Tag Archives: slightly bemused

Gifting books ‘comes with a price, perhaps several prices’.

Slightly Bemused writes:

For a number of years a friend and I have had a little bit of a book challenge. He might not call it that – basically he is winning by leagues. I think over the years I managed one or two wins, his are in the thousands.

In this time of lockdown there are a number of things you can do. I know many go to Netflix or similar and watch filums and series (I must admit I finally am getting the time for Breaking Bad). But honestly, my greatest joy has been rekindling my joy for reading. When I can find my old person glasses.

My friend gifts me with worlds I can get lost in. I have a reading chair so that I can get lost, but still have a glass of water next to me. I tried getting lost in other worlds with something more potent. Water works best, or occasionally tea. We can have the argument over Lyons versus Barry’s later. I have a cousin who works for one of them who explained some things about the difference.

But the gifting comes with a price. Or maybe several prices, I have never really been sure.

Firstly, and foremost, you have got to give the book back before you get the next.

A few more years ago than I think I care to remember I gave a book of mine that I owned (not my friend’s, I am not that crazy) to a colleague who had a passion for the genre, but no access to the books. My friend and I had an interesting series of discussions about this for several years. I bought the book again. It is one of my perennial favourites.

And before you get worried, he was not against gifting the book, quite the opposite. It was the book I gifted. I think I was forgiven when I bought it again.

The problem at the moment is the book I have currently been gifted is a paperback. There is no crease on the spine. A certain part of me worries that if I put a crease in the back, will I get the next one?

A while ago a college ‘mate’ took a book I was reading before class, and threw it across the room. needless to say, damage was done and a bit more than a crease on the spine.

Occasionally I am still asked for that guy’s name. This might worry people. Don’t.

What I really want to say is that the treasure of a book, of a world you can get lost in, is probably more important now. Having that world damaged does not help when trying to manage this world.

If you have a world you want to get lost in, find your reading chair. And get lost in it.
By the way, this is going to get me an angry text. Or at least a text with a ‘we are going to talk about this’.

Pic: All Stock

The scene yesterday outside a farm at Assolas, Castlemagner near Kanturk, County Cork, where three members of a family lost their lives in a suspected murder suicide early on Monday

Slightly Bemused writes:

One thing that struck me when reading and listening to interviews about the tragedy in Cork is with this lockdown the community cannot rally around the bereaved wife and mother, and their families, cannot show sympathy in the way Irish normally do. They are limited in how many households, and household members may interact. And how many may attend the sending off of the loved ones. But the whole country empathises.

October last, my family said goodbye to one of my brothers. He was struck by a car along with two others in 1978, and at that time my town would have been about similar in size, population, and occupation to the community of Castlemanger (although I think we may have had more horses). In many ways, this was the third of the deaths from that event, I guess the closing act of that day.

Pretty close to the entire town who were around at the time of my brother’s accident turned up last year to celebrate his life when he finally left. Many who would not have known them, but were in school with us younger ones still turned up a year ago. The community rallied round us then, and rallied around us again.

I am sure they all know each other in Castlemanger, and would want to all be there for that family. I know the mother is the only one left in that immediate family, but there are the extended familiesĀ of sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles. And the entire community wants to help them.

But cannot.

One year on from the strength we were offered by our community is not available to this one in the same way.

Or so it seems. It is not the public outpourings of grief or support on the day that matters, for all that it is vital at the time. It is the other little things that help. The things that continue beyond that first day and week.

I went out for my shopping today, and was surprised only when I got home to think about it that I realised how much support was still there. From the lady at the counter who was a school buddy and wished my family well, to the wonderful hairdresser who cannot now but gave my mother all the gossip, to waving at my geography teacher (who taught all of us in a cold prefab in a field that is now an Aldi) even today as we passed a healthy social distance away. Just a few of the community I live in that still supports us.

Coming from a community that still rallies around a family that was in grief, I know that the community of Castlemanger will rally around this family. And it will not end once the headlines go away.

Such communities are there, always. They may not be able to embrace, but they will find ways. While I wish my deepest sympathies to the families affected in Cork and beyond, the real support that will keep them going is their community

They say time heals all wounds. I disagree, but the communities help you bear them, help you face another day.

One more PM to be completed following Kanturk deaths (C103)

Kanturk unites around bereaved as garda investigation into triple killing continues (Irish Examiner)

Pic: C103