Thursday, July 31, 2008

Used bookstores

I love used bookstores. I love that they are so down to earth and un-glitzy. I love that there are piles of books in corners and under chairs, that the attention is on the story line more than on the story line being in hard cover. I love that typically the people who work there have read most of what they are selling and offer running commentary on things I've chosen as they ring them up.

I love the inherent thrill of the treasure hunter, the sense of adventure in finding a book you're interested in reading. Anyone can just order something - it takes patience to find what you want in a bookstore that can never be considered completely organized or fully stocked.

I like the illusion of virtue in making a contribution to putting something back into the world. A book I buy there is not being wasted, is not sitting on a shelf somewhere, stagnant, cast aside. Its life is a kinetic journey that I'm a part of.

And, used books are such a steal. A used book in excellent condition is at the very least half the price of a nearly identical new one. I read a lot so it's good to find a cheaper way to finance my number one habit (OK, number two after making sure all doors are locked.)

I took a photo of the actual stack of books I found and bought during our last road trip (above). If you see something you like and can wait until I finish it, I’m happy to let you have it.

4 comments:

David said...

Having spent a large part of the weekend tinkering with a faulty sprinkler system; trying to revive my patchy lawn; moving tomato plants around, and barbequeing, I can very much relate to "Lost in my own backyard!"

Dushka said...

Ha! That's about a guy who hikes through Yellowstone National Park. I hope it's good.

Anonymous said...

Your philosophy is worthy and your attitude positive, but it's hell on people who shop on E-Bay and want even the bargains reduced in price. The other day we discovered a nearly-forgotten lane downtown, hidden behind a 16th century palace between two important streets, otherwise invisible, with the wares of used book sellers displayed on plastic sheets stretched on the ground, to demarcate their specific commercial area, and we came away with a heavy bag of bargains. They were pretty dusty, but otherwise in excellent condition. It is, indeed, a joy to finger the prospects, as opposed to gazing at them on a screen and wondering, when they arrives by mail, what they will really look like (or who's signature, in old-fashioned script, will appear on the first page). Long live used books!
CM

Miguel Cane said...

Uh, Dush...?

When, and if, you finish "Dogs of Babel"... can I raise my hand?

I am intrigued...

Yours, as ever (much love to both)

The Gentleman with the Baby Dog.