Confessions of a Bibliophile

I like books. I have a few. Okay, quite a lot of books have found a home with me over the years.

I like books for what’s on the inside, yet I admit to judging books by their covers. A bad cover or title can be hard to get past.

I like real books, the ones that don’t have a lowercase /e/ or /i/ associated with them, ones with pages and ink, books that hold some memories of trees.

I buy books. I buy professional books that inform my teaching. I buy books that are recommended to me by others, or books whose author I know I like, or books that just seem interesting, that maybe leap off the shelf at me. I like to buy in local bookstores, and do. I also buy from online second hand book dealers who probably get some of their inventory from the brick and mortar stores that go under. And yes, because it is convenient and expeditious to use them, I sometimes buy books from that huge online place that gets blamed for the demise of our local bookstores. (And they sometimes, but not often, sell my books.)

I buy books but mostly my books find me. They find me at yard-sales and flea-markets, and the Take-It-Or-Leave-It at the dump. These findings, this being found, is the most beautiful way of acquiring books. It cannot be forced; it is a serendipitous, Zen-like connection, to be recognized and acknowledged when it happens and to be counted as another blessing. The book that finds me may be something I had been looking for, or may appear as something I was not looking for, never heard of, but upon reading it realize it is just what I needed. These books might be part of a direction I was already reading in, or they may lead me off in another direction, gathering like minded books along that way.

These books, up for adoption, have plenty to say about where they came from. They reveal the interests and inclinations of their previous owners, the phases that that person went through, the predilections and interests they held. And if those interests and predilections were similar to mine, if I am found, I take these books home where they are introduced to their new bedfellows on my shelves. There may be some shifting around; this placing is important. I don’t impose the Dewey decimal system, but there are themes. Books are placed with other books where they will have something to say to one another. The books are additions to collections, which are really ongoing conversations among books, conversations with my books and myself. Because of course they are read, sometimes prior to shelving sometimes afterwards.

There’s no real point to this. Except to say that I like books. I suppose one day I will have to downsize and put my books up for adoption, to put them back in the same channels they came to me from, otherwise someone else will have to deal with the collections when I’m dead. Come that time, I hope that my books end up finding someone who appreciates them, even as that someone might be wondering about the predilections of their previous owner.

***

What about you? I have yet to use kindle, but what do you prefer? With print books, do you shelve, share, or sh_t-can? Where do books go once read? 

This had been idling at shiftnshake. I was inspired to post it by Marcia, who had posted this meme, and whose book is still beside my bed, waiting for me to order the sequel. 

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48 thoughts on “Confessions of a Bibliophile

  1. A wonderful post – my head was nodding in agreement as I read it. I do use a kindle. especially when I’m on holiday as it means I don’t have to carry loads of books with me. However, I still like ‘real’ books and, like you, find them everywhere. I know, one day, I’ll have to have a massive clear out but not yet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We have been renovating the house ever so slowly over 25 years now, but the first big investment was built in book shelves. The most recent big investment was the same along the opposite wall. It’s the more indulgent in light of what has not been improved. Oh well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely post, D. Thank you! So glad you found a few minutes to visit with us today. And your theme is lovely, too. I love books in some of the same ways, and in other ways that are likely unique to me.

    Firstly, I love this line from you: “Books are placed with other books where they will have something to say to one another.” I do that, myself. I’m constantly rearranging my floor to ceiling library bookshelves, because I suddenly realize that a book, or a series of books, really belong in another spot, next to kindred spirits. I’m also obsessed with covers, so I have to sit my current favorites on little easels, so I can admire the artwork every time I walk by. Sometimes I stop to pat them on the covers. I will ALWAYS have shelves in every room filled with real books.

    Having said that, when I sit down to read, I prefer my Kindle for several reasons. First, I can set the font, the color of the font, and the size of the font to what works for me. (This is very important to someone with vision issues like mine.) The next thing I like about my Kindle is being able to pull up an immediate definition of an unfamiliar word with just a touch of my fingertip. I used to find myself running around like a crazy person, trying to find the dictionary before I continued reading. This is such an amazing thing to me, especially since I cannot stand to see a word, and not know what it means.

    Finally, a Kindle is far more comfortable to hold. It’s not only lighter, but I don’t have to try to force the pages wide enough apart to read the words down the center. That hurts my thumbs after a bit. Oh, one more thing. X-Ray. If I’m reading an epic fantasy with a cast of thousands, I confess I sometimes have to be reminded who a minor character is. Click on that, and voila. I am told he’s the second son of Viscount Thingamabob, and not to be trusted with anyone’s family silver or family daughters.

    So. For me, this is not an Either/Or question. I want my real books surrounding me, adding color to my life, and giving me something solid to pick up and flip through now and again. I have a rapidly filling shelf of autographed books, too, which are worth more than gold to me. Books are art in MANY senses of the word. And then I want my Kindle for reading comfort and ease. And because I can carry 500 books in my purse, the better to have something wonderful to read when I’m stuck in a waiting room, somewhere.

    My Kindle may not replace my collection of physical books, but it is a wonderful adjunct, and I love it passionately! One final reason: because when I finish Volume 1 of a new series, and HAVE to know what happens next before I can sleep, I just click on the Kindle Store button and download Volume 2. In sixty seconds or less, I’m continuing on with the tale.

