Monday, November 25, 2013

Living with The Book Bug (plus a Contest)

You know what I'm talking about. It's a common but harmless (although in some cases, contagious) problem many of us share. Most of us have had it all our lives. I was going to say that it's a problem one acquires upon learning how to read, but I suspect that most people who are afflicted are like me: they wanted to learn how to read so badly that the urge to acquire books came before actually knowing how to decipher them.

Genetics Exhibit, San Jose Tech 

At any rate, once you've been bitten by the book bug, the urge to constantly discover and own more books, your life will never be the same. Whether you're the kind of person who always has their collection neatly arranged on bookshelves (in your system of choice) or the type of person who has books in every room, haphazardly left lying around or in precarious stacks on tables, you will constantly be looking for more places to put books as you acquire more.

And the digital age hasn't really changed things all that much, at least for me. While my Kindle's memory gets filled with more and more books, I still can't walk away from print books. Every garage or estate sale, every library book sale represents potential book treasure, books that haven't been digitized or that I simply would never have known existed had I not been rummaging through that dusty box of books. 

Anyone who has "the book problem" knows that there's probably no way they'll ever read every book they own. People who aren't caught up in the urge to acquire more books don't understand us. They think in terms of "you already have lots of books. Why do you want more?" or even "I don't get it. What is it about a book? It's just a lot of words on paper."

So what compels us to collect books? It's simple, really. Books represent stories, new worlds, realms of possibility, knowledge, history. If a person could take everything the words in a book represent and expand them, their house would be so filled with ideas and locations and characters, the building would explode. 

Books are dreams, hopes, experiences. They represent travel to places we can't easily get to ourselves. Tripping through the pages of a book, we can visit the minds and imaginations of other people. And that is pretty wonderful. It's candy to those of us who love books. 

Occasionally I cull my library, trying to get it under control. I donate books to charitable organizations; I remove books from my Kindle. But I don't kid myself. This isn't over. Thank goodness for that. Because as long as reading doesn't prevent me from living, from exploring the real world, it's an awesome thing. It's a gift.
*****

Now, a question: name a book on your shelf that you found somewhere other than in a store. Answering the question will enter you in the first contest I've run on this site in years. You can only enter once on this post, but I'll have other questions on other posts during the next month (okay, almost a month).

The drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card (there will be 2 winners) will take place on December 22nd. In the meantime, I hope you find a wonderful book to read today!

Happy Reading!

Myrna




20 comments:

  1. That one's easy, Myrna.
    I bought INSTANT MARRIAGE, JUST ADD GROOM at a United Way fundraiser a few years ago. It is now on my Keeper Shelf.
    Oh, jeepers. I wasn't sure if it was the above book or BOUGHT BY THE BILLIONAIRE (also on my Keeper Shelf), so I just "had" to read both endings just now. I won't get anything done today at this rate! Thanks a lot, Myrna!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Elaine, I'm blushing! LOL Seriously, though, I'm proud to have been (in a sense) at a United Way fundraiser. It makes me feel good that my book was being used for a good cause.

    ReplyDelete
  3. And thank you very much for the compliment!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My best friend gave me Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. After I read it, I had to read the rest of her books!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Brenda, I love that title! Now I have to look it up (I'm always looking for something new to read, even though I have so many books already waiting their turn).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also read sarah Addison Allen this summer. I really liked them!

      Delete
  6. Brenda, I've started a list. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've been away visiting my Mother, & yes, I "helped" her clean out her bookcases. I don't think it counts as cleaning out if it's just a matter of geography. I came away with a Germaine Greer Biography that ought to be most interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mary, welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your visit. Enjoy the Germaine Greer biography. Sounds intriguing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Years ago a co-worker gave me a copy of the Carpenter's Wife by Barbara Delinsky, since then i have read almost everything that she has written. I even bought some reissues on my kindle last summer, I still need to read. I admit I am an addict to the the one click buying. Maybe some day I will read them all.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, that one click buying. It's so easy, isn't it? Sometimes I look at what's on my Kindle and wonder when I'm going to get to all those books.

    ReplyDelete
  11. mine are either winning them or local used book store

    ReplyDelete
  12. I found The Shunning at a yard sale.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I happened to be on a vacation passing through a small town a couple of years ago, and it was the last day the library was having a book sale. Books everywhere on every floor. I love it when I happen upon a library book sale. There's always something interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I received "Where the Sidewalk Ends" from my grandfather, and I'm still reading it to this day! Such a wonderful book to read to my kids

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, I love that book! I was teaching sixth grade when it first became popular, and the kids had so much fun with it. Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree is still on my youngest son's favorite books list.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have my own collection of books. My bookshelf is like a snap shot of my life. I know on the ones that I love the most, the keepers, it has memories of what I was like at the time. what I went through. Most of them have good memories attached to them

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've bought lots of books from the library's used book sales. I don't remember the last book I bought in a store. Mostly I get books at the library to read and return.
    Thanks for the contest.

    slehan at juno dot com

    ReplyDelete
  18. slehan, I love library used book sales. I used to live in a larger community, and at their annual (very big) book sale held in a huge high school cafeteria, people would rush the door when it was opened (when I was 7 month's pregnant, people were literally shoving past me to get to the books).

    ReplyDelete
  19. Karrie, isn't it wonderful how a book can bring back memories of where you were (and how you were feeling) when you were reading it?

    ReplyDelete