I love books. I’m an avid reader and sometime collector of books. OK, probably more than just “sometime.” I work in a library and have ready access to thousands of books. I hold a library card for Wichita libraries where I have access to thousands more books. So why is it that I feel compelled to purchase books?
My bookshelves are filled with hundreds of books. Many of them haven’t yet been read. I tell myself I will read them before I buy any new ones, but then I find three more books I “need” to own. And don’t even start me on the used-book sales at local libraries!
It’s easy to make the decision to buy some books. For instance, Nancy Drew. I loved reading them as a kid and I love reading them as an adult. So, I have a shelf full of them. And I have my favorite authors, whose books it’s easy to know I am going to love. Then there’s the classics that I love to read and want to own copies of. These include The Count of Monte Cristo, Pride and Prejudice, and most of Agatha Christie’s titles, among others.
Sometimes I have to own multiple copies of the same book. Namely, Harry Potter. Yes, I own a set of first editions in hardcover from when my kids were younger and we were all reading them. They’re actually my second set, because I gave my first set to my most Harry Potter-loving kid. Then the illustrated editions began to be released, and they are so beautiful, so I needed them. With the 20th anniversary of the release of the first book last year, new editions in house colors were released, and of course I had to start my collection of Hufflepuff house books.
So, how do you decide which books you want to buy and what titles you’ll borrow from a library? I’d love to know how you make those decisions. If you’ll share in the comments, I’d love to do a future blog post about your answers.
Photo by Michał Grosicki on Unsplash
It’s Valentine’s Day, and as bouquets of flowers are delivered to my co-workers, I’m finding myself sitting at my desk wanting to share my love story — with books. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love books. I remember sitting in second or third grade and being enveloped by stories as my teacher read them out loud. I discovered Nancy Drew when I was in fourth grade and devoured them as quickly as I could get my hands on them. My sixth-grade teacher introduced me to J.R.R. Tolkein when he invited a group of us who were avid readers to read it as a group after school. I’m not completely sure whether it was The Hobbit that was so attractive, or the extra time we’d be allowed to hang out in the reading loft we had in our classroom, but I jumped right in and found a love for fantasy comparable to my love for mystery.
In seventh grade, my English teacher offered up What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw (probably more recognizable as The 4:50 From Paddington) by Agatha Christie. I was utterly enthralled with Dame Agatha’s ability to weave a mystery so completely, and seemingly so effortlessly as I breathlessly reached the end of each of her stories and waited for Miss Marple or Monsieur Poirot to unravel the threads that identified the murderer in their midst. Eighth-grade English introduced me to Ponyboy and Sodapop and Johnny. I learned how important it was to “stay gold.”
Also around this time a brand new library branch was built just a couple blocks from my house. No more waiting for a bookmobile or being limited to the books in the school library, or bugging my parents to take me to the nearest public library, which was several miles away. A whole new world opened up to me and I would ride my bike down to the library several times a week. The summer between ninth and tenth grades I read 93 novels, thanks to the proximity of that library. My dad hung a hammock in our backyard, and everyone in my family knew that was where to find me that summer after I’d done my daily chores (and sometimes before).
Since that time I have always chosen to read as much as possible. It’s my escape from the everyday. It’s one way that I find happiness. It brings me peace when life gets turbulent.
Books are magic. They transport me to places I’ve never been, to new worlds. They introduce me to characters of all shapes, sizes, colors and temperaments. I can visit the past. I can travel the universe or stay right at home. Because of books, my eyes are opened to possibilities, problems, perspectives, and people I might otherwise never have contact with. I can fall in love over and over and over. I can revisit my favorites places and old friends time and time again.
Maybe some of you feel the same way.