Sunday, January 22, 2012

Oh my aching back but I love them!

Books...books everywhere, hundreds, no thousands of books around the house.  And the garage, oh my Lord there are cases and cases of books waiting to be sorted.

I am a great reader, my wife used to be and my daughter is, sort of.  The consequence of two college English majors and a youngster we have read to and in front of her entire life are a plethora of books about all sorts of things. My 30 year old daughter seems to have finally caught the disease as well.

Mom's home away from home

I like the feel of a book in my hands.  Some of the volumes we own are 100+ years old and quite a bit more, as well.  Books are my friends and I inherited that from my Mom--who used the local library sometimes three times a week and read and read and read.

Since I've been married, we have never had the luxury of a library close to us and for many years, we lived far closer to book stores than any library so we bought books, instead of borrowing them.  Garage Sales and thrift stores have been a significant part of our life, too--when we ebayed heavily, those were sources of a lot of what we sold.  Of course, books are in those places,, 25 cents here and 50 cents there--more books!

The house we live in now has lots of windows...some floor to ceiling.  That was a choice.  We're light freaks.  Unfortunately, that left a greatly reduced space for bookshelves and artwork that we own.  And of course, we needed to choose. Sigh. I like the looks of walls covered with books but I like our art, too.

So we own enough books to open a bookstore.  We've thought about it.  But some will find their way, soon, on Ebay.  Others will end up at school libraries.  Still others will come in the house to join their mates and I've actually found more space for bookshelves (smile).

I trust that reading books will never go out of style.  I've read that Apple is trying to incorporate their Ipad into schools' curricula as a replacement for textbooks---I can't imagine how expensive that would be for school districts.  Just the thought of youngsters all running around with an Ipad in their backpacks, being thrown on the ground, left out in the rain and eaten by the dog scares me. Then there is the cost of buying the textbooks--probably new ones every year.  I don't think that will catch on real well with the 99%.  Apple is far too enamored with their company to allow any book vendor  to market their wares to another operating system.  Better another type of reader that has an open source for its operating system.  It would be cheaper in the long run.
Apple Ipad

I can see, however, how useful a tablet of some sort could be for college students.  I have carried those tomes, much to my back's dismay, many miles going to and from class burdened by the weight of books that cost 100 dollars or more each!  Not sure how a "poor" student (isn't that the description of most of them?)  is going to be able to buy a "used" textbook to save money, though.

I love my books.  I like the weight of them and the need to use bookmarks.  Even my textbooks are near and dear to my heart--some I reach for over and over.  The dog-eared paperbacks have a personality-especially those few that I read again and again.  The hardbacks look stately on the shelves and I'm thoroughly full of myself because I know I've read all of them.

Wanna dust these?
Unfortunately, where we live, every book we have displayed on our shelves sports a layer of dust and not for lack of cleaning.  Between the wood stove, acres and acres of fields around us and living in what I sometimes think is the windiest spot on earth (Chicago doesn't hold a candle to where we live), dust seeps into our old farmhouse and settles everywhere (remember I said we have lots of windows). Dusting each one of the while dusting the furniture would be a bit of a chore.

As I go through the books in the garage, most of which will be moved soon to a new storage area, I'm making a discovery-again.  Boxes of books weigh a ton!  I'm wondering if perhaps the bookstore might just be a grand idea!  I don't want to have to move them too very often more.  And I think of how many boxes of BOOKS I shipped from the Boston area to Oregon when I moved and then, like rabbits, they multiplied (the books must have read the Bible, "be ye fruitful and multiply."). We've moved many times in our married life and our books all came with us.  Oh my aching back.

And right now, I'm thinking I probably should buy a Kindle.  In fact, I have one picked out.


  1. I used to be a book freak. I have gotten over it and I never, ever thought I would. I liked the feel and the smell of the actual book. Now I am a Kindle freak. I am never without a book to read and I can read anywhere anytime and not lug around a book. The Kindle fits easily in my purse and in my coat pocket. It is my book now.
    Most of my books have been sold or given new homes. I kept a few that have sentimental attachments, either who gave them to me, who wrote them or why I wanted them.

    1. I don't ever think I will get over being a book freak. I will always have books lining my walls and let my daughters deal with them when I go to my reward.

      The e-book is appealing but it will be a hard nut to swallow not being able to find a good book for cheap--sort of like winning a lottery. I think I will end up with both forms of books.

      And those books in the garage? I hate to think of them sitting in boxes, molding with pack rats attacking them. Many will have to find a new home!

