I remember once visiting a prof in his home - an apartment - and he had all his walls lined with books. This is what I want, I remember thinking ... to be surrounded by books. Books, after all, are ideas, experiences, ... forests to meander, get lost in, and explore.
I've friends who like to read, but they prefer using the library. Now I'm all for the library, but I like to put marks in my books and to take my time with them - often reading a few at once. And, I go back to them to re-visit a page here or there. Lately, with the blessing of my tax man, I can justify the expense as a writing supply. There are times when I wonder if I've more books than I need. But as I finish a book I've enjoyed, and put it on the shelf, I feel comforted knowing it's available when I need it. Sometimes, just a glance at its spine, reminds me of the world inside its covers.
Here's a favorite quote from the Stephen King book, On Writing, that I just finished: "You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself. These lessons almost always occur with the study door closed."
Yeah, so my books are my garden. After all, a book is a living thing, dormant until touched by a mind. Books are trees and many trees make a forest. Now there's a metaphor to explore.