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.