So Many Books…

Photo by noah eleazar on Unsplash

Don’t you just love seeing the package delivery truck pull up in front of your house? One of the unspoken pleasures of a porous memory is that, in the time it takes for the “free delivery” purchase to arrive, I can completely forget what I ordered. It’s like a surprise birthday present (the present, not the birthday; I still remember my birthday).

My favorite add-to-cart therapy comes from ordering books from ABE.com (American Book Exchange). Place an order today, for say four books, and you can receive four packages over the next four weeks, for about $20.

Out of consideration for the livelihood of my favorite authors, I usually buy new releases when they come out in soft cover. But when I want to binge read Wallace Stegner, Graham Greene, Edward Abbey, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ernest Hemingway, or any of my favorite now deceased writers, I buy used books. If I’m perfectly honest, I’ll admit to buying used books of living authors whom I have only recently discovered. It would not be affordable for my budget to order all of Kazuo Ishiguro’s earlier novels when I ordered his latest Klara and the Sun.

But once I’ve discovered a writer who captures my attention, I’m hooked for life. Someone loaned me Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible and I’ve purchased every new novel she’s released (hard cover, no less) since I read it and every previously published novel, used from ABE.com.

My niece, who works for a pest control service is horrified to think of me bringing used books into my home for fear of bed bugs, yet she shops second hand stores for her clothes. I have a feeling that libraries would be infested with the critters if that were really a problem.

The biggest danger of cheap books is over-burdening my book shelves. It’s too easy to order books I never get around to reading, which I store for years. You know the kind: Moby Dick (started it three times), Don Quixote, or any of those classics that I thought would look good on my shelves. There they sit, nestled between the oft read and lovingly remembered volumes: Desert Solitaire, A Walk in the Woods, Black Beauty, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Lacuna, Bonk, and the list goes on and on.

12 thoughts on “So Many Books…

  1. I generally purchase books at Goodwill and garage sales. BUT there is a limit since we have run out of space on all the bookcases (3 and a library table in the living room, 2 in the family room, 4 in the basement rec room, and 1 in the computer room)! Currently the rule is 1 new book means 1 old book must go!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have the same problem . My wife janine devours the books ? And before we bought complete collections( de luxe). So not enough furnitures to put this army of books !! 🙂
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Like

    1. I thought Murisopsis had the perfect solution to the storage problem: one in, one out. That works if you’re not talking about breaking up a deluxe set of beautifully bound books.

      Like

  3. I have a used book junkie problem as well. Except the headquarters of Half Price Books is in town. And my wife is a college professor so there are always books around for me to load up and sell at HPB for store credit. I’m not a hoarder, so as they are read, they go back in the To HPB box along with whatever the prof has to offer. Plus there are the several times a year library events where $10 buys you all the books you can put in a paper grocery bag.
    Last but no least – Kazuo Ishiguro – I know he won a Nobel. I’d like to hear your thoughts on “Nocturnes” because mine keep evolving.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t read “Nocturnes” but your comment impels me to order it immediately. Any book that keeps you thinking about it long after you’ve set it down, and all of Ishiguro’s books do that whether you like it or not, is worth reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One day I think it sucks. Then I think it’s understated. Then I think it’s bashing the music business and shallow people in general. Then I think it’s a voiceless piece of crap. Overall, in truth, it’s probably one of the most perfectly executed examples of Vanilla around. It makes me want to ask him to his face, you know, WTF? This could have roared. Was it your intent to write like a late Taylor watercolor where you have to stand thirty feet away to see it and maybe there really isn’t anything there at all or what?

        Like

        1. LOL why mince words? We’re all friends here; just say what you think. Frankly, most of Ishiguro’s work leaves me feeling slightly ripped off or maybe too dense to really get it. That’s probably why I keep thinking about his books long after others are forgotten. Yet, I keep coming back for more. What a masochist I am!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. That is why I read on my kindle because my shelves at home are taken. I looked up ABE immediately, and realized I have checked them out before! I like going to the library book sales in Florida. They are excellent!

    Like

    1. I use Goodreads.com to explore titles, then go to ABE.com to buy books or Audible.com to buy audible books. Our county library has a nice selection of digital offerings, mainly best sellers but some meatier books too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I bet your home carries the scent of aging pages – and I love the thought. I have recovered from many of the problems named above: hoarding hardbacks from authors I love, finding someone new to me and working back through their library, collecting aspirational books and even – damn, forgot the one quirk I had that wasn’t named!
    But after being settled in my first house for a decade and getting transferred to Seattle, I found that the curse of living close to Powell’s that created sagging bookshelves and stacks of books in every room was also a blessing when I decided to divest. Of course, it took a few trips, and after the second I could recognize the “Oh, god…here he comes again” look on the book buyers’ faces.

    Like

    1. The scent of ageing pages is overpowered by two, big, hairy dogs. Probably NOT an improvement. I know that look of “Oh, god…” as my neighbors get that look when I come with an armload of zucchini and tomatoes.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s