It's a sunny Saturday but so far I haven't stepped foot outside yet. I'm still deep in cataloguing the collection of work books of which there are quite a lot and there has been a lot of book buying of late. New shelf space has had to be set up and a reorganisation is called for. As always, I'm struck by how eclectic this thing called play is.
I have in front of me just the letter 'T's and among them are books on the sociological history of childhood, the importance of incorporating risk in to the design of playspaces, teenagers use of the public realm, and one on game design. A mix indeed and yet all about ‘play’.
It's taking me forever to finish this task because as I pick up book up to add to the index I find myself forced to leaf through it which leads to far too many being set aside with a 'I'll read more of that one later'. It's seriously messing up the alphabetical order on the shelf and taking up far more time than I've got available!
Even more amusing is reading some of the notes I’ve made in pencil in the margins or on enclosed pieces of paper that fall out of books as I move them. The single words, ‘Yes!’ and ‘No!’ appear to be quite a theme whilst other comments are almost essay length. But as I have had many of these books for a long while I can also see evidence of my own developing understanding on the subject in these scribblings and that degree of reflection is proving very useful.
Quite where our ideas come from can be a bit of a fuzzy memory sometimes, largely because they are often from an amalgam of sources that only make sense when put together. At other times, it may be more straightforward coming either from a particular speaker or something specific in a given book. The point is, the more eclectic is your reading then the more eclectic is your thinking and those multi-directional influences create odd, unexpected connections that open-up possibilities that otherwise might not have been found.
There is one other very pleasant thing that has become apparent while I've been doing this too: there are significantly more books available now with the word Playwork in the title than just ten years again. That, is a very good thing and it makes me very proud to see the names of many of my Playwork friends and colleagues represented on these shelves joining this eclectic bunch of writings.
QUESTION – How does this compare to your bookshelves? How eclectic are they? What have been your greatest written influences? What was your most unexpected read?
This expanded and revised short-read was first published on www.facebook.com/marc.armitage.at.play 10/12/2016