I realized this the other day when I came home, pleased as punch about a new book (whenever I'm blueish I buy reading material), and, while looking for the last tin of Sasieni Balkan Mixture, found the EXACT SAME BOOK!
The situation is this: near my chair in the tv room are several stacks containing books, magazines, printouts of news articles, and various other things. It's not that there are no bookshelves in the apartment - there are many shelves.
In the tv room there are thirty-three shelves and a stack of plastic boxes that can be used for shelving. Eight of the shelves have books placed in two rows, stacked flat, occupying the entire space between the shelf on which they are placed and the next shelf up.
Three of the shelves are Judaic material, with Japanese style tea bowls in front of the shelf containing Dutch Judaica, a set of Rashi and several tins of tobacco in front of various translations of Tanach, and more tea-bowls plus bronze lizards and a frog in front of miscellaneous Judaica (there is more Judaica in the main room on my desk, and in the shelves on top of the desk - Sforno, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, The Tur, Tanya, and much miscellaneous reading material; the translated Ramban is on the second bedside table in front of the bookshelf with files, a blue crackly glazed koro (incense burner) and the old Macintosh, as well as a statue of Zhong Kuei).
Most of the other shelves in the tv room contain Indian History, Sinitica and linguistics, and a fine collection of National Geographic magazines (every issue between 1931 and 1978 which has pictures of tropical palm trees - don't ask).
Plus Marguerite Yourcenar (pseudonym of Belgian born novelist Marguerite Cleenewerck de Crayencour, 1903 - 1987), Vladimir Nabokov, Mary Renault (The King Must Die, The Persian Boy, Greek Funeral Games, Fire From Heaven, The Mask of Apollo, and The Praise Singer - one of her best works) and some splendid Dutch poetry by a gentleman with unfortunate procreative preferences.
There are at least three and a half shelves of Dutch East Indies material (history, anthropology and ethnography, plus literature by Indies Dutch writers), double stacked and tightly packed.
Four upper shelves of miscellaneous languages, mostly dictionaries.
But also Pānini's Astadhyayi, and some textbooks on native law (adat) written for the Dutch East Indies administration during the last half century of empire.
The top shelves all have pottery, Vladimir Nabokov, Indonesian objets d'art, and doodads.
All of Shakespeare is somewhere.
[There are more books under the chair (some South East Asian cooking, some reference), and under the table. Plus in and in front of the tv cabinet (Chinese Philosophy, miscellaneous literature, O'Henry, Romesh Gunesekera), and on the floor in front of two bookcases (reference, Chinese history, and Edward Gorey).
I think Remembrance of Things Past is also there - I never finished reading it.
Johan Fabricius (copies of almost everything he ever wrote, of which 'Scheepsjongens Van Bontekoe' and 'De Grote Geus' are probably his best known works, although 'De Heilige Paarden' ('The Sacred Horses' - about the resistance of native chiefs on the island of Sumba to Dutch colonial rule, written in 1959) is arguably his best work) and poet-playwright Gerbrand Andriaenszoon Brederode (Dutch Golden age, distant relative of the main character in Fabricius' 'De Grote Geus'; his works are available in editions from Gorcum, Martinus Nijhoff, and Tjeenk Willink, as well as second hand from a variety of other publishers) are in the bookshelves opposite my desk in the other room. Along with trashy romances, detective fiction, and oddities. Next to those shelves are other Dutch literature, Chinese literature, Mediaeval History, Tropical Diseases, and fourhundred cookbooks - more or less. I like cookbooks. ]
And, everywhere, pipe tobacco.
The reason for the tobacco is simple: California will probably double the tax on tobacco products within twelve months, that being the gist of a proposition which will be on the ballot this year.
Wherefore I'm stockpiling. I have enough pipe tobacco to last four and a half years at present rate of consumption (actually 247 weeks), and am aiming for a decade's worth.
After that I'll probably have to move to Wyoming or Arkansas - some place where they have no laws, there is no civilization, everybody has guns, and tobacco is not taxed.
So, rooting around where last I saw the Sasieni Balkan Mixture (which, in mittn drinnen, is the best substitute of The Balkan Sobranie Mixture that has been made since Balkan Sobranie went out of business over a decade ago - Sasieni has since also disappeared), I found a brand new copy of the SAME EXACT BOOK!
It was not anywhere near the Sasieni Balkan Mixture.
I ended up smoking Dunhill's London Mixture instead.
Note regarding pipe tobaccos: A dozen tins of G.L. Pease's Kensington Mixture, a dozen tins of G.L. Pease's Blackpoint Mixture, plus several tins of G.L. Pease's Abingdon, Samarra, Raven's Wing, and Charing Cross mixtures.
Altogether a score of Samuel Gawith tobaccos, mostly the 1792 Flake - and I'm not even a Virginia smoker (it's the discreet Tonquin oil casing - a very old-fashioned aroma, quite pleasing).
A dozen tins of Dunhill tobacco, mostly the London Mixture (of which I am very fond).
A dozen large tins (hundred grammes) of McClelland tobacco, mostly Bombay Extra, but also the Christmas and Anniversary blends. About two dozen other tins of McClelland tobaccos, all with the exception of two of them medium Balkan style mixtures.
Frog Morton, every type, opened tins and unopened reserves.
A score of Bill Bailey's Balkan Blend, a few tins of Gawith Hoggarth Balkan Mixture, about two dozen tins of a variety of tobaccos bought for sampling purposes (most half finished or more). Plus some odds and ends.
And, somewhere, the last tin of Sasieni Balkan Mixture. Which remains missing. It was a two-hundred gramme tin.
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After that, I'll probably work on increasing my supplyof McClelland tobaccos, including the Frog Morton blends, the Syrian Latakia Mixtures, and the 221B series, as well as the 'personal reserve' (Bombay Extra, inter alia).
Even further note: There are as yet no tins of tobacco in her room, but there are lots of books and book-shelves there. I am not entirely sure what she reads.
Penultimate note: Lum, Ranma 1/2, Inuyasha, Sci-Fi, and Thai cooking are under my bed. Plus a few volumes of Dutch poetry. And some Brederode.
Final note: The several stacks of books in, on, and around the hallway table are hers. The stacks along the wall to the bathroom are mine. I'll sort them eventually. Not now.
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
Labels: Pipes and tobacco