Friday, February 20, 2009

Love of the Letter, and More

Today 0prah listed a little article on her website about how to get books for less. I thought that you might like to see it, so I linked it below.

My favorite way to get books is to go to used stores, where I come home with more than both arms can carry. When I can't do that, I go online at Barnes and Noble or Amazon and look for a book. Usually there is a place to click for used versions. I find books in great condition, often for as low as $1.99 and they shipping is usually about $3. It is rare anymore that I buy a book new. But I do visit new bookstores often, and utilize their discount systems. I have spent money on books, papers and pens than probably any other thing in my life, including food.

I love libraries, but I use them for atmosphere, for writing, sitting, just being there. I seek them out when I travel, especailly to small towns and other countries. Of course I prefer the ones with long wooden tables and lamps with green glass shades... or the ones with rickety shelves and uneven floors, because those often have little corners tucked away. I find those corners, and if I'm lucky enough that they have several, I take great pains to choose my spot carfefully, like I choose a new journal when it's time. The spot will reflect my mood at the time, and there I curl up, lost in my thoughts as if I were a child who has a secret, safe place to hide or dream.

To be in a library when it's raining is the best.

But to take a book out for me means I have to have time to read the book NOW, or in a certain amount of days, and I no longer have that kind of time. But that's not why I don't take books out more. Taking books out means I have to return them, and I just don't want to.

I do like to OWN books, to buy and keep them. I like every spare space stacked with books. I like the idea of a room in the home as a library, with all the walls having floor to ceiling books, unless one wall would be devoted to wood burning fireplace. I see thick, cozy chairs in the center of that room, with soft, warm blankets thrown over the arms, maybe even footrests. I remember once in New York or Boston, where apartment space is a premium, going into someone's bathroom to find books stacked vertically, flat against the wall, their spines facing out, and in every room on and additional, akwardly hand built single shelf just above the doorways that ran the entire circumference of each room. Their home was clearly not so much a place to eat and sleep but to house the contents of their mind and heart, on display. I loved that and have never forgotten it.

I like to give books as gifts, and I feel every book given or received should have something written on the inside sheaf. Not only will this conjour up memories once it's opened, no matter how many years later, during a moment of rest in a move, when splitting possessions in a divorce, when being sorted after someone has passed away, but also when someone like me sticks my index finger on it's spine to pull it out from among other books on a dusty shelf in a used store many years from then, the date and the names and the sentiments will be seen and in that moment, given new life.

The 0prah article lists ways to swap and trade with others, and suggest a place that operates like Netflix does with movies. Miss 0 has done more to revitalize reading, authors and the publishing industry than anyone could and that is a very good thing. However, I read an article in Harpers Magazine this month that talks about the death of all that.

Let's not let books go the way of the handwritten letter. Buy, borrow, trade, write, read, ask for and GIVE books!

To see the 0prah article CLICK HERE or check out


jinksy said...

Nothing can beat a book between your hands unless is two books - or three books...etc, etc...

gigi said...

All libraries should be entirely made up of of deep, polished woods, burnished brass lamps and the creaky, uneven floors you speak of. All my favorites are, anyway. And it should always be crisply autumnal outside, or at the very least, raining. These are the optimal conditions for reading, if you ask me. :)

By coincidence, I just uploaded a fun library widget that I found at Robbie's that you might be interested in. It's here:

Laurie said...

Just yesterday I was in a conversation with some people who have gone to the Kindle and are reading downloaded books on a screen. I can hardly stand the thought of it.

My stance was what about the feel of the pages, the smell of the book, the weight of a nice heavy book? What about those sensory pleasures?

Anonymous said...

oh...we are so alike!! I LOVE libraries too, and for the same reasons I love museums. The long tables and green glass shaded lamps....oh heaven!!! LOL
soul sista!

nomad said...

I love books and pens and journals exactly as you do. I also do not want to give them back, I also want to own them. When we moved here I tried to give away many books to save on the weight of our truck load. I managed to part with a third of my books, and many of them I still miss.

I also pick out a journal carefully. (The feel of it has to be just right, the way it looks, the way the lines are inside.) I have a favourite type of pen I like to use. It is a different pen than my favourite pen of twenty years ago. My tastes must have changed.

My favourite book deal is merely keeping a wishlist at Chapters-Indigo online and when I absolutely HAVE to order a book, I always have ten to choose from to bring my order up to $39 so that I get free shipping.

I spend most of my money on books and journals and writing tools and things like that.

I also enjoy renting movies and watching those stories unfold with my family. It is like reading a book with the people I love most in the world in under two hours.

This year we got cable tv for the first time in our lives and I am LOVING all the channels! I had no idea!

Anonymous said...

i love to own my books too, but rarely buy new also.
I will buy craft books new, cause I usually have a 50% coupon, so it's a deal. Thanks for the good info, as always!!

Melissa said...

I feel the same way about the Library...I love going, love getting the books, hate trying to remember to take them back. Currently, I've renewed the same book 3 times. Still haven't read it. It's a children's book too, so it's not long. Perhaps I'll read it before it's due this Saturday. And I'm not renewing it again. I've had long enough to read it, IF I'm going to read it. ;)

BTW, I'm working on the interview questions today. Sorry it's taken me so long. Just wasn't in a place to think that much. But I'm in that thinking spot now...and liking it too!


Anonymous said...

I have some rare old books & some that belonged to people I love, but most books I buy, read & give to others to enjoy, with the idea they will pass them on to others, keep the cycle going.
A friend of mine who used to blog also introduced me to bookcrossing, where people give, trade & leave books to read by others, which I think is a great idea also. ~Mary

Sharon said...

I'm with you - I like to own books, especially since I've discovered the joy of marking passages so I can find them again later. Some people think writing in books is a no-no, but since I've started doing it I don't want to stop. When I lived near a Barnes and Noble I used to have a "Barnes' Book," a book I would read each visit while I had a cup of coffee, until I either finished the book or liked it so much I bought it.