I enjoy buying books, particularly those intended for my grandchildren. I like reading children's books, too, and one of the things I most enjoyed about teaching was reading aloud stories to my class. I can't say whether they appreciated it - I think some did and I hope it may have encouraged them to lose themselves in books as I have always done. I can't resist 'special offers' on novels so my pile of books to be read is ever-growing. This may be halted, temporarily at least, because Barry recently bought me a Kindle.
It sits on one of our book shelves, resplendent in its bright pink 'Built' case, full of free downloads and one book about Dewey, the library cat, that I bought and have yet to read. At present I'm reading Rudyard Kipling's 'Puck of Pook's Hill.'
However splendid a Kindle may be - and it has a lot to recommend it - the technology is not yet advanced enough to render colour, or maybe it is but is not commercially viable at present. Thus, reference books are still a requisite. I look up lots of things on a daily basis. The internet is invaluable but nothing quite measures up to the pleasure of leafing through a book, cross-referencing and discovering fascinating information about this endlessly absorbing planet and its inhabitants.
We have many reference books on a wide range of subjects and some of them are forty years old. Books inherited from my parents are often older, approaching one hundred years. Books become like old friends to be cherished and treasured but, just like older people, occasionally the information is a little outdated. Gardeners will recognise this fact as names are changed to reflect new discoveries. Historians, too, sometimes find that the 'facts' have been adjusted when new information has come to light. There is no area of life in which things remain immutable.
This has been demonstrated to me recently when I have been trying to identify wild mushrooms. Some of the names have changed, perhaps more than once or twice, in the forty-three years since one of my favourite books was published.
This book has glorious illustrations by Beatrix Potter.
This is the Frontispiece, showing Amanita muscaria, Fly Agaric.
Seeking in vain to identify a fungus we saw on Sunday and drawing a blank everywhere I yesterday ordered from Amazon a comprehensive guide. It arrived today.
'Mushrooms' by Roger Phillips has over 1,250 colour photographs, showing fungi from every conceivable angle and I was quickly able to find what I was looking for.
This is The Miller (Clitopilus prunulus)
It is common, good to eat and found from summer to late autumn in grass in open woodland.The gills start white and turn pink. It has a strong mealy taste.
Although I have had this book only a matter of hours, it is already one that I know I will return to again and again. The illustrations are superb and the information first-class.
I bought another reference book, too, but have barely looked at it other than to ascertain that it too will surely become another well-used tome. More of that later!