My daughter and I were out shopping and on the way back to the house, I joked about what I would do if I had a sudden windfall and became rich.
We joked about countries we would want to visit and listed England, Scotland, Ireland, Monaco, Italy, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, and Israel before I turned to her and said, “I know what I would do!” Of course, she raised her eyebrow (mimicking a look she has seen from me a million times) as if to say, “Do tell.”
I told her, “I would want to visit all of the famous libraries in the world.”
She was not surprised. We live in a two story town house and somehow, I have five book cases–including two full size, five-shelf bookcases– and they are all stuffed with books. I have a thing about books and libraries. I especially love old books–the smell, the stories, the excruciatingly long and descriptive titles, and the inscriptions inside the covers.
There are some trade-in bookstores that will trade in old hardback books. While on vacation a few years ago, I found what appeared to be a first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The dust cover is missing–which is probably why I got it for only $5. I also found Lord Chesterfield’s Letters to His Son and the Sheridan plays “The Rivals” and “The School for Scandal.”
A small library I used to work for was shedding some of it’s inventory–including some rare books that could not be sold easily because of library tags and markings. I couldn’t let them be thrown away so I have several of the books including a complete set of Dicken’s works printed in the U.S. by P.F. Collier–not P.F. Collier and Son– so I assume this was a printing from earlier in his career and not later.
All of the books have stories in them–and about them. I would have a hard time giving any of them away. Good writers are supposed to be good readers. I should be an excellent writer at this point–I always seem to be in the process of reading a book.
I have a Kindle now that I use to read newer books–especially those I don’t need to keep. However, I still like the turn of a page and the feel of paper. I also like the idea that I am reading the words and thoughts of someone who is no longer alive but is still with us through his or her words.
My husband teases me that I should get rid of some of the books we have. They have to be dusted and there are a lot but I can’t choose. It’s too hard. Sometimes, I can get rid of a book because a newer version is available or online. e.g. The 2017 Guide to Literary Agents is no longer current. But many are like friends, I remember where I was when I found them and how happy I was. Maybe one day the printed page will go the way of the typewriter and cursive handwriting but, for now, I’ll hold onto the ones I have as long as I can.