Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bring On The Books!

I admit it. I have a problem. A big problem. A book problem. Maybe more to the point, a bookstore problem.

Hello, I'm Heidi and I'm an addict.

I went to the used bookstore today looking for a book, a specific title I've already read from the library and now want to own. It took about three minutes to discover this particular store didn't have the book I thought I was looking for, and about ninety minutes to discover they have eleven other books I needed that I didn't even know I was looking for!

All bookstores are intoxicating, but used bookstores especially. I know as a writer I should have something against used bookstores, but I can't. I've loved them too much for too long.

I walk around with a pile of books in my arms, adding until I can barely balance them and still pull more off the shelves. They are often barely broken in, maybe never even read, and the price tags make me feel like I am stealing from someone. I buy kids books for .25, a library of American Girl books or the Series of Unfortunate Events collection for less than one of the books would cost at the retail store. In fact, all eleven books today cost less than the marked price on one of the Stephen Ambrose books I bought for my husband (that I intend to read first just to make sure it's really what he wanted).

I didn't even want a bag. I carried the stack in my arms to my car, resting my chin on the top to steady them as I tried to find my keys. I smelled the pages, that musty, slightly dusty, earthy smell. I love books. I love fingering the page as I am reading, hardly able to keep from turning it before I am ready. I love the illustrations on the front, the blurbs on the back, the acknowledgments. I held two on my lap on the drive home, flipping through them at the stop lights.

I have several books I bought the last time I went to the bookstore that I haven't read yet. I didn't need new books. I don't even have a place for them all. Our house is busting with books, our shelves two layers deep, stacks on end tables and nightstands and desks. But will I get rid of them? No way! I laugh when the clerk asks if I have in trade-in value with the store. Trade-ins? Are you kidding? And part with one of my babies? I don't think so!

I love being surrounded by books. I will never replace them with a Kindle, any more than I would replace my children with dolls. There are lives, and people, and stories in these books that have changed my life, my world-view, my passions and beliefs.

I'm addicted, and I'm perfectly happy to leave it that way.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Me too!

    We have been so tight for money forever and only recently have I allowed myself to go to the bookstore for new books. Like I need more... of course I need more! I get them at the thrift store too. I'm so fussy about them.

    I don't think of it as a problem, I mean, I can always go to the hardware store and get another piece of oak plywood to make a new shelf...

    Worse comes to worst, we can stack up a few books and use 'em as end tables...