Sunday, July 4, 2010

Keeper of Books

I love books.  No big surprise, huh?  I love the feel, the smell, the potential.  Books are small dormant packages capable of holding life-changing creativity.  Not to mention that they make fabulous shelf objects.

I love to own books.  I don't feel right unless I have piles of books around me.  Options on how to spend my day; friends beckoning with alluring looks and quiet voices.  I might take my e-reader on vacation, but I still bring a real book (or four) with me to keep me company.  I love to see them on my shelves, smiling down at me--remembering bursts of laughter and silent tears, aloof books inviting me to become a new old friend.

But I don't keep every book I read.  I don't even keep every book I enjoy.  I don't buy books simply to build my library, nor do I keep books to show all I've read.  I scour my shelves once or twice a year, looking for those that are ready for a new home, willing to make space for recent acquisitions.  If I love a book so much that the characters pop into my mind unbidden; if I want everyone I will ever know to have the chance to read it; if I am ridiculously proud that I've read such a ridiculously long book with a ridiculously prestigious reputation written a ridiculously long time ago; or, occasionally, if I think my children may be interested in it at some point when it will no longer be easily accessible at a library; it stays on my shelf.

Unlike my older brother whose book shelf apparently only reflects the books he didn't like enough to pass on.

What do you keep on your shelf?

5 comments:

  1. Hi Melody,
    I'm with you: I enjoy having books but I'm not sentimental about them. I want to keep the books I really love, or that I think someone I love will want to read but otherwise, I haven't got the space! Plus, I don't have the money to keep buying and buying. I'm a library-once-a-week kinda girl.
    BTW, I exactly agree with what you said about In Defense of Food!
    Hope you're having a great weekend,
    Lyndsey

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  2. I keep everything unless I seriously hated it and can't fathom reading it again. I keep books I loved, books I couldn't finish because maybe I will one day..I also collect first editions and old hardbacks, so I have those..I'm surrounded!

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  3. I have exactly the same book keeping philosophy! I have almost more books in my home that are waiting to be read than those that have been read.

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  4. I have a "permanent" collection, with my all-time favorites, signed books, and classics that really formed me as a reader. I also have huge section of books to read. Otherwise I have become a lot more aggressive about passing books on or only reading them on an ereader. Coincidentally, I just posted a tour of my bookshelves on my blog if you want to check it out (warning, it's long).

    Lea

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  5. I like hearing how you guys keep books (or don't). You reminded me that I do have a small collection of old books as well.

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I'd love to hear what you have to say, leave a comment!

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