      Thanks, Jo

  2. Larry I got myself the Nook before coming to Japan simply so that I would not have to pack up large amounts of heavy books to ship there (and eventually back). I had a hard time choosing between the Kindle and Nook because they both offered me the same books I wanted or didn't have the same ones. Now though I am glad I got the Nook because one of my favorite series is now starting to come out on it. The one factor that made my choice was having a replaceable battery option for when the lithium battery eventually died. The batteries wont die for a while but when the Kindle's does you have to buy a whole new Kindle.

    Also if you do ever decide to start selling your books put a list up! I'd like to see if there is anything I would like to buy from you. Even though I have my Nook I still like to read a BOOK from time to time. I just finished one that I borrowed from Dad and am restarting the Hitchhiker's Guide series again (I thought a little silly fun would go well after a historical fiction).

    1. You have a unique situation, Thaedra and you will return home (eventually) and find those shelves lined with books. Your folks have the same disease I have :D.

      Just the thought of shipping books to Japan--I'd bet you'd be still waiting for some now, even after nearly six months.

      I was unaware that a Kindle didn't have a replaceable battery. Hmmm (although I know a busy, balding guy who could probably figure out how to replace it :D)

      I haven't touched the Hitchhiker's Guide books for many, MANY years. Enjoy!

      And as for reading a BOOK--no matter what direction I go, they will always be there and I'll always pick one up now and then.

      Thanks for reading :D I need to bookmark your blog. Just saw you made another post!

  3. Wonderful spending some time with you my friend. An excellent write! I love to read as well! I have talked to you and MA about all those books you guys have! What a sight it must be! No nook here either, but I have one picked out as well! Hugs and love across the miles to you my dear friend. xxoo Tai

    1. Thanks, Tai. I'm glad you found your way here. Books are WONDERFUL! I'll never, EVER replace them totally. But as the years pass, it just might be a little easier with the e-reader. I don't know. Getting one used might be the way to go. Not sure yet.

      Hugs to you, my friend!

  4. Don't go over to the dark side!!! I can appreciate the reduction in weight, the ease of storage and the cleanliness of electronic readers, but there is a downside. I think that electronic mediums can be socially isolating.

    If I got a Kindle/Nook or other ereader, I would miss:

    1. Spending time in the stacks of the used book stores. For me, it is like a treasure hunt. I don't always find the treasure that I am looking for, but sometimes come away with something that I might not have read if I engaged in the instant gratification of downloading.

    2. Spending time with friends as we share and trade books. Sure, you can still talk with your friends about a book that you are reading electronically, but there is nothing like having an excuse to meet them for lunch and bringing a few books that you read that you thought that they would like, and discussing the ones that they are lending or returning to you.

    Additionally, recent books are more expensive electronically. I can get recent releases free from the library, or for ownership, I can buy a book off the library "friends" organization cart for $1- $2. I can get a book at the used book store for $6, or $3 with trade in credit.

    Whether I am in a library, the used book store, or at lunch with a friend, I am out, off my butt and being socially interactive. Ebooks have their place (textbooks is perfect) but consider what else you'll be missing if you do all of your reading in cyberspace.

    1. Valda, "socially isolating"? Heh, one of my daughters AND my wife has told me I'm becoming a "hermit".

      The best used book store in the region is 150 miles away (Powell's Books--indeed, one of the best in the country) and the closest ones to us are about 25. I do miss being able to wander Harvard Square and visit all the wonderful book stores there.

      The idea of a used book store has worked its way in and out of the forefronts of Maryann's and my minds fairly often over the years. In fact, one of the books I recently unpacked was a "how to succeed in a used book store" type book a friend gave us years ago.

      In the two cities closest to us, I can't think of a used book store...maybe, when finances improve, we can rethink this whole thing. I'd love to interact with readers again.

  5. Ah, Larry, I love this and love your pictures! I didn't think anyone had more books than my husband and I have but you might have us beat. Put that down to moving twice in the past three years--it's the only thing that forced us to get rid of some. But as for ebooks? Read my blog post on why I'm a physical book person. I hate reading from a screen. I print out anything longer than a few paragraphs that I have to read online or I don't read it. Long live the paper book!

    1. Elaine, I'll check your blog post here in a minute. Frankly, although I have friends who have the e-readers, I really have never used one. I was just moving my current reads from the nightstand next to my bed--there was a significant pile of them (I let them accumulate). I may end up with a kindle (just discovered you can change the batteries on them) but I'll never turn my back on physical books...EVER! Thanks


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