of mine too.
Because in truth, I have to say it's been my experience that the 3,000 square foot houses or 'mcmansions' that house a family of four that I've been in are not usually crammed with books.
As a rule, I'd say they're almost empty - just vast expanses of hardwood floors, cold ceramic tile and gleaming granite and metal surfaces in the kitchen. You could almost assume you were looking at a model home - it's as if the type of people who want to live with that much space between them don't want to do anything or have anything to clutter the space and make it look lived in- although they might have an artificial ficus or two standing sentry next to the french doors that lead from their kitchen out onto the gargantuan deck that leads out onto their gargantuan yard.
Maybe it's just my own 'prejudice' but it seems to me that people who care about 'show' don't usually care about books. And their walls and carpets are usually neutral.
On the other hand, the houses I've been in where it's obvious books and reading are a priority are most often slightly cramped for space because books line every wall and every surface. I just visited a house like that last weekend. It was amazing. I mean every wall of every room was lined with books. I asked this guy about Dover Castle and he went to the shelf and found a book for me to look at that told me all about it. I asked him about where Thomas a Becket was martyred and he went unerringly to the right spot on the right shelf without a moment's hesitation and pulled a book down about it for me to look at.
b) Why do people automatically assume an obvious love of or interest in something has to be a pretension that indicates low self-esteem?
That would be my last thought. If I saw a house with a lot of books, I'd think those people like to read. If I saw a house with a lot of cars, I'd think those people like cars. If I saw a house with a swimming pool, I'd think those people like to swim.
I hope people don't see my shelves filled with cd's and think, 'Oh she doesn't really like music - she just wants everyone to THINK she likes music.
What the hell?
I think anyone who automatically thinks that sort of **** is the insecure one.
And those are the people I think might need a dose of kindness because kindness is never bad.
But oh lord, if people are walking around and looking at the signs of what a person is interested in and love and thinking 'utter pretension and ostentation' and almost especially about something like BOOKS in a house - goodness me- I don't know what to think.