I made it to the lighthouse on a recent family beach visit, decades after I wrote the best chapter of my college honors thesis on Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse.
Hello, Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall was more in keeping with the reading list for the trip as my young grandchildren were aboard.
I’ve spent time in this family beach house every year for most of my life and read untold numbers of books there, most of which had almost microscopic red bugs that I have seen nowhere else meandering on the pages. Then there was the occasional silverfish that darted out and the dampness of every page.There was no air conditioning until recently, so that dank sea mist spent a lot of time roaming around inside. Soggy pages are as disappointing as Mary Berry’s soggy bottoms. These days I like my wine and my books dry.
This beachy bookcase is looking a little sad. It’s been in the house for many years, no antique, but showing plenty of wear. My mother loved her wicker as well as reading, so this was in her bedroom, holding a mishmash of what somebody finished while visiting, what somebody else wanted to get rid of and what other people never wanted to get rid of. My older sister and I went on a de-mildew-fying rampage earlier this year and many yellowed, speckled books breathed their last, or rather, I breathed their last mold spores. Just knowing the moisture even these relatively unscathed books encountered over the years, I am disinclined to pull one off the shelf (and apparently disinclined to straighten the books, too). A recent exception was a pirate history paperback that I allowed myself to open up either outside on the porch or at the beach where I figured the fresh air and sun would apply some disinfectant. Thought it would help get me in the mood for a pirate pb I am fooling with, but it just made me wheeze. I suppose those poor pirates knew a thing or two about moldy cheeses and treasure maps, so perhaps my research will pay off in a sneezy, wheezy sort of way. Thar she coughs!