    So, there’s my take on Real Books vs Kindle. Why not both? Works for me. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

      • Now I feel guilty for writing such a long response. But you asked, and it’s a subject I like. And no one will ever part me from my real books, because I plan to take them with me to that Great Library in the Sky. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

          • Well, heaven knows, I’m nothing, if not wordy. But in a writer, I suspect that’s mostly a good thing. (Hopefully.) 😀 So I’m glad to converse any time you like. One of these days (I’m thinking this coming Friday), my life is going to become much more normal again, and I’ll have more time for my blog. And oh, yeah, my current WIP! BTW, just because you have your very own thoughts, opinions, likes, and dislikes doesn’t make you ridiculous. That’s what makes each of us unique, after all. (Of course, I’ll still be talking up the marvels of Kindle every chance I get, you know, so be prepared. You’ve been warned. 😀 😀 😀 )

            Really glad you’re visiting today! And I not only enjoyed your topic, but . . . brace yourself . . . couldn’t help but hear the poet in your soul. Love how you expressed each feeling. I suspect many will recognize themselves in parts of your post. I know I did. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! This I could have written, but you did:
      I shy away from the gluttonous pace of Island book clubs for the very reason that books need to be tasted unhurriedly, at a most restrained pace. Others readers, of course, set their own rhythm.
      Like you I also did some time as a paid shelver of books, a distracting job, but just consider it reconnaissance. I had an epiphany in high school when I realized Eaglebeak the librarian was actually the enlightened soul who bought and brought the books that might enlighten any of us who read. I surprised my friends when I became her willing intern.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Absolutely not alone. When I get a new Kindle book, I’m happy to start reading, but when I get a new print book, I feel suddenly rich. I do, however, admit to absolutely cringing at anyone’s having put a single mark in or on a book. OMG. Notes in the margin make me hyperventilate. 😯 😯 But all of my very favorite books, I own in print AND on my Kindle. Another thing I like about Kindles. I hate accidentally breaking the spine of an actual book. I think I look at print books these days as works of art and priceless possessions, and my Kindle is my stalwart battle steed, on which I ride when seeking adventures. Yeah. That might be it. 😀

          Liked by 2 people

            • I guess I could let my anger cool . . . a bit . . . if it happened 150 years ago. 😀 No point in being absurd about my compulsions and addictions.

              I think everyone in my family knows I consider a Christmas with no books under the tree pretty much a total loss. But when Santa is good, they are all used to me dancing around, waving my new treasures in the air, going, “Books! I’m rich, I’m rich!!” This year, I was extra rich, because the fantasy books I was longing for were ALL over 1000 pages, so they were HUGE, FAT, GLORIOUSLY beautiful examples of richness, worthy of much dancing. (Okay, so these days, it’s less of a dance, and more of a lumber, but still. The meaning was the same!) 😀

              Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve no problem where I get my books (new, old, on line, off line, in my ears or eyes) as long as I get them. I hate not finishing a book but, post 50 I decided I only have a finite number left in me to read so I stopped wasting time on those I didn’t want to read any more. I hate giving away books but then i need space and want others to enjoy them so hand them on now. I hate people who don’t return them but i want others to read them so encourage people to pass them on. I’m a bibliohypocrite and I’m kind of happy that my relationship with books flows like a great story that I really really don’t want to end. Thank you for getting me to burble and sorry it was your space I filled with it. At least I didn’t dribble…

    Liked by 3 people

    • The beauty of this online stuff is that we don’t really know if you dribbled or not, so I won’t quibble regarding the dribble.
      I think that all who have come by have a happy “relationship with books”. And we know, don’t we? We know and have marked in our minds those people that NEVER return the books that were meant for them to read and return and discuss. But they are silent because they are non-returners. And we are yet happy for the continuing life of the books that got away.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. What a beautiful post, it reminded me of how I used to feel about my books when I had space for massive bookshelves. Now I’m down to a small area housing real books, and the rest are all packed in cardboard boxes while I figure out how to rehome them – nobody seems to want them these days.
    I have special favourites that will never leave me, but new books are all on my Kindle – its light, easy to handle, and I can take as many books away with me as I want when I fly, as it never gets any heavier or demands any extra space. I can watch films on it too!
    Frankly, I wouldn’t be without my Kindle, even though I do still read the odd paper book, as I have always bought books faster than I can read them, and still have some left to get through.
    Since my Kindle arrived, that habit has only got far worse!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. D. Avery said, “It’s what sticky notes are for, or an old fashioned notebook.”

    OR you can underline and make notes in your Kindle without damaging a thing in the book. It’s easy. And when you want to check your notes, you just click once, and they all come up, neatly numbered, in order. (See? I warned you. Hehehehehehe.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marcia, once I figured out how to use notes and highlights on my kindle, I’m a kindling fiend! I can even download archives for historical works, old books not available to me I can download and mark up. The danger, however, is that I’m still a bibliophile and somehow justify owning both print and digital copies of the same book — and now I’m into Audible, too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh, I do that, too. ALL of my favorite books reside both on my library shelves and on my Kindle. I prefer reading on the Kindle for all the reasons I stated above, but I dearly love owning real books, too. And I’m mad for beautiful cover art. I’m surrounded by physical books all day long, and then carry 500 or so digital ones to bed at night, so I can read from my Kindle before lights out. 😀

        I have a book out on Audible, but I don’t listen to them, myself, because my hearing is too bad. Even with the latest and greatest of hearing aids, I miss too much. Plus, I’m one who likes to pause over beautiful phrases, and read them several times, just for the pleasure they give me. That’s hard to do on Audible, even when your hearing is good.

        But I’m there with you on owning both the print and the digital version of many, many of my books. 😀 (And I don’t even feel guilty about it. Not one bit! 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Being a recipient of serendipity and the Take-It-Or-Leave-It pile at the dump, I’m happy you are a bibliophile (too). And we share a common shelving strategy. I like the idea that the books are arranged as if they can converse with one another.

    Liked by 2 people